Individuals

If change is needed on a societal level, what can individuals do? One of the best actions is to spread the word about the need for a global to local shift – by talking to family, neighbors, and friends, and more widely via any media we have access to. We can also play an important role by pressuring our elected representatives to support the small and local instead of the large and global. Changing our personal behavior can also be helpful, but far better is to start or join a more systemic localization initiative aimed at strengthening our local economies and communities. 

Join or start a community garden.
Expand Action
Join or start a community garden.

Community gardens combine the multiple physical and psychological benefits of gardening with another vital element of well-being: connecting with other people. Community gardens not only bring people together in meaningful land-based work and boost food and nutrition security, they also beautify urban spaces, provide ecological niches for wildlife, and create open green spaces that cities desperately need. With secure tenure through mechanisms like land trusts, community gardens can even withstand the pressures of real estate development, ensuring that these green spaces can persists into the future.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Mountain Roots Food Project in Colorado, US, runs two collaborative community gardens where members work together to grow food and share the harvest.
  • Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, Germany, is built from mobile container gardens. Volunteers periodically use the containers to create pop up gardens on vacant land to demonstrate the potential of these spaces for new community gardens.
  • The Consumers' Association of Penang Urban Farm in Penang, Malaysia, transformed an abandoned car park into a thriving community garden, using indigenous farming techniques.
  • Through the Incredible Edible initiative, the UK town of Todmorden has turned public spaces into gardens all over the town, and allows anyone to harvest food.
  • Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke, US, is an immigrant-founded urban agriculture organization managing 14 community gardens as well as an urban farm.

Join or start a community garden.

Community gardens combine the multiple physical and psychological benefits of gardening with another vital element of well-being: connecting with other people. Community gardens not only bring people together in meaningful land-based work and boost food and nutrition security, they also beautify urban spaces, provide ecological niches for wildlife, and create open green spaces that cities desperately need. With secure tenure through mechanisms like land trusts, community gardens can even withstand the pressures of real estate development, ensuring that these green spaces can persists into the future.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Mountain Roots Food Project in Colorado, US, runs two collaborative community gardens where members work together to grow food and share the harvest.
  • Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, Germany, is built from mobile container gardens. Volunteers periodically use the containers to create pop up gardens on vacant land to demonstrate the potential of these spaces for new community gardens.
  • The Consumers' Association of Penang Urban Farm in Penang, Malaysia, transformed an abandoned car park into a thriving community garden, using indigenous farming techniques.
  • Through the Incredible Edible initiative, the UK town of Todmorden has turned public spaces into gardens all over the town, and allows anyone to harvest food.
  • Nuestras Raíces in Holyoke, US, is an immigrant-founded urban agriculture organization managing 14 community gardens as well as an urban farm.
Move your money.
Expand Action
Move your money.

One of the easiest steps you can take to help your local economy is to move your bank account from a large national bank to a community financial institution: a local bank or credit union focused specifically on supporting local businesses and citizens. The collective impact of millions of people transferring assets from multinational to local institutions would significantly shift the dynamic of the global financial system.

Take action

  • Find a credit union near you with the World Council of Credit Unions' map Our Global Networks. We encourage you to choose smaller, locally based and rooted credit unions if possible.
  • Learn more about why and how to move your money with Green America's Community Investing Guide (US).
  • Organize a local move-your-money campaign with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's resource list Tools for Starting a Local Move Your Money Campaign.
  • Find a community bank near you with the directories on Find a Better Bank (US) and the Community Savings Bank Association (UK).
  • Compare banks and credit unions in your area based on a number of local impact metrics with Banklocal.info (US).
  • Find a bank that offers environmentally and socially-responsible services through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values' map Find Members. Note: some of the member banks are national in scope.

Get inspired

  • Triodos Bank in the UK focuses on financing social, cultural, and environmental initiatives such as organic farming, childcare facilities, small businesses, and renewable energy projects.
  • The Ecology Building Society in the UK offers savings accounts and mortgages for co-housing, renovations, and other sustainable construction projects.
  • Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution in the US that focuses its loans on growing a healthy local food system.
  • The Clean Energy Federal Credit Union in the US state of Colorado focuses on financing small-scale renewable energy projects.

Move your money.

One of the easiest steps you can take to help your local economy is to move your bank account from a large national bank to a community financial institution: a local bank or credit union focused specifically on supporting local businesses and citizens. The collective impact of millions of people transferring assets from multinational to local institutions would significantly shift the dynamic of the global financial system.

Take action

  • Find a credit union near you with the World Council of Credit Unions' map Our Global Networks. We encourage you to choose smaller, locally based and rooted credit unions if possible.
  • Learn more about why and how to move your money with Green America's Community Investing Guide (US).
  • Organize a local move-your-money campaign with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's resource list Tools for Starting a Local Move Your Money Campaign.
  • Find a community bank near you with the directories on Find a Better Bank (US) and the Community Savings Bank Association (UK).
  • Compare banks and credit unions in your area based on a number of local impact metrics with Banklocal.info (US).
  • Find a bank that offers environmentally and socially-responsible services through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values' map Find Members. Note: some of the member banks are national in scope.

Get inspired

  • Triodos Bank in the UK focuses on financing social, cultural, and environmental initiatives such as organic farming, childcare facilities, small businesses, and renewable energy projects.
  • The Ecology Building Society in the UK offers savings accounts and mortgages for co-housing, renovations, and other sustainable construction projects.
  • Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution in the US that focuses its loans on growing a healthy local food system.
  • The Clean Energy Federal Credit Union in the US state of Colorado focuses on financing small-scale renewable energy projects.
Join or start a tool library.
Expand Action
Join or start a tool library.

Tool libraries offer access to a wide variety of specialty tools, recreation and outdoor equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more – without contributing to an individualist, wasteful and energy-intensive throwaway consumer economy. Tool libraries are also known as lending libraries or libraries of things.

Take action

  • Find a nearby tool library with Local Tools' worldwide map Find Your Local Tool Lending Library.
  • Check your local public library: many host small libraries of things in addition to books.
  • Start a new tool library with Share Starter's kit Start a Tool Library or Library of Things, with tools and templates for nonprofits, social ventures, and public libraries. 
  • If you have tools you rarely or no longer use, donate them to a local tool library.

Get inspired

Join or start a tool library.

Tool libraries offer access to a wide variety of specialty tools, recreation and outdoor equipment, kitchen gadgets, and more – without contributing to an individualist, wasteful and energy-intensive throwaway consumer economy. Tool libraries are also known as lending libraries or libraries of things.

Take action

  • Find a nearby tool library with Local Tools' worldwide map Find Your Local Tool Lending Library.
  • Check your local public library: many host small libraries of things in addition to books.
  • Start a new tool library with Share Starter's kit Start a Tool Library or Library of Things, with tools and templates for nonprofits, social ventures, and public libraries. 
  • If you have tools you rarely or no longer use, donate them to a local tool library.

Get inspired

Organize a citizens' assembly.
Expand Action
Organize a citizens' assembly.

Citizens' assemblies (or juries) are one method of direct democracy. They involve a randomly selected group of local residents who deliberate on key issues and generate policy recommendations. Citizens' assemblies are being designed and implemented in many places to address urgent issues like the climate emergency. 

