Businesses

Locally-owned businesses are often seen as the beneficiaries of localization efforts, but they also have an active role to play. Choices they make, for example, about the products they sell, the energy they use, and the waste they create can either support local well-being, or further degrade it. By making those choices more transparent, localization makes businesses more accountable, enabling us to reward those that make good decisions and avoid those that don’t.

Start a "Buy Local" campaign.
Expand Action
Start a "Buy Local" campaign.

Multiply the benefits of buying locally by creating a campaign to encourage local residents and visitors to support independently-owned shops and artisans.

Take action

  • Start a "buy local" campaign with Totally Locally's comprehensive Totally Locally Town Kit. The kit includes templates for posters, bag stuffers, badges, postcards, press releases and more, plus step-by-step advice for a successful campaign. It is UK-based, but applicable in any English-speaking country.
  • This factsheet produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance tells you How to Start a Buy Local Campaign, including tips on creating a local business alliance.
  • Improve existing campaigns with the American Independent Business Alliance's guide to best practices, Building "Buy Local" Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending.
  • Find an existing 'buy local' initiative or group through the network members of the American Independent Business Alliance's list of Members (US) and Totally Locally's list of Totally Locally Towns (UK), and Go Local First (Australia).

Get inspired

  • Teenagers in the US state of South Dakota launched the Miner County Buy Local campaign, encouraging residents to spend 10% more at local businesses. In the following year, money spent locally increased by $15 million.
  • The Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign in the US state of Iowa has been around a while: it was launched by the University of Northern Iowa in 2003. It's also very successful: the dollar volume of purchases by retailers that partner with the program has grown by at least 10-fold since its start.

Start a "Buy Local" campaign.

Multiply the benefits of buying locally by creating a campaign to encourage local residents and visitors to support independently-owned shops and artisans.

Take action

  • Start a "buy local" campaign with Totally Locally's comprehensive Totally Locally Town Kit. The kit includes templates for posters, bag stuffers, badges, postcards, press releases and more, plus step-by-step advice for a successful campaign. It is UK-based, but applicable in any English-speaking country.
  • This factsheet produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance tells you How to Start a Buy Local Campaign, including tips on creating a local business alliance.
  • Improve existing campaigns with the American Independent Business Alliance's guide to best practices, Building "Buy Local" Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending.
  • Find an existing 'buy local' initiative or group through the network members of the American Independent Business Alliance's list of Members (US) and Totally Locally's list of Totally Locally Towns (UK), and Go Local First (Australia).

Get inspired

  • Teenagers in the US state of South Dakota launched the Miner County Buy Local campaign, encouraging residents to spend 10% more at local businesses. In the following year, money spent locally increased by $15 million.
  • The Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign in the US state of Iowa has been around a while: it was launched by the University of Northern Iowa in 2003. It's also very successful: the dollar volume of purchases by retailers that partner with the program has grown by at least 10-fold since its start.
Support local farms through your food purchases.
Expand Action
Support local farms through your food purchases.

Thanks to direct and hidden subsidies, skewed regulations, unfair tax policy, and billions of advertising dollars, the global food system is heavily tilted in favor of the largest producers. Until those systemic forces are shifted, the only way that small, local producers can survive is if we recognize the multiple benefits their farms provide – to the community, the local economy, and the environment – and support them by buying what they work so hard to produce.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the strength and resilience of local food systems, even as global supply chains broke down. One result is that demand for CSA shares skyrocketed. Full Belly Farm in the US state of California, for example, saw a doubling of its CSA box numbers, and other CSA farms had waiting lists with hundreds of names. Read more in this story from NPR.

Support local farms through your food purchases.

Thanks to direct and hidden subsidies, skewed regulations, unfair tax policy, and billions of advertising dollars, the global food system is heavily tilted in favor of the largest producers. Until those systemic forces are shifted, the only way that small, local producers can survive is if we recognize the multiple benefits their farms provide – to the community, the local economy, and the environment – and support them by buying what they work so hard to produce.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the strength and resilience of local food systems, even as global supply chains broke down. One result is that demand for CSA shares skyrocketed. Full Belly Farm in the US state of California, for example, saw a doubling of its CSA box numbers, and other CSA farms had waiting lists with hundreds of names. Read more in this story from NPR.
Start a community bank.
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Start a community bank.

