Francis Koster: Finding Local Investments That Pay Off for You & Your Community

This week we surface a gem from the archives. This podcast originally aired in March 2011. 

"Locally there are lots of nice, tidy, quarter-of-a-million-dollar investments sitting there that the large companies will not do because their overhead is too high. So one of my themes is look in your own backyard -- focus on fiscally-conservative, sound investments and focus on local employment. You will be surprised at the opportunity that just leaps out at you."

So says Francis Koster, who specializes in identifying community investment opportunities that offer attractive returns for the capital provider as well as longterm benefits for the local residents. Chris and I met Francis earlier in the year and were impressed by his inventive and scrappy approach to finding fresh, sustainable solutions for many of the long-term Three E challenges we face. He's one of the new voices you may not be familiar that with we think merits attention.

In this podcast, Francis highlights a number of the case studies he's collected at his website, The Optimistic Futurist, where motivated individuals have improved their local schools, roads, food, water supply, etc. while earning double-digit returns. These models can be adopted in nearly any community, which is the purpose behind Francis' work.

Not only are these alternative investments worthy of consideration at time when the stock and bond markets are increasingly treacherous territory for investors - but they increase our local and national resiliency. They are a great example of doing well by doing good. And a number of them can be funded at the individual or small group level - they don't require deep pockets; just a little inventiveness and courage.

In this podcast, Francis explains: 

  • How, collectively, local investments can have more impact than large national public works initiatives
  • The large opportunity offered by investing in basic life support systems - food, energy, water, and the environment
  • The value that can be gained by simple (and "non-sexy") investments that reduce operating costs and/or conserve - readily achievable with today's technology (vs. depending on new/untested solutions that may not perform as advertised)
  • The win-win-win of delivering dependable double-digit returns while creating local jobs, improving the lives of the people in your community, and bettering the environment in which you live
  • How our current economy and infrastructure has optimized around cost-effectiveness at the expense of our resilience - investing locally reduces that vulnerabilty.
  • How individuals can learn how to apply these models within their own communities

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Francis Koster (runtime 39m:44s):

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Love the passion and the real-life examples!   It doesn't take many stories to open your eyes to local possibilities.  
Checking out

While websites like peakprosperity have done a great job raising an awareness and education people about the crisis we all face today, unfortunately all these blogs fail at aiming far enough.  Understanding what is money ( and definitely distinguishing between money and currency is EXTREMELY a must-know subject) and how it works is vital for all facets of life, but so far %99 of people around the world have been on defense and not offense against THE root cause of all this mess we are trying to prep. for.  So I invite everyone to two articles from two different blogs that I believe we all have been deprive of a peak:
these blogs along with Chris's' knowledge/blog one day might bring us closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
keep mining for truth,

with all the money printing going on, why are any of paying any taxes?

I did enjoy Mr. Koster's comments and his infective ideas. However, when you gents got to local economies and food production, you came close to the major issue, but missed the mark by a matter of degrees. From whence does our economy come . . . the soil. Local Victory gardens are great if you can sustain them. And if we don't start thinking about the soil, civilization will follow the same route as every other collapsed society. I would suggest you track down David Montgomery and have him as a guest to speak on the relationship of soil degradation and societal collapse. If not that then link to his talk on the subject

or read his book: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations for a more detailed review.

If we keep focusing man made energy production, we miss the mark! My wife and I have been living on a fixed pension, saving some of it and eating well, (thank you very much). Many of us PP advocates are trying to do the same thing, but are disheartened every time we pass a new subdivision going up will on bare clay with a six inch layer of trucked in topsoil spread to grow sod. Only a comment from an old bastard with dirt under his nails. Love the podcasts . . . keep up the good work.

what this is about?