Take action

  • Citizens’ Assemblies: Guide to Democracy that Works is a comprehensive guide to the rationale, organization and impacts of citizens’ assemblies.
  • Learn about citizens’ climate assemblies and juries and how to design, facilitate and implement them with the Extinction Rebellion Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies for activists.
  • UK-based Shared Future created this guide to climate assemblies, specifically aimed at local governments.  
  • Another UK-based guide for local governments on running a citizens' assembly was created by the Royal Society for the Arts and several British ministries.
  • For a deep dive into the why and how of citizens’ assemblies – both in general and as applied to the climate crisis – check out this amazing set of resources – books, articles, reports, videos, websites and podcasts – curated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, and this set by Extinction Rebellion UK.
     

    Get inspired

  • The Leeds (UK) Climate Change Citizens’ Jury met in 2019 and developed a set of robust recommendations to the Leeds city council.
  • Scotland's Climate assembly met to discuss "How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?" Their interim report has been issued.
  • The UK Climate Assembly was formed of "100+ people from all walks of life and shades of opinion" who met over six weekends to discuss the UK's climate goals. Their report was issued in September 2020.

Organize a citizens' assembly.

Citizens' assemblies (or juries) are one method of direct democracy. They involve a randomly selected group of local residents who deliberate on key issues and generate policy recommendations. Citizens' assemblies are being designed and implemented in many places to address urgent issues like the climate emergency. 

Take action

  • Citizens’ Assemblies: Guide to Democracy that Works is a comprehensive guide to the rationale, organization and impacts of citizens’ assemblies.
  • Learn about citizens’ climate assemblies and juries and how to design, facilitate and implement them with the Extinction Rebellion Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies for activists.
  • UK-based Shared Future created this guide to climate assemblies, specifically aimed at local governments.  
  • Another UK-based guide for local governments on running a citizens' assembly was created by the Royal Society for the Arts and several British ministries.
  • For a deep dive into the why and how of citizens’ assemblies – both in general and as applied to the climate crisis – check out this amazing set of resources – books, articles, reports, videos, websites and podcasts – curated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, and this set by Extinction Rebellion UK.
     

    Get inspired

  • The Leeds (UK) Climate Change Citizens’ Jury met in 2019 and developed a set of robust recommendations to the Leeds city council.
  • Scotland's Climate assembly met to discuss "How should Scotland change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way?" Their interim report has been issued.
  • The UK Climate Assembly was formed of "100+ people from all walks of life and shades of opinion" who met over six weekends to discuss the UK's climate goals. Their report was issued in September 2020.
Learn how to grow organic food.
Expand Action
Learn how to grow organic food.

One of the best ways to participate in the local food movement is to grow some of your own. Doing so will connect you more closely to the place you live – the soil, the seasons, the sun, the rain, and even the wildlife, from beneficial pollinators to garden pests.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Writer Fran Sorin's blog post gives you 13 Reasons Why Gardening is Good for Your Health. Among other effects, gardening reduces the likelihood you'll have a stroke, osteoporosis, and dementia. Sorin's focus is on growing ornamentals; growing food greatly expands the benefits of gardening.

Learn how to grow organic food.

One of the best ways to participate in the local food movement is to grow some of your own. Doing so will connect you more closely to the place you live – the soil, the seasons, the sun, the rain, and even the wildlife, from beneficial pollinators to garden pests.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Writer Fran Sorin's blog post gives you 13 Reasons Why Gardening is Good for Your Health. Among other effects, gardening reduces the likelihood you'll have a stroke, osteoporosis, and dementia. Sorin's focus is on growing ornamentals; growing food greatly expands the benefits of gardening.
Transform your lawn into a garden.
Expand Action
Transform your lawn into a garden.

Lawns of grass are monocultures that consume tremendous quantities of water and energy (predominantly fossil fuel-powered equipment) to maintain, and are often treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They diminish biodiversity and harm environmental health. If you have a lawn - no matter how small or how shady it is, or how busy you are - you can have a source of fresh, local food right in your backyard, and nurture biodiversity at the same time, by converting it to a food garden. Check out these resources to transform your lawn into a productive ecological haven and abundant source of hyper-local food.

Take action

Get inspired

  • At JWR Farm in Maryland in the US, Alan Black converted his 2-acre suburban lawn into a vegetable farm and community music venue with monthly gatherings.
  • At the Ron Finley Project in Los Angeles in the US, Ron Finley's movement for food sovereignty begins in his own lush urban backyard garden.
  • At New World Growers in Tampa in the US, Mike Chaney transformed his yard into a food forest and community space in just under a year.

Transform your lawn into a garden.

Lawns of grass are monocultures that consume tremendous quantities of water and energy (predominantly fossil fuel-powered equipment) to maintain, and are often treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They diminish biodiversity and harm environmental health. If you have a lawn - no matter how small or how shady it is, or how busy you are - you can have a source of fresh, local food right in your backyard, and nurture biodiversity at the same time, by converting it to a food garden. Check out these resources to transform your lawn into a productive ecological haven and abundant source of hyper-local food.

Take action

Get inspired

  • At JWR Farm in Maryland in the US, Alan Black converted his 2-acre suburban lawn into a vegetable farm and community music venue with monthly gatherings.
  • At the Ron Finley Project in Los Angeles in the US, Ron Finley's movement for food sovereignty begins in his own lush urban backyard garden.
  • At New World Growers in Tampa in the US, Mike Chaney transformed his yard into a food forest and community space in just under a year.
Link land and landowners with aspiring farmers.
Expand Action
Start a small-scale farm.
Expand Action
Start a small-scale farm.

Getting into small-scale agroecological farming can be a daunting process. Thankfully, many organizations facilitate this process through trainings, apprenticeships, and help from supportive networks of experienced peers and mentors.

Get started

  • Make use of the many resources for new small farmers from the Landworkers' Alliance (UK), including Mentoring by experienced practitioners, the Farm Start Network, and the Agroecology Training and Exchange Network.
  • In the UK, this guide from Shared Assets, Access to Land: Working with Local Authorities will help you access land for your community food enterprise.
  • In Europe, connect with an organization working on access to land for agroecological farming through the Access to Land network's Directory.
  • In the US, this guide from BPlans.com lists the steps needed to start a farm. Much of the focus is on the financial side – getting financing, identifying markets, writing a business plan, etc. – but more practical matters are also discussed.
  • In Canada, find farm apprenticeships, trainings, networking opportunities and more through the Young Agrarians.
  • The Small Farmer's Journal features essays by and about people who are farming on a small scale, mostly in the US and Canada. Much of the focus is on how to use, maintain and repair old animal-powered farm equipment, and how to care for draft animals.

Get inspired

  • The short film Future Farmers in Europe, focuses on eight young farmers who have returned to the land in France, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • This 5-minute film, Back to the Land: the Organic Movement in China, is about Zhang Yuqiu, a young woman who left a job in the city to start her own organic farm just outside Beijing.
  • The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), based in the US and internationally, is a cross-cultural network of farmers, elders, and educators, who share ancestral knowledge and practical skills with each other to build ecologically sound food systems. Their on-site training program in Oakland, California helps immigrants, refugees, and former prisoners who aspire to be farmers.
  • Bristol Food Producers in the UK provides mentorship for aspiring young farmers in the area, through a land matching program, skills development courses, access to markets, and events for socializing and networking.
  • NEED-Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar operates the Eco Village Farm School, a practical school for agricultural training focused on young farmers and a model for rural resilience.