Community banks are locally owned and operated. Services are offered and lending decisions are made based on an understanding of local community members' needs. Community development banks go one step further and specifically focus on the needs of underserved community members, for example by financing affordable housing.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Residents of an impoverished neighborhood in Fortaleza, Brazil, founded Banco Palmas – their own community bank, governed and managed by local residents for local needs. Building on its success, others have created 52 similar banks in Brazil, all joined in a Network of Community Banks.
  • Members of the Union de Cooperativas Tosepan in Cuetzalan, Mexico, have created their own cooperative bank, Tosepantomin.
  • A few bankers started the Cooperative for Ethical Financing, in Zagreb, Croatia, which is cooperatively owned and democratically governed by its own members.

Start a community bank.

Community banks are locally owned and operated. Services are offered and lending decisions are made based on an understanding of local community members' needs. Community development banks go one step further and specifically focus on the needs of underserved community members, for example by financing affordable housing.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Residents of an impoverished neighborhood in Fortaleza, Brazil, founded Banco Palmas – their own community bank, governed and managed by local residents for local needs. Building on its success, others have created 52 similar banks in Brazil, all joined in a Network of Community Banks.
  • Members of the Union de Cooperativas Tosepan in Cuetzalan, Mexico, have created their own cooperative bank, Tosepantomin.
  • A few bankers started the Cooperative for Ethical Financing, in Zagreb, Croatia, which is cooperatively owned and democratically governed by its own members.
Start a community composting project.
Expand Action
Start a community composting project.

Community composting projects focus on collecting otherwise wasted food scraps and other organic material in towns and cities, and converting them into a rich soil amendment for local gardens, parks and other open spaces. Create a composting program to serve your community through your local government, a community-run initiative, or a business.

Take action

Get inspired

  • LA Compost, based in Los Angeles, US, runs 35 permanent compost hubs that also function as community centers.
  • Revolução dos Baldinhos (Revolution of the Buckets) in Florianopolis, Brazil, is a community-based initiative that collects and composts 8 tons of organic matter each week.
  • The Community Compost Cooperative Network in Washington, DC, US, run by the city government, has created 50 volunteer-managed composting sites with no operating costs.
  • Capital Scraps in Canberra, Australia, is a social enterprise that picks up food scraps with cargo bikes and donates finished compost to schools and community gardens, as part of the SEE-Change Canberra WasteLess Working Group.
  • GroCycle, based in Exeter, UK, diverts coffee grounds from landfills and transforms them into oyster mushrooms and compost.

Start a community composting project.

Community composting projects focus on collecting otherwise wasted food scraps and other organic material in towns and cities, and converting them into a rich soil amendment for local gardens, parks and other open spaces. Create a composting program to serve your community through your local government, a community-run initiative, or a business.

Take action

Get inspired

  • LA Compost, based in Los Angeles, US, runs 35 permanent compost hubs that also function as community centers.
  • Revolução dos Baldinhos (Revolution of the Buckets) in Florianopolis, Brazil, is a community-based initiative that collects and composts 8 tons of organic matter each week.
  • The Community Compost Cooperative Network in Washington, DC, US, run by the city government, has created 50 volunteer-managed composting sites with no operating costs.
  • Capital Scraps in Canberra, Australia, is a social enterprise that picks up food scraps with cargo bikes and donates finished compost to schools and community gardens, as part of the SEE-Change Canberra WasteLess Working Group.
  • GroCycle, based in Exeter, UK, diverts coffee grounds from landfills and transforms them into oyster mushrooms and compost.
Start or join a small business loyalty program.
Expand Action
Start or join a small business loyalty program.

Small businesses can band together and create shared "loyalty" programs to help encourage and incentivize residents to shop local and small, keeping wealth circulating in the local economy.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Credibles in the US offers an app for customers to pre-pay for food at local retailers, creating an opportunity for up-front investment similar to community supported agriculture programs.
  • Supportland in the US state of Oregon offers a digital rewards program for shopping at small businesses, where rewards can be used at any business in the network. Launched in 2010, it gained more than 80,000 users within 5 years.
  • Totally Locally in the UK offers a Disloyalty Card as part of its small business campaign kit: shop at four independently-owned businesses and get a free cup of coffee from a local shop.