Start a small-scale farm.

Getting into small-scale agroecological farming can be a daunting process. Thankfully, many organizations facilitate this process through trainings, apprenticeships, and help from supportive networks of experienced peers and mentors.

Get started

  • Make use of the many resources for new small farmers from the Landworkers' Alliance (UK), including Mentoring by experienced practitioners, the Farm Start Network, and the Agroecology Training and Exchange Network.
  • In the UK, this guide from Shared Assets, Access to Land: Working with Local Authorities will help you access land for your community food enterprise.
  • In Europe, connect with an organization working on access to land for agroecological farming through the Access to Land network's Directory.
  • In the US, this guide from BPlans.com lists the steps needed to start a farm. Much of the focus is on the financial side – getting financing, identifying markets, writing a business plan, etc. – but more practical matters are also discussed.
  • In Canada, find farm apprenticeships, trainings, networking opportunities and more through the Young Agrarians.
  • The Small Farmer's Journal features essays by and about people who are farming on a small scale, mostly in the US and Canada. Much of the focus is on how to use, maintain and repair old animal-powered farm equipment, and how to care for draft animals.

Get inspired

  • The short film Future Farmers in Europe, focuses on eight young farmers who have returned to the land in France, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • This 5-minute film, Back to the Land: the Organic Movement in China, is about Zhang Yuqiu, a young woman who left a job in the city to start her own organic farm just outside Beijing.
  • The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), based in the US and internationally, is a cross-cultural network of farmers, elders, and educators, who share ancestral knowledge and practical skills with each other to build ecologically sound food systems. Their on-site training program in Oakland, California helps immigrants, refugees, and former prisoners who aspire to be farmers.
  • Bristol Food Producers in the UK provides mentorship for aspiring young farmers in the area, through a land matching program, skills development courses, access to markets, and events for socializing and networking.
  • NEED-Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar operates the Eco Village Farm School, a practical school for agricultural training focused on young farmers and a model for rural resilience.
Create or support a community land trust.
Expand Action
Create or support a community land trust.

A good way to preserve farmland, open space, and community control over land for generations to come is to place land in a community or conservation land trust, agrarian commons, or community-managed farm. 

Get started

Get inspired

Create or support a community land trust.

A good way to preserve farmland, open space, and community control over land for generations to come is to place land in a community or conservation land trust, agrarian commons, or community-managed farm. 

Get started

Get inspired

Start a CSA on your farm.
Expand Action
Start a CSA on your farm.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also known as a subscription service or box scheme, is a way for farmers to connect more closely with their customers. Customers buy shares of a farm's harvest in advance, thus sharing in the risk that farmers take every year. And with an up-front guarantee on sales, CSAs enable farmers to purchase equipment and seeds without loans, lessening their dependence on the financial system. While CSAs are typically associated with vegetable growers, producers of many kinds have used the model: bread bakers, cheesemakers, meat producers, fruit growers, herbalists, foragers, fisherfolk, and more. And some farmers link up to assemble a range of locally-produced foods into whole-diet offerings.

Get started

  • Learn how to create a CSA with North Carolina State University's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Resource Guide for Farmers (US). The guide supports farmers who want to create a CSA, as well as groups of people – offices, churches, schools, buying clubs, and groups of neighbors – who would like to approach a farmer to start a CSA.
  • The European NGO Urgenci has produced a detailed Trainers Guide, which can be used to introduce both farmers and community members to the theory and practice of Community Supported Agriculture.
  • Create a cooperative CSA with other small farmers. Read Civil Eats' article Banding Together to Build a Better CSA, featuring City Commons CSA in Detroit, US to learn more.

Get inspired

Start a CSA on your farm.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also known as a subscription service or box scheme, is a way for farmers to connect more closely with their customers. Customers buy shares of a farm's harvest in advance, thus sharing in the risk that farmers take every year. And with an up-front guarantee on sales, CSAs enable farmers to purchase equipment and seeds without loans, lessening their dependence on the financial system. While CSAs are typically associated with vegetable growers, producers of many kinds have used the model: bread bakers, cheesemakers, meat producers, fruit growers, herbalists, foragers, fisherfolk, and more. And some farmers link up to assemble a range of locally-produced foods into whole-diet offerings.

Get started

  • Learn how to create a CSA with North Carolina State University's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Resource Guide for Farmers (US). The guide supports farmers who want to create a CSA, as well as groups of people – offices, churches, schools, buying clubs, and groups of neighbors – who would like to approach a farmer to start a CSA.
  • The European NGO Urgenci has produced a detailed Trainers Guide, which can be used to introduce both farmers and community members to the theory and practice of Community Supported Agriculture.
  • Create a cooperative CSA with other small farmers. Read Civil Eats' article Banding Together to Build a Better CSA, featuring City Commons CSA in Detroit, US to learn more.

Get inspired

Harvest wild foods.
Expand Action
Harvest wild foods.

A rich diversity of wild or uncultivated foods can be found in our local environments, from urban areas to the backcountry. With sustainable harvesting practices and ethics, these foods can provide a dependable, perennial source of exceptional nutrition. Learning to identify, harvest and prepare wild foods provides not only nutritious sustenance, but opportunities for intergenerational and intercultural learning, preserving biological and cultural diversity, and deepening an ecological ethic of care and respect for the land.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Deccan Development Society in Hyderabad, India helps introduce the public to neglected, highly nutritious and abundant wild foods through its Festival of Uncultivated Foods.
  • Fox Haven Farm in Maryland, US runs 9-month foraging education programs with a focus on ecosystem stewardship, within and alongside an herbal farm, ecological retreat, learning center, and wildlife sanctuary.
  • Linking Wild Foods, Biodiversity, and Forest-Based Livelihoods, an online conference held in 2021, offers stories and conference presentations from across South and Southeast Asia.
  • Forgotten Greens, based in India, connects people with wild plants growing near them through 11-day virtual group programs, as well as place-based plant walks, festivals, and workshops celebrating the plants that form the often invisible backdrop of our everyday lives.

Harvest wild foods.

A rich diversity of wild or uncultivated foods can be found in our local environments, from urban areas to the backcountry. With sustainable harvesting practices and ethics, these foods can provide a dependable, perennial source of exceptional nutrition. Learning to identify, harvest and prepare wild foods provides not only nutritious sustenance, but opportunities for intergenerational and intercultural learning, preserving biological and cultural diversity, and deepening an ecological ethic of care and respect for the land.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Deccan Development Society in Hyderabad, India helps introduce the public to neglected, highly nutritious and abundant wild foods through its Festival of Uncultivated Foods.
  • Fox Haven Farm in Maryland, US runs 9-month foraging education programs with a focus on ecosystem stewardship, within and alongside an herbal farm, ecological retreat, learning center, and wildlife sanctuary.
  • Linking Wild Foods, Biodiversity, and Forest-Based Livelihoods, an online conference held in 2021, offers stories and conference presentations from across South and Southeast Asia.
  • Forgotten Greens, based in India, connects people with wild plants growing near them through 11-day virtual group programs, as well as place-based plant walks, festivals, and workshops celebrating the plants that form the often invisible backdrop of our everyday lives.
Get involved in gleaning.
Expand Action
Get involved in gleaning.

Gleaning refers to harvesting and gathering foods that would otherwise go to waste. From city fruit trees to leftover crops on farms, the amount of food that can be gleaned is huge, and many organizations and initiatives have emerged to collect this food for local consumption. In many cases, the gleaned food is donated to local anti-hunger programs. Not only does this tap into hitherto ignored local abundance, but it helps reduce dependence on the global industrial food system.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Volunteers with Not Far From the Tree in Toronto, Canada, pick fruit from private trees all around the city and share the harvest with owners and local food banks.
  • Food Forward in Los Angeles, US, collects fresh fruits and vegetables from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, and farmers markets, and delivers it to people in need.
  • Smarta Kartan in Gothenburg, Sweden, maps out the sharing economy of the city, including public fruit trees.
  • Fallen Fruit in Los Angeles, US is an urban fruit trail highlighting 150 edible trees in one neighborhood.

Get involved in gleaning.

Gleaning refers to harvesting and gathering foods that would otherwise go to waste. From city fruit trees to leftover crops on farms, the amount of food that can be gleaned is huge, and many organizations and initiatives have emerged to collect this food for local consumption. In many cases, the gleaned food is donated to local anti-hunger programs. Not only does this tap into hitherto ignored local abundance, but it helps reduce dependence on the global industrial food system.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Volunteers with Not Far From the Tree in Toronto, Canada, pick fruit from private trees all around the city and share the harvest with owners and local food banks.
  • Food Forward in Los Angeles, US, collects fresh fruits and vegetables from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, and farmers markets, and delivers it to people in need.
  • Smarta Kartan in Gothenburg, Sweden, maps out the sharing economy of the city, including public fruit trees.
  • Fallen Fruit in Los Angeles, US is an urban fruit trail highlighting 150 edible trees in one neighborhood.
Join or start a bulk buying club.
Expand Action
Join or start a bulk buying club.

Reduce packaging waste and emissions from shipping by joining or starting a bulk buying club: a group of people who periodically purchase food and other supplies wholesale from farms, food producers, and other suppliers. To have the greatest positive impact, choose local producers whenever possible; otherwise try to build direct relationships with trusted fair-trade suppliers.

Take action

  • Start a buying club with Start a Buying Club's detailed guide.
  • Find bulk buying suppliers and other food coop resources from Sustain's Food Coops Map (UK).
  • Use the Fair World Project's guide The New International Guide to Fair Trade Labels to distinguish authentic, transformative fair trade labels that support small-scale, ecological producers from "fair-washed" corporate co-opted labels.

Get inspired

  • Melliodora near Melbourne, Australia, has been operating a home-based food coop once a week for 20 years, offering dry goods and a Community Supported Agriculture box from the founder's garage.
  • The 350,000+ members of the Seikatsu Club in Japan order bulk supplies in groups of 8-10 households arranged into autonomous local branches. Their collective demand has established more than 600 local cooperative suppliers and catalyzed a movement for local, chemical-free food throughout the country.

Join or start a bulk buying club.

Reduce packaging waste and emissions from shipping by joining or starting a bulk buying club: a group of people who periodically purchase food and other supplies wholesale from farms, food producers, and other suppliers. To have the greatest positive impact, choose local producers whenever possible; otherwise try to build direct relationships with trusted fair-trade suppliers.

Take action

  • Start a buying club with Start a Buying Club's detailed guide.
  • Find bulk buying suppliers and other food coop resources from Sustain's Food Coops Map (UK).
  • Use the Fair World Project's guide The New International Guide to Fair Trade Labels to distinguish authentic, transformative fair trade labels that support small-scale, ecological producers from "fair-washed" corporate co-opted labels.

Get inspired

  • Melliodora near Melbourne, Australia, has been operating a home-based food coop once a week for 20 years, offering dry goods and a Community Supported Agriculture box from the founder's garage.
  • The 350,000+ members of the Seikatsu Club in Japan order bulk supplies in groups of 8-10 households arranged into autonomous local branches. Their collective demand has established more than 600 local cooperative suppliers and catalyzed a movement for local, chemical-free food throughout the country.
Shop at locally-owned businesses.
Expand Action
Shop at locally-owned businesses.

Online shopping seems convenient and chain stores appear cheap, but both have many hidden costs: as local businesses lose trade, the local economy loses vitality, our neighbors lose their livelihoods, and the environment suffers. From a big picture perspective, shopping locally is the real bargain.

Take action

  • Make a list of things you regularly purchase at large stores, and services you contract from large non-local companies. This is a great activity to do with neighbors and friends!
  • Draft a list of local alternatives that address these needs.
  • Fill in gaps by consulting local business directories, local markets, neighborhood listserves, and friends. Find local businesses through a business alliance such as the American Independent Business Alliance's list of Members (US).
  • For goods and services that you can’t readily find, see if you can work with a local business or artisan to produce what you need. For example, before purchasing plastic furniture, reach out to a local woodworker.
  • Make a commitment to start shifting your purchases towards local producers and retailers, and share your journey with your community.

Get inspired

Shop at locally-owned businesses.

Online shopping seems convenient and chain stores appear cheap, but both have many hidden costs: as local businesses lose trade, the local economy loses vitality, our neighbors lose their livelihoods, and the environment suffers. From a big picture perspective, shopping locally is the real bargain.

Take action

  • Make a list of things you regularly purchase at large stores, and services you contract from large non-local companies. This is a great activity to do with neighbors and friends!
  • Draft a list of local alternatives that address these needs.
  • Fill in gaps by consulting local business directories, local markets, neighborhood listserves, and friends. Find local businesses through a business alliance such as the American Independent Business Alliance's list of Members (US).
  • For goods and services that you can’t readily find, see if you can work with a local business or artisan to produce what you need. For example, before purchasing plastic furniture, reach out to a local woodworker.
  • Make a commitment to start shifting your purchases towards local producers and retailers, and share your journey with your community.

Get inspired

Support genuine fair trade.
Expand Action
Support genuine fair trade.

When something we need can't be produced locally or regionally, sourcing it fairly from small ecological producers or businesses in another country is the next best thing. If done right, this can help support dignified local livelihoods elsewhere. But there is a risk: by encouraging small producers, especially those in the global South, to join an export-led economy rather than producing for local consumption, we may be unintentionally undermining genuine self-reliance in their communities. Even producers engaged in fair trade can find their livelihoods threatened by competition from other countries, shifts in global markets, or changing consumer preferences. Trade is genuinely fair when small producers are meeting local needs first before exporting any surpluses, and have a real say in determining prices and terms of trade.

Take action

  • Use the Fair World Project's guide The New International Guide to Fair Trade Labels to distinguish authentic, transformative fair trade labels that support small-scale, ecological producers from "fair-washed" corporate co-opted labels.
  • Quickly decode the labels at your store with the Fair World Project's summary Reference Guide to Fair Trade and Worker Justice Certifications.