Start or join a small business loyalty program.

Small businesses can band together and create shared "loyalty" programs to help encourage and incentivize residents to shop local and small, keeping wealth circulating in the local economy.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Credibles in the US offers an app for customers to pre-pay for food at local retailers, creating an opportunity for up-front investment similar to community supported agriculture programs.
  • Supportland in the US state of Oregon offers a digital rewards program for shopping at small businesses, where rewards can be used at any business in the network. Launched in 2010, it gained more than 80,000 users within 5 years.
  • Totally Locally in the UK offers a Disloyalty Card as part of its small business campaign kit: shop at four independently-owned businesses and get a free cup of coffee from a local shop.
Participate in local business alliances.
Expand Action
Participate in local business alliances.

Forming local business alliances and publishing directories of small, independent businesses can help owners increase their visibility, represent their interests in local government, and become more resilient together. Celebrate the businesses that make your town unique by creating alliances and directories alongside Buy Local campaigns.

Take action

  • If no directory of small, locally-owned businesses exists in your area, create one. Map out existing local projects, initiatives, businesses, and collectives that address basic needs such as food, energy, furniture and home goods, tools, bicycles, and health clinics. Publish a newsletter or build an online directory with one of the many guides available, such as Templatic's How to Start an Online Directory Site in 30 Minutes.
  • Start a new local business alliance with the guides on the American Independent Business Alliance's Resource page, available to members (US).
  • For small, independent businesses in Australia, get involved with Go Local First, and in the US, join Small Business Rising, a coalition urging elected leaders and regulators to break the power of corporate monopolies and establish rules that support small businesses.

Get inspired

  • Local Food Connect in Melbourne, Australia offers an impressive online directory of local farmers, as well as food swaps, community gardens, and food justice initiatives.
  • Building a Local Economy in Vermont, US, annually publishes a free Locally Grown Guide, a directory of farmers and food businesses, and distributes copies throughout the area. BALE had tried an online version, but found that printed guides worked better for their community.
  • Think Local First, a project of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, Washington, US, produces a Local First Gift Guide, a Think Local First gift card, a local member business directory, and an Eat Local First guide.
  • Businesses in the Adams Morgan Business Improvement District in Washington, DC, US, contribute an additional local tax in return for shared services like cleaning up sidewalks, hosting street fairs, liaising with local governments, and running local business marketing campaigns.

Participate in local business alliances.

Forming local business alliances and publishing directories of small, independent businesses can help owners increase their visibility, represent their interests in local government, and become more resilient together. Celebrate the businesses that make your town unique by creating alliances and directories alongside Buy Local campaigns.

Take action

  • If no directory of small, locally-owned businesses exists in your area, create one. Map out existing local projects, initiatives, businesses, and collectives that address basic needs such as food, energy, furniture and home goods, tools, bicycles, and health clinics. Publish a newsletter or build an online directory with one of the many guides available, such as Templatic's How to Start an Online Directory Site in 30 Minutes.
  • Start a new local business alliance with the guides on the American Independent Business Alliance's Resource page, available to members (US).
  • For small, independent businesses in Australia, get involved with Go Local First, and in the US, join Small Business Rising, a coalition urging elected leaders and regulators to break the power of corporate monopolies and establish rules that support small businesses.

Get inspired

  • Local Food Connect in Melbourne, Australia offers an impressive online directory of local farmers, as well as food swaps, community gardens, and food justice initiatives.
  • Building a Local Economy in Vermont, US, annually publishes a free Locally Grown Guide, a directory of farmers and food businesses, and distributes copies throughout the area. BALE had tried an online version, but found that printed guides worked better for their community.
  • Think Local First, a project of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, Washington, US, produces a Local First Gift Guide, a Think Local First gift card, a local member business directory, and an Eat Local First guide.
  • Businesses in the Adams Morgan Business Improvement District in Washington, DC, US, contribute an additional local tax in return for shared services like cleaning up sidewalks, hosting street fairs, liaising with local governments, and running local business marketing campaigns.
Share business resources and services.
Expand Action
Share business resources and services.