    Get inspired

  • The Community Agroecology Network works with small-scale coffee farmers in Mexico and Central America promoting ecologically-sound growing practices and vibrant local food economies that foster fair market channels and farmer control of seeds. The network prioritizes local food needs first, and then shade-grown organic coffee for export.
  • Good Market, a global platform started in Sri Lanka, is a place for customers, businesses, and small producers to connect with each other and form business relationships. All Good Market members adhere to rigorous environmental and human rights standards, and the website publishes a detailed audit of each member's practices.
  • The Small Producers' Symbol is a 100% producer-driven, democratically-run intercontinental network of over 120 ecological small-scale agriculture organizations. They work with committed companies and customers to produce and trade products that are high-quality, agroecological, organic and free of exploitation, providing living income for producers and complete traceability from producer to consumer.

Support genuine fair trade.

When something we need can't be produced locally or regionally, sourcing it fairly from small ecological producers or businesses in another country is the next best thing. If done right, this can help support dignified local livelihoods elsewhere. But there is a risk: by encouraging small producers, especially those in the global South, to join an export-led economy rather than producing for local consumption, we may be unintentionally undermining genuine self-reliance in their communities. Even producers engaged in fair trade can find their livelihoods threatened by competition from other countries, shifts in global markets, or changing consumer preferences. Trade is genuinely fair when small producers are meeting local needs first before exporting any surpluses, and have a real say in determining prices and terms of trade.

Take action

  • Use the Fair World Project's guide The New International Guide to Fair Trade Labels to distinguish authentic, transformative fair trade labels that support small-scale, ecological producers from "fair-washed" corporate co-opted labels.
  • Quickly decode the labels at your store with the Fair World Project's summary Reference Guide to Fair Trade and Worker Justice Certifications.

    Get inspired

  • The Community Agroecology Network works with small-scale coffee farmers in Mexico and Central America promoting ecologically-sound growing practices and vibrant local food economies that foster fair market channels and farmer control of seeds. The network prioritizes local food needs first, and then shade-grown organic coffee for export.
  • Good Market, a global platform started in Sri Lanka, is a place for customers, businesses, and small producers to connect with each other and form business relationships. All Good Market members adhere to rigorous environmental and human rights standards, and the website publishes a detailed audit of each member's practices.
  • The Small Producers' Symbol is a 100% producer-driven, democratically-run intercontinental network of over 120 ecological small-scale agriculture organizations. They work with committed companies and customers to produce and trade products that are high-quality, agroecological, organic and free of exploitation, providing living income for producers and complete traceability from producer to consumer.
Purchase biodegradable and long-lasting objects.
Expand Action
Purchase biodegradable and long-lasting objects.

Choosing items that are biodegradable and long-lasting reduces the environmental burden of manufactured goods, both during production and when their useful lifetime has finished. In the words of Pete Seeger, ​“If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”

Take action

  • Purchase from companies that reject planned obsolescence and offer a lifetime guarantee on their products. For products that aren't made locally, the website Buy Me Once (US) is a directory of companies that intentionally design for durability.
  • Consider objects that are made of natural fibers, stone, clay, bamboo, wood, or plants, rather than synthetic materials like plastic. Be cautious of chemical or plastic coatings, and use locally-harvested materials when possible! 
  • Check out iFixit's instruction manuals and online community for help with repairing electronics.

Purchase biodegradable and long-lasting objects.

Choosing items that are biodegradable and long-lasting reduces the environmental burden of manufactured goods, both during production and when their useful lifetime has finished. In the words of Pete Seeger, ​“If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.”

Take action

  • Purchase from companies that reject planned obsolescence and offer a lifetime guarantee on their products. For products that aren't made locally, the website Buy Me Once (US) is a directory of companies that intentionally design for durability.
  • Consider objects that are made of natural fibers, stone, clay, bamboo, wood, or plants, rather than synthetic materials like plastic. Be cautious of chemical or plastic coatings, and use locally-harvested materials when possible! 
  • Check out iFixit's instruction manuals and online community for help with repairing electronics.
Join or start a neighborhood sharing network.
Expand Action
Join or start a neighborhood sharing network.

Sharing items with neighbors and friends builds relationships and interdependence, and reduces the environmental impact of buying objects that are rarely used. Recreation and outdoor equipment, tools and kitchen implements are all great candidates for informal sharing networks.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Sharing items is a key aspect of Dama, the traditional gift culture in Mali that forms the backbone of community. Learn more about this philosophy in the Gift Economy page of this Action Guide.
  • The Small Farm Guild in northern Vermont, US, shares farm equipment – cider press, chicken processing equipment, food dehydrator, rototiller, and much more – among local farmers, homesteaders and gardeners.

Join or start a neighborhood sharing network.

Sharing items with neighbors and friends builds relationships and interdependence, and reduces the environmental impact of buying objects that are rarely used. Recreation and outdoor equipment, tools and kitchen implements are all great candidates for informal sharing networks.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Sharing items is a key aspect of Dama, the traditional gift culture in Mali that forms the backbone of community. Learn more about this philosophy in the Gift Economy page of this Action Guide.
  • The Small Farm Guild in northern Vermont, US, shares farm equipment – cider press, chicken processing equipment, food dehydrator, rototiller, and much more – among local farmers, homesteaders and gardeners.
Join or start a Time Bank or LETS.
Expand Action
Join or start a Time Bank or LETS.

Joining or creating a time bank or LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) is a great way to decouple valuation from the mainstream financial system, and to keep value circulating in our local economies. A Time Bank is an extended bartering system that allows people to exchange their time, measured in hourly credits, rather than money. LETS expands this concept by creating platforms on which people can exchange goods and services using a local currency that is not pegged to government-issued money. Both systems build social support networks, help members save money, and make visible the multitude of knowledge and skills already present in our communities.

Take action

Get inspired

Join or start a Time Bank or LETS.

Joining or creating a time bank or LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) is a great way to decouple valuation from the mainstream financial system, and to keep value circulating in our local economies. A Time Bank is an extended bartering system that allows people to exchange their time, measured in hourly credits, rather than money. LETS expands this concept by creating platforms on which people can exchange goods and services using a local currency that is not pegged to government-issued money. Both systems build social support networks, help members save money, and make visible the multitude of knowledge and skills already present in our communities.

Take action

Get inspired

Barter what you have for what you need.
Expand Action
Barter what you have for what you need.

Bartering – the direct exchange of goods or services – is one of the oldest forms of economic transaction, and it still thrives in many parts of the world today. Barter not only provides a way for people without cash to exchange what they have for what they need, it also strengthens social ties in the process.