Groups of small local businesses – and nonprofits as well – can band together to share services like insurance, bookkeeping, office space, and other functions, thereby saving money and building collaborative economy and culture in the process. Sharing commercial kitchen spaces, sometimes provided by food hubs, is another way that food businesses can lower their capital costs, develop a sense of community, and build creative partnerships.

Take action

  • Learn how to develop a shared services alliance with other businesses with Stanford Social Innovation Review's series of interviews, Shared Services Alliances, and Oppex's Shared Services Alliances Implementation Guide.
  • Start a shared commercial kitchen with The Food Corridor's Shared Kitchen Toolkit.
  • If you own a small business that provides back-office functions, speak with other local businesses about opportunities for lowering costs and adding value by working together.

Get inspired

  • Edventure Frome in the UK town of Frome offers 10-week courses in community entrepreneurship for young adults with ongoing shared services support, enabling them to launch businesses like a coworking space, makerspace, and library of things.
  • The Redd on Salmon Street in the US state of Oregon has warehouse space used by almost 200 local food businesses, along with event space and a shared commercial kitchen.

Share business resources and services.

Groups of small local businesses – and nonprofits as well – can band together to share services like insurance, bookkeeping, office space, and other functions, thereby saving money and building collaborative economy and culture in the process. Sharing commercial kitchen spaces, sometimes provided by food hubs, is another way that food businesses can lower their capital costs, develop a sense of community, and build creative partnerships.

Take action

  • Learn how to develop a shared services alliance with other businesses with Stanford Social Innovation Review's series of interviews, Shared Services Alliances, and Oppex's Shared Services Alliances Implementation Guide.
  • Start a shared commercial kitchen with The Food Corridor's Shared Kitchen Toolkit.
  • If you own a small business that provides back-office functions, speak with other local businesses about opportunities for lowering costs and adding value by working together.

Get inspired

  • Edventure Frome in the UK town of Frome offers 10-week courses in community entrepreneurship for young adults with ongoing shared services support, enabling them to launch businesses like a coworking space, makerspace, and library of things.
  • The Redd on Salmon Street in the US state of Oregon has warehouse space used by almost 200 local food businesses, along with event space and a shared commercial kitchen.
Ship goods long-distance by sailboat.
Expand Action
Ship goods long-distance by sailboat.

Localization doesn’t mean that all goods can or should be produced locally, but when goods from afar are needed, they should be shipped responsibly. Sailboats, once the only means of shipping, are re-emerging as the most responsible way. 

Take action

  • Become a trainee and sail along with Fair Transport, which trades organic and traditionally-crafted goods, and ships sustainable cargo overseas by wind power alone. Support Fair Transport to maintain and restore classical sailing ships.
  • If you are an artist or artisan committed to low-tech, small-scale, hand-made, ecological goods, join the Fifth Empire Company, "a small scale, sustainable alternative to commercial shipping, focusing on environmentally friendly products, heritage handicrafts and the creative arts," for transporting and promoting your work.

Get inspired

Ship goods long-distance by sailboat.

Localization doesn’t mean that all goods can or should be produced locally, but when goods from afar are needed, they should be shipped responsibly. Sailboats, once the only means of shipping, are re-emerging as the most responsible way. 

Take action

  • Become a trainee and sail along with Fair Transport, which trades organic and traditionally-crafted goods, and ships sustainable cargo overseas by wind power alone. Support Fair Transport to maintain and restore classical sailing ships.
  • If you are an artist or artisan committed to low-tech, small-scale, hand-made, ecological goods, join the Fifth Empire Company, "a small scale, sustainable alternative to commercial shipping, focusing on environmentally friendly products, heritage handicrafts and the creative arts," for transporting and promoting your work.

Get inspired

Create a community coworking space.
Expand Action
Create a community coworking space.

Modern workplaces often cut us off from each other and the outside world in the name of "efficiency" and "productivity." Coworking spaces break down many of those barriers, while providing affordable shared spaces for small local businesses. But like many aspects of the sharing economy, this idea has been co-opted by multinational companies that try to cash in on remote work trends. The examples below are about people at the grassroots coming together to design and share mutually beneficial spaces.