Take action

  • One-on-one bartering is difficult: you need to find someone who has exactly what you need, and who needs exactly what you have. Increase the odds by adding "willing to barter" whenever you post something for sale.
  • Set up a barter market in your community.
  • If you have a business, consider ways that you could incorporate payments by barter.
  • For an understanding of the laws around bartering in the US, check out Money Soup: A Legal Guide to Bartering, Giving, and Getting Stuff without Dollars, put together by the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

Get inspired

  • The report Barter markets: sustaining people and nature in the Andes by Neus Marti and Michel Pimbert explores how barter markets in Peru contribute to food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, and community resilience.
  • Alam Sehat Lestari in Kalimantan, Indonesia runs a medical clinic that accepts payments in seedlings, handicrafts, manure, and more. In addition, the clinic offers discounts up to 70% for patients from villages that have collectively reduced illegal logging.
  • The patients at Panamédica Cooperativa de Salud in Mexico City, Mexico can choose to pay for medical services with a “solidarity fee,” where 50% of the payment is done in-kind through community service.
  • The Fitzroy Urban Harvest in Melbourne, Victoria is a monthly event where residents both barter and give away homegrown and homemade food.

Barter what you have for what you need.

Bartering – the direct exchange of goods or services – is one of the oldest forms of economic transaction, and it still thrives in many parts of the world today. Barter not only provides a way for people without cash to exchange what they have for what they need, it also strengthens social ties in the process.

Take action

  • One-on-one bartering is difficult: you need to find someone who has exactly what you need, and who needs exactly what you have. Increase the odds by adding "willing to barter" whenever you post something for sale.
  • Set up a barter market in your community.
  • If you have a business, consider ways that you could incorporate payments by barter.
  • For an understanding of the laws around bartering in the US, check out Money Soup: A Legal Guide to Bartering, Giving, and Getting Stuff without Dollars, put together by the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

Get inspired

  • The report Barter markets: sustaining people and nature in the Andes by Neus Marti and Michel Pimbert explores how barter markets in Peru contribute to food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, and community resilience.
  • Alam Sehat Lestari in Kalimantan, Indonesia runs a medical clinic that accepts payments in seedlings, handicrafts, manure, and more. In addition, the clinic offers discounts up to 70% for patients from villages that have collectively reduced illegal logging.
  • The patients at Panamédica Cooperativa de Salud in Mexico City, Mexico can choose to pay for medical services with a “solidarity fee,” where 50% of the payment is done in-kind through community service.
  • The Fitzroy Urban Harvest in Melbourne, Victoria is a monthly event where residents both barter and give away homegrown and homemade food.
Join or start a local currency.
Expand Action
Join or start a local currency.

A local currency helps keep wealth circulating within the community, rather than leaking out of the local economy. This section covers paper and digital notes whose value is pegged to and backed by government-issued currency, and which therefore function as coupons to encourage local spending. Time banks, LETS, and other non-monetary local means of exchange are covered elsewhere in this section.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The locally-controlled bank Banco Palmas in Fortaleza (Brazil) issues loans by default in the local currency, the Palma, to encourage borrowers to shop at neighborhood enterprises. The bank charges a fee for issuing loans in Brazilian Reals.
  • The Lewes Pound in the UK is a paper currency accepted by local businesses. When people purchase Lewes Pounds with the UK£, 5 pence is given to local community-building projects.
  • The Catalan Integral Cooperative in Catalonia created a local digital currency, the Eco, which is accepted at the many small shops and businesses run by its members.
  • BerkShares, in western Massachusetts, US, is a local currency formed by a partnership between the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, three community banks, and 400 participating businesses. More than 10 million BerkShares have circulated within the local economy over the past 15 years. 

Join or start a local currency.

A local currency helps keep wealth circulating within the community, rather than leaking out of the local economy. This section covers paper and digital notes whose value is pegged to and backed by government-issued currency, and which therefore function as coupons to encourage local spending. Time banks, LETS, and other non-monetary local means of exchange are covered elsewhere in this section.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The locally-controlled bank Banco Palmas in Fortaleza (Brazil) issues loans by default in the local currency, the Palma, to encourage borrowers to shop at neighborhood enterprises. The bank charges a fee for issuing loans in Brazilian Reals.
  • The Lewes Pound in the UK is a paper currency accepted by local businesses. When people purchase Lewes Pounds with the UK£, 5 pence is given to local community-building projects.
  • The Catalan Integral Cooperative in Catalonia created a local digital currency, the Eco, which is accepted at the many small shops and businesses run by its members.
  • BerkShares, in western Massachusetts, US, is a local currency formed by a partnership between the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, three community banks, and 400 participating businesses. More than 10 million BerkShares have circulated within the local economy over the past 15 years. 
Be part of a gift economy.
Expand Action
Be part of a gift economy.

Gift economies free us to give without an expectation of direct payment, and to receive without feeling indebted. They can help us shift our personal economies from a series of faceless transactions to a web of nurturing relationships. In most societies today, gift economies cannot form the entirety or even majority of our economic transactions. Nonetheless, they can be a vital part of our transition from global to local economies.

Take action

  • Organize a Really Really Free Market – a space for people to get and give away goods completely free of obligations to pay, trade or barter – with Shareable's guide How to start a really really free market.
  • Refuse payment – even in barter – for small goods or services you provide to others in your community. At the same time, explain the gift economy concept. See how long it takes to notice that others are doing the same.
  • Join or start a Buy Nothing Group with the Buy Nothing Project, which facilitates hyper-local gift economies where people offer and request items with no transactions involved. There are more than 5,000 active local groups in 44 countries; if your area doesn't have one yet, the website offers everything you need to get started.
  • Explore the economic, social, psychological, relational, spiritual and cosmological elements of gift economies with Charles Eisenstein's in-depth, self-guided course Living in the Gift.

Get inspired

Be part of a gift economy.

Gift economies free us to give without an expectation of direct payment, and to receive without feeling indebted. They can help us shift our personal economies from a series of faceless transactions to a web of nurturing relationships. In most societies today, gift economies cannot form the entirety or even majority of our economic transactions. Nonetheless, they can be a vital part of our transition from global to local economies.

Take action

  • Organize a Really Really Free Market – a space for people to get and give away goods completely free of obligations to pay, trade or barter – with Shareable's guide How to start a really really free market.
  • Refuse payment – even in barter – for small goods or services you provide to others in your community. At the same time, explain the gift economy concept. See how long it takes to notice that others are doing the same.
  • Join or start a Buy Nothing Group with the Buy Nothing Project, which facilitates hyper-local gift economies where people offer and request items with no transactions involved. There are more than 5,000 active local groups in 44 countries; if your area doesn't have one yet, the website offers everything you need to get started.
  • Explore the economic, social, psychological, relational, spiritual and cosmological elements of gift economies with Charles Eisenstein's in-depth, self-guided course Living in the Gift.

Get inspired

Produce your own household electricity.
Expand Action
Produce your own household electricity.

Producing some of the electricity you use at home is a very direct way to lessen your dependence on energy corporations. Off-grid renewable systems are more subject to the vagaries of intermittent sources of power – whether sun, wind, or water – but that’s actually a good thing: it lets you know that the energy you use isn’t endless, and encourages conservation as a way of life. All the actions below lessen our dependence on commercial energy providers, cultivate awareness of our daily energy usage, and attune us to the potential of the local environment to meet our energy needs.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Sundaya in West Java, Indonesia, produces and distributes home-scale 12-volt solar energy kits that don't require expertise, tools, or literacy to install and maintain.
  • Resilient Power Puerto Rico is distributing solar electric power kits to families devastated by hurricanes, to help the island achieve energy sovereignty.
  • The Bali Appropriate Technology Institute in Tabanan, Indonesia, empowers rural communities to fulfill their own water and electrical needs through rainwater collection, ram pumps, micro hydropower generators, and more, all made with locally-available materials. 
  • The intentional community Living Energy Farm in the US state of Virginia has created a low-cost off-grid system that powers a multi-family home, machine shop, and agricultural processing center through direct drive, direct current power and long-lasting nickel iron batteries. 
  • The members of Unión de Cooperativas Tosepan in Cuetzalan, Mexico, have rejected big energy projects like hydroelectric dams and high-voltage transmission lines in favor of home-scale electricity systems. 

Produce your own household electricity.

Producing some of the electricity you use at home is a very direct way to lessen your dependence on energy corporations. Off-grid renewable systems are more subject to the vagaries of intermittent sources of power – whether sun, wind, or water – but that’s actually a good thing: it lets you know that the energy you use isn’t endless, and encourages conservation as a way of life. All the actions below lessen our dependence on commercial energy providers, cultivate awareness of our daily energy usage, and attune us to the potential of the local environment to meet our energy needs.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Sundaya in West Java, Indonesia, produces and distributes home-scale 12-volt solar energy kits that don't require expertise, tools, or literacy to install and maintain.
  • Resilient Power Puerto Rico is distributing solar electric power kits to families devastated by hurricanes, to help the island achieve energy sovereignty.
  • The Bali Appropriate Technology Institute in Tabanan, Indonesia, empowers rural communities to fulfill their own water and electrical needs through rainwater collection, ram pumps, micro hydropower generators, and more, all made with locally-available materials. 
  • The intentional community Living Energy Farm in the US state of Virginia has created a low-cost off-grid system that powers a multi-family home, machine shop, and agricultural processing center through direct drive, direct current power and long-lasting nickel iron batteries. 
  • The members of Unión de Cooperativas Tosepan in Cuetzalan, Mexico, have rejected big energy projects like hydroelectric dams and high-voltage transmission lines in favor of home-scale electricity systems. 
Support land reparations movements.
Expand Action
Support land reparations movements.

Although systemic economic forces make it difficult for anyone in the US to survive as a farmer  –  and even harder to acquire enough land to start a farm  –  institutional racism and other forms of discrimination have made it all but impossible for people of color. Land-based reparations give land ownership and access to people whose ancestors were enslaved or persecuted, and who continue to experience institutional racism and discrimination today. This approach empowers these farmers to grow the food their communities need. It also enables privileged landowners of means – and others who may be inclined to help – to actively heal wounds that have been inflicted over many generations.

Get started

Get inspired

  • The Sogorea Te' Land Trust in California created the Shuumi Land Tax, inviting residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to contribute an annual gift that supports the return of indigenous lands to indigenous people.
  • The Black Land and Liberation Movement in the US coordinated Reparations Summer: A Land-Based Movement for Black Liberation, to build a movement for land-based reparations and explore how the indigenous sovereignty and Black self-determination movements can work together.
  • A Reparations Map for Farmers of Color May Help Right Historical Wrongs, by Andrea King Collier, shares the story of how, "In an effort to address centuries of systemic racism, a new online tool seeks to connect Black, brown, and Indigenous farmers with land and resources."
  • In How to Give Land Back, Aaron Fernando describes the work of Dishgamu Humboldt, an indigenous-led community land trust working to return land to the Wiyot tribe in Northern California in the US.

Support land reparations movements.

Although systemic economic forces make it difficult for anyone in the US to survive as a farmer  –  and even harder to acquire enough land to start a farm  –  institutional racism and other forms of discrimination have made it all but impossible for people of color. Land-based reparations give land ownership and access to people whose ancestors were enslaved or persecuted, and who continue to experience institutional racism and discrimination today. This approach empowers these farmers to grow the food their communities need. It also enables privileged landowners of means – and others who may be inclined to help – to actively heal wounds that have been inflicted over many generations.

Get started

Get inspired

  • The Sogorea Te' Land Trust in California created the Shuumi Land Tax, inviting residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to contribute an annual gift that supports the return of indigenous lands to indigenous people.
  • The Black Land and Liberation Movement in the US coordinated Reparations Summer: A Land-Based Movement for Black Liberation, to build a movement for land-based reparations and explore how the indigenous sovereignty and Black self-determination movements can work together.
  • A Reparations Map for Farmers of Color May Help Right Historical Wrongs, by Andrea King Collier, shares the story of how, "In an effort to address centuries of systemic racism, a new online tool seeks to connect Black, brown, and Indigenous farmers with land and resources."
  • In How to Give Land Back, Aaron Fernando describes the work of Dishgamu Humboldt, an indigenous-led community land trust working to return land to the Wiyot tribe in Northern California in the US.
Plant food to share.
Expand Action
Plant food to share.

Planting food crops to share uses the privilege of access to land to benefit the wider community. Creating a common resource is an act of resistance against cultures of privatized land and commodified food, and an act of renewal of gift economies that support abundance for all.

Take action

  • Plant a fruit tree or garden plot with food that you intend to share with others, or make available for others to harvest.
  • Connect with the Food is Free Project, a worldwide movement of people growing and sharing food freely, and check out their guide on how to start a project of your own.
  • Register fruit trees on your land with a local gleaning organization.
  • Donate excess produce from your garden to a local food bank.
  • Start an inexpensive nursery to grow seedlings for your community with Lobelia Commons' Decentralized Nursery How-To Thread.

Get inspired

  • Lobelia Commons' Front Yard Orchard program in New Orleans, US, provides free fruit trees for people to plant in publicly accessible parts of their yards.
  • Homegardens are privately-held agroforestry plots common in tropical communities worldwide. In Java, Indonesia, homegardens are often considered semi-public community land, with harvests shared throughout the village: see The Javanese Homegarden for more details.

Plant food to share.

Planting food crops to share uses the privilege of access to land to benefit the wider community. Creating a common resource is an act of resistance against cultures of privatized land and commodified food, and an act of renewal of gift economies that support abundance for all.

Take action

  • Plant a fruit tree or garden plot with food that you intend to share with others, or make available for others to harvest.
  • Connect with the Food is Free Project, a worldwide movement of people growing and sharing food freely, and check out their guide on how to start a project of your own.
  • Register fruit trees on your land with a local gleaning organization.
  • Donate excess produce from your garden to a local food bank.
  • Start an inexpensive nursery to grow seedlings for your community with Lobelia Commons' Decentralized Nursery How-To Thread.

Get inspired

  • Lobelia Commons' Front Yard Orchard program in New Orleans, US, provides free fruit trees for people to plant in publicly accessible parts of their yards.
  • Homegardens are privately-held agroforestry plots common in tropical communities worldwide. In Java, Indonesia, homegardens are often considered semi-public community land, with harvests shared throughout the village: see The Javanese Homegarden for more details.
Learn how to grow and process local grains.
Expand Action
Learn how to grow and process local grains.

Grains are an often-neglected component of the local food movement, even though they comprise such a significant proportion of most cultures' diets. This is changing, however, as a movement for revival, protection and promotion of local grain growing and processing is spreading. Get involved and inspired with some of the resources and initiatives below.

Take action

Learn how to grow and process local grains.