Take action

  • The Hoffice Movement, started in Sweden, helps people arrange gatherings to work, network, eat, socialize, exercise and more – simply by helping establish group offices in members’ living rooms and kitchens. There are more than 2000 groups worldwide; visit Find or Start a Hoffice Group on the Hoffice Movement website to get started. 
  • For those who need more space, the article Is Your Community Ready for Coworking? from Shareable offers stories and advice for building community coworking spaces outside of the home. 

Get inspired

  • The Welsh Mill Hub in Frome, UK, is an excellent example of a shared workspace and community center. It was started by young adults in the Edventure Frome community enterprise program. 
  • The Totnes REconomy Project in the UK set up a coworking space, the Totnes REconomy Centre, to create a place for new economic relationships to grow.

Create a community coworking space.

Modern workplaces often cut us off from each other and the outside world in the name of "efficiency" and "productivity." Coworking spaces break down many of those barriers, while providing affordable shared spaces for small local businesses. But like many aspects of the sharing economy, this idea has been co-opted by multinational companies that try to cash in on remote work trends. The examples below are about people at the grassroots coming together to design and share mutually beneficial spaces.

Take action

  • The Hoffice Movement, started in Sweden, helps people arrange gatherings to work, network, eat, socialize, exercise and more – simply by helping establish group offices in members’ living rooms and kitchens. There are more than 2000 groups worldwide; visit Find or Start a Hoffice Group on the Hoffice Movement website to get started. 
  • For those who need more space, the article Is Your Community Ready for Coworking? from Shareable offers stories and advice for building community coworking spaces outside of the home. 

Get inspired

  • The Welsh Mill Hub in Frome, UK, is an excellent example of a shared workspace and community center. It was started by young adults in the Edventure Frome community enterprise program. 
  • The Totnes REconomy Project in the UK set up a coworking space, the Totnes REconomy Centre, to create a place for new economic relationships to grow.
Create a zero-waste business.
Expand Action
Create a zero-waste business.

While economic localization would be the most systemic solution to the waste problem, there are things that individuals, businesses and governments can do in the short term. Because they have a much larger impact than individual lifestyle choices, businesses can play an important role by firmly embracing zero-waste principles.

Take action

  • Read the guide Setting Up a Zero Waste Shop by Nicola and Richard Eckersley, founders of a zero-waste shop in Totnes (UK). 
  • Check out this set of zero waste resources for businesses compiled by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
  • In Europe, join the #WeChooseReuse campaign as a business. This means putting zero waste at the core of your business model, choosing and prioritizing reusable over single-use products wherever possible, and calling on policymakers to support this shift.

Get inspired

  • EcoPosro in Goa, India, is the state’s first zero-waste shop. Watch this ten-minute video to learn how they got started – and how their commitment to zero packaging waste led to sourcing products locally and using traditional food preservation methods.  
  • Vestigium, a sustainability-themed community center in Zagreb Croatia, operates the country’s first zero-waste café, at which all the produce is locally-grown.
  • Earth.Food.Love in Totnes, UK, is the country's first zero-waste food shop. Much of their inventory is locally sourced – with some of it biked to the shop by local farmers. There's a heavy emphasis on bulk products, but you'll have to bring your own containers. Read about The Shop Where Packaging is Banned.
  • Get inspired by the stories shared in Business Unusual: Enterprises Paving the Way to Zero Waste, by GAIA Asia Pacific. The free download profiles 20 successful small enterprises across the region using innovative methods to reduce their customers' and their own contributions to the waste stream.

Create a zero-waste business.

While economic localization would be the most systemic solution to the waste problem, there are things that individuals, businesses and governments can do in the short term. Because they have a much larger impact than individual lifestyle choices, businesses can play an important role by firmly embracing zero-waste principles.

Take action

  • Read the guide Setting Up a Zero Waste Shop by Nicola and Richard Eckersley, founders of a zero-waste shop in Totnes (UK). 
  • Check out this set of zero waste resources for businesses compiled by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).
  • In Europe, join the #WeChooseReuse campaign as a business. This means putting zero waste at the core of your business model, choosing and prioritizing reusable over single-use products wherever possible, and calling on policymakers to support this shift.

Get inspired

  • EcoPosro in Goa, India, is the state’s first zero-waste shop. Watch this ten-minute video to learn how they got started – and how their commitment to zero packaging waste led to sourcing products locally and using traditional food preservation methods.  
  • Vestigium, a sustainability-themed community center in Zagreb Croatia, operates the country’s first zero-waste café, at which all the produce is locally-grown.
  • Earth.Food.Love in Totnes, UK, is the country's first zero-waste food shop. Much of their inventory is locally sourced – with some of it biked to the shop by local farmers. There's a heavy emphasis on bulk products, but you'll have to bring your own containers. Read about The Shop Where Packaging is Banned.
  • Get inspired by the stories shared in Business Unusual: Enterprises Paving the Way to Zero Waste, by GAIA Asia Pacific. The free download profiles 20 successful small enterprises across the region using innovative methods to reduce their customers' and their own contributions to the waste stream.
Start a worker-owned cooperative.
Expand Action
Start a worker-owned cooperative.

Worker-owned cooperatives are businesses that are owned and democratically run by those who work in them.

Get started

  • In the US, learn how to start a worker-owned cooperative with the Think Outside the Boss guide from the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
  • Get technical assistance from a network of peer advisors for your worker-owned cooperative from the Co-op Clinic of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.
  • For a wealth of information and guidance on starting and running a worker-owned cooperative, see the Worker Cooperatives Toolbox by Community Wealth (US).
  • In the UK, consult this comprehensive guide, How to set up a Workers' Coop, by Radical Routes.

Get inspired

  • Using examples from several countries, this article points out that worker coops are more resilient during hard times – like the COVID lockdowns and the 2008 financial crash – than conventional businesses.
  • The Grain Shed in Spokane, Washington, US, is a worker-owned cooperative bakery and brewery, using 100% locally and organically grown, craft malted and fermented heirloom grain varieties and aspiring to help seed neighborhood-sized brewery-bakeries also using local grains throughout the city.

Start a worker-owned cooperative.

Worker-owned cooperatives are businesses that are owned and democratically run by those who work in them.

Get started

  • In the US, learn how to start a worker-owned cooperative with the Think Outside the Boss guide from the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
  • Get technical assistance from a network of peer advisors for your worker-owned cooperative from the Co-op Clinic of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.
  • For a wealth of information and guidance on starting and running a worker-owned cooperative, see the Worker Cooperatives Toolbox by Community Wealth (US).
  • In the UK, consult this comprehensive guide, How to set up a Workers' Coop, by Radical Routes.

Get inspired

  • Using examples from several countries, this article points out that worker coops are more resilient during hard times – like the COVID lockdowns and the 2008 financial crash – than conventional businesses.
  • The Grain Shed in Spokane, Washington, US, is a worker-owned cooperative bakery and brewery, using 100% locally and organically grown, craft malted and fermented heirloom grain varieties and aspiring to help seed neighborhood-sized brewery-bakeries also using local grains throughout the city.
Transition to a worker-owned cooperative.
Expand Action
Transition to a worker-owned cooperative.

An effective way to both save existing small businesses and boost economic democracy is to transition or convert them into worker-owned cooperatives.

Get started

Transition to a worker-owned cooperative.

An effective way to both save existing small businesses and boost economic democracy is to transition or convert them into worker-owned cooperatives.

Get started

Start a food cooperative.
Expand Action
Start a food cooperative.

Unlike a conventional supermarket or privately-owned grocery, a consumer food cooperative is owned by those who shop there. Food cooperatives exist first and foremost to benefit the community and provide for genuine needs, not to generate profits for absentee investors or a wealthy owner class. Research shows that in comparison with convention supermarkets, food cooperatives are better at supporting local farms and producers, spend much more of their revenue on local wages and benefits, and are more resilient.

Get started

Get inspired

  • OrganicLea is a worker-owned food cooperative in the UK with a 12-acre growing site, a community café, a market stall and a vegetable box scheme, and runs courses in growing food and cooking.
  • The Real Food Store is a community-owned grocery store in Exeter, UK, committed to forging strong relationships with sustainable local farmers and food enterprises, and to creating a robust local supply chain that reduces the distance between farm and table.
  • Our Table is a regional co-op in Oregon, US, helping to create a resilient and interdependent local food culture. Read more in this YES! Magazine article, Local Food With a Big Twist: Super-Cooperative Takes Aim at the Corporate Food System.
  • SCOOP - The Sustainable Cooperative on the island of Jersey is a consumer-led coop that includes a farm shop, an innovative production kitchen and an inclusive cultural and educational program.
  • Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad is a network of family farms and small cooperatives working with carefully selected customers across Europe, based on the principles of mutual respect, solidarity and sustainability.

Start a food cooperative.

Unlike a conventional supermarket or privately-owned grocery, a consumer food cooperative is owned by those who shop there. Food cooperatives exist first and foremost to benefit the community and provide for genuine needs, not to generate profits for absentee investors or a wealthy owner class. Research shows that in comparison with convention supermarkets, food cooperatives are better at supporting local farms and producers, spend much more of their revenue on local wages and benefits, and are more resilient.

Get started

Get inspired

  • OrganicLea is a worker-owned food cooperative in the UK with a 12-acre growing site, a community café, a market stall and a vegetable box scheme, and runs courses in growing food and cooking.
  • The Real Food Store is a community-owned grocery store in Exeter, UK, committed to forging strong relationships with sustainable local farmers and food enterprises, and to creating a robust local supply chain that reduces the distance between farm and table.
  • Our Table is a regional co-op in Oregon, US, helping to create a resilient and interdependent local food culture. Read more in this YES! Magazine article, Local Food With a Big Twist: Super-Cooperative Takes Aim at the Corporate Food System.
  • SCOOP - The Sustainable Cooperative on the island of Jersey is a consumer-led coop that includes a farm shop, an innovative production kitchen and an inclusive cultural and educational program.
  • Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad is a network of family farms and small cooperatives working with carefully selected customers across Europe, based on the principles of mutual respect, solidarity and sustainability.
Divest from destructive industries.
Expand Action
Divest from destructive industries.

Around the world, trillions of investment dollars are chasing after the highest possible monetary return. This means that banks, pension funds, university endowments, and state and local government portfolios are heavily invested in fossil fuel, nuclear, and military industries, as well as deforestation, land grabs, predatory lending, and other destructive activities. Doing what we can to convince governments and institutions to stop funding the destruction of the planet can be an important act of resistance.

Take action

Get inspired

  • By the end of 2018, nearly $8 trillion in fossil-fuel divestment commitments had been made by institutions ranging from universities and banks to sovereign wealth funds and major cities.
  • Fossil Free California maintains a list of California cities and counties that have divested pension funds from big banks and fossil fuel companies.
  • In 2021, thanks to pressure from NGOs, the Norwegian Parliament adopted a new criterion to guide the investments of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. The Fund will now exclude companies that sell weapons to countries that violate international humanitarian law. Read more in this story from the German NGO Urgewald.

Divest from destructive industries.

Around the world, trillions of investment dollars are chasing after the highest possible monetary return. This means that banks, pension funds, university endowments, and state and local government portfolios are heavily invested in fossil fuel, nuclear, and military industries, as well as deforestation, land grabs, predatory lending, and other destructive activities. Doing what we can to convince governments and institutions to stop funding the destruction of the planet can be an important act of resistance.

Take action

Get inspired

  • By the end of 2018, nearly $8 trillion in fossil-fuel divestment commitments had been made by institutions ranging from universities and banks to sovereign wealth funds and major cities.
  • Fossil Free California maintains a list of California cities and counties that have divested pension funds from big banks and fossil fuel companies.
  • In 2021, thanks to pressure from NGOs, the Norwegian Parliament adopted a new criterion to guide the investments of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. The Fund will now exclude companies that sell weapons to countries that violate international humanitarian law. Read more in this story from the German NGO Urgewald.
Use cargo bikes and bike couriers.
Expand Action
Use cargo bikes and bike couriers.

While reducing the transportation of goods around the world is one of the main priorities of economic localization, there will always be a need to transport goods locally. Cargo bikes and bike couriers are a low-energy way to fill this need.

Take Action

Get inspired

  • Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics highlights organizations using cargo bicycles and tricycles in innovative ways around the world, from India to the Netherlands to Colombia.
  • Cargonomia is an urban food distribution hub which uses locally-manufactured cargo bikes to deliver locally-grown food across the entire city of Budapest, Hungary. Check out Local Futures' entry for Cargonomia on the Planet Local library.
  • NYC Cargo Bike Collective in the US is a workers' cooperative working towards "the realization of the carbon neutral future of logistics and delivery in New York City and beyond."
  • 8 Cargo Bike-sharing Programs in Europe, by Kelly McCartney, links to a variety of cargo bike share models operated by for-profit companies, nonprofits, and governments.

Use cargo bikes and bike couriers.

While reducing the transportation of goods around the world is one of the main priorities of economic localization, there will always be a need to transport goods locally. Cargo bikes and bike couriers are a low-energy way to fill this need.

Take Action

Get inspired

  • Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics highlights organizations using cargo bicycles and tricycles in innovative ways around the world, from India to the Netherlands to Colombia.
  • Cargonomia is an urban food distribution hub which uses locally-manufactured cargo bikes to deliver locally-grown food across the entire city of Budapest, Hungary. Check out Local Futures' entry for Cargonomia on the Planet Local library.
  • NYC Cargo Bike Collective in the US is a workers' cooperative working towards "the realization of the carbon neutral future of logistics and delivery in New York City and beyond."
  • 8 Cargo Bike-sharing Programs in Europe, by Kelly McCartney, links to a variety of cargo bike share models operated by for-profit companies, nonprofits, and governments.
Policy action: Stop big banks from financing destruction.
Expand Action
Policy action: Stop big banks from financing destruction.

Banks are all too willing to finance projects that do irreparable damage to the natural world and human communities, so long as the financial return is high enough. It's important to expose those connections and oppose destructive bank lending.

Take action

Note: the nature of political action is fluid and dynamic, and it's necessary to seize the moment. Even if particular actions below have reached completion, please check back with the organizations to participate in their latest campaigns!

Be inspired

  • Efforts by climate change activists led U.S. Bank to become the first major bank in the United States to formally exclude gas and oil pipelines from their project financing. Read about it in this Common Dreams post.

Policy action: Stop big banks from financing destruction.

Banks are all too willing to finance projects that do irreparable damage to the natural world and human communities, so long as the financial return is high enough. It's important to expose those connections and oppose destructive bank lending.

Take action

Note: the nature of political action is fluid and dynamic, and it's necessary to seize the moment. Even if particular actions below have reached completion, please check back with the organizations to participate in their latest campaigns!

Be inspired

  • Efforts by climate change activists led U.S. Bank to become the first major bank in the United States to formally exclude gas and oil pipelines from their project financing. Read about it in this Common Dreams post.
Policy action: Eliminate single-use plastic.
Expand Action
Policy action: Eliminate single-use plastic.

Plastic is suffocating the entire planet, and affecting all of its inhabitants. Urgent action is needed to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic, and this can done most effectively at a scale that meets the severity of the crisis, through public policy steps.

Take action

  • Upstream (US) provides sample policies – at the local, state and national levels – to require reusable foodware for in-site dining, take-out, and delivered meals.
  • Join #SkipTheStuff, a US-based campaign organized by the National Reuse Network, to enact policies requiring restaurants to “ask first” before adding unnecessary stuff to your take-out order – straws, plastic utensils, condiment packets, napkins, etc.

Get inspired

  • In 2019, the European Parliament passed a law banning a number of throwaway plastic products, including single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, oxo-degradable plastics and food containers, and polystyrene cups. The law won overwhelming approval, with 560 MEPs voting in favor, and only 35 against.

Policy action: Eliminate single-use plastic.

Plastic is suffocating the entire planet, and affecting all of its inhabitants. Urgent action is needed to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic, and this can done most effectively at a scale that meets the severity of the crisis, through public policy steps.

Take action

  • Upstream (US) provides sample policies – at the local, state and national levels – to require reusable foodware for in-site dining, take-out, and delivered meals.
  • Join #SkipTheStuff, a US-based campaign organized by the National Reuse Network, to enact policies requiring restaurants to “ask first” before adding unnecessary stuff to your take-out order – straws, plastic utensils, condiment packets, napkins, etc.

Get inspired

  • In 2019, the European Parliament passed a law banning a number of throwaway plastic products, including single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, oxo-degradable plastics and food containers, and polystyrene cups. The law won overwhelming approval, with 560 MEPs voting in favor, and only 35 against.