Grains are an often-neglected component of the local food movement, even though they comprise such a significant proportion of most cultures' diets. This is changing, however, as a movement for revival, protection and promotion of local grain growing and processing is spreading. Get involved and inspired with some of the resources and initiatives below.

Take action

Buy locally-grown staple foods.
Expand Action
Buy locally-grown staple foods.

Staple crop production, distribution, processing and consumption is an essential – if often neglected – component of the food relocalization movement. Fortunately, there is a burgeoning small-scale localized staples renaissance, often focusing on rescuing and re-popularizing a threatened diversity of heritage, heirloom, locally-adapted, resilient, nutritionally-superior varieties of grains, legumes, root crops, and more.
The below resources, while geographically limited, exemplify good sources of locally-grown staple foods. Seek out similar sources in your own country if not included below, and let us know about them in our suggestion form.

Take action

(UK)

(India) 

  • In India, source ‘desi’ (native/heirloom) staples including diverse varieties of rice, legumes, millet and wheat from Sahaja Sumrudha and their shop Sahaja Organics.

Get inspired

  • 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.

Buy locally-grown staple foods.

Staple crop production, distribution, processing and consumption is an essential – if often neglected – component of the food relocalization movement. Fortunately, there is a burgeoning small-scale localized staples renaissance, often focusing on rescuing and re-popularizing a threatened diversity of heritage, heirloom, locally-adapted, resilient, nutritionally-superior varieties of grains, legumes, root crops, and more.
The below resources, while geographically limited, exemplify good sources of locally-grown staple foods. Seek out similar sources in your own country if not included below, and let us know about them in our suggestion form.

Take action

(UK)

(India) 

  • In India, source ‘desi’ (native/heirloom) staples including diverse varieties of rice, legumes, millet and wheat from Sahaja Sumrudha and their shop Sahaja Organics.

Get inspired

  • 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.
Join the movement for local grains.
Expand Action
Join the movement for local grains.

The number of plant foods people consume has dwindled to the point that just three grains – wheat, rice and maize – account for 60 percent of food energy consumed globally. At the same time, genetic diversity within each of those grains is narrowing year by year. The local food movement can reverse these trends, because local food promotes diversity: the crops and varieties farmers grow aren't tailored to the standardized needs of giant supermarkets and global traders, but to local soils, climate and cultural preferences. And since grains are such a major component of human diets, they are an important facet of the local food movement.

Take action

  • In the UK, get involved with one of the many organizations promoting local grains:
    • The UK Grain Lab brings together farmers, millers, plant breeders, bakers, cooks, scientists and academics to promote the growing and eating of non-commodity grains.
    • The Heritage Grain Trust believes that British farmers, using heritage seeds, can produce all the grain needed to feed the UK population while improving soil health, increasing biodiversity, and sequestering greenhouse gases.
    • Scotland the Bread is “a collaborative project to grow better grain and bake better bread with the common purposes of nourishment, sustainability and food sovereignty."
    • Grown in Totnes has produced A Toolkit to Inspire Small-scale Production and Processing of Grains and Pulses
  • In the US, connect with one of these regional groups working to diversify and localize the growing of grains:
    • In the Upper Midwest, the Artisan Grain Collaborative is working “to create a diverse regional grainshed built upon regenerative agriculture practices"
    • In the Mountain West, the Colorado Grain Chain is comprised of local businesses and consumers who believe in re-localization of grains.
    • On the East Coast, the Common Grain Alliance is building a regional heirloom grain economy, with more than 30 farmers, millers, and bakers so far. 
  • In India, support the Millet Network of India (MINI), comprised of 50 farmer organizations that believe a revival of millet-based farming and food systems would place control over food, seeds, markets and natural resources in the hands of the poor.
  • Sign up for the innovative Grain School organized by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (US). The curriculum covers the history and biology of land-race grains, crop breeding, nutritional and health issues, baking and fermentation, and small-scale production techniques.
  • The local grain movement isn't just for producers. Consumers in the US can find local grain and flour in the Upper Midwest with this list, and across the whole US in this map from the Artisan Grain Collaborative.
  • In India, ‘desi’ (native/heirloom) staples including diverse varieties of rice, millet and wheat can be obtained from Sahaja Sumrudha and their shop Sahaja Organics.

    Get inspired

  • Vrihi is the largest folk rice seed bank in eastern India, with over 940 endangered varieties conserved. It is linked to Basudha, a conservation farm that grows all of the varieties each season. Read more in the Local Futures article Saving Our Lives One Seed at a Time.
  • 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.

Join the movement for local grains.

The number of plant foods people consume has dwindled to the point that just three grains – wheat, rice and maize – account for 60 percent of food energy consumed globally. At the same time, genetic diversity within each of those grains is narrowing year by year. The local food movement can reverse these trends, because local food promotes diversity: the crops and varieties farmers grow aren't tailored to the standardized needs of giant supermarkets and global traders, but to local soils, climate and cultural preferences. And since grains are such a major component of human diets, they are an important facet of the local food movement.

Take action

  • In the UK, get involved with one of the many organizations promoting local grains:
    • The UK Grain Lab brings together farmers, millers, plant breeders, bakers, cooks, scientists and academics to promote the growing and eating of non-commodity grains.
    • The Heritage Grain Trust believes that British farmers, using heritage seeds, can produce all the grain needed to feed the UK population while improving soil health, increasing biodiversity, and sequestering greenhouse gases.
    • Scotland the Bread is “a collaborative project to grow better grain and bake better bread with the common purposes of nourishment, sustainability and food sovereignty."
    • Grown in Totnes has produced A Toolkit to Inspire Small-scale Production and Processing of Grains and Pulses
  • In the US, connect with one of these regional groups working to diversify and localize the growing of grains:
    • In the Upper Midwest, the Artisan Grain Collaborative is working “to create a diverse regional grainshed built upon regenerative agriculture practices"
    • In the Mountain West, the Colorado Grain Chain is comprised of local businesses and consumers who believe in re-localization of grains.
    • On the East Coast, the Common Grain Alliance is building a regional heirloom grain economy, with more than 30 farmers, millers, and bakers so far. 
  • In India, support the Millet Network of India (MINI), comprised of 50 farmer organizations that believe a revival of millet-based farming and food systems would place control over food, seeds, markets and natural resources in the hands of the poor.
  • Sign up for the innovative Grain School organized by the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (US). The curriculum covers the history and biology of land-race grains, crop breeding, nutritional and health issues, baking and fermentation, and small-scale production techniques.
  • The local grain movement isn't just for producers. Consumers in the US can find local grain and flour in the Upper Midwest with this list, and across the whole US in this map from the Artisan Grain Collaborative.
  • In India, ‘desi’ (native/heirloom) staples including diverse varieties of rice, millet and wheat can be obtained from Sahaja Sumrudha and their shop Sahaja Organics.

    Get inspired

  • Vrihi is the largest folk rice seed bank in eastern India, with over 940 endangered varieties conserved. It is linked to Basudha, a conservation farm that grows all of the varieties each season. Read more in the Local Futures article Saving Our Lives One Seed at a Time.
  • 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.
Buy open-pollinated heirloom seeds for your garden.
Expand Action
Buy open-pollinated heirloom seeds for your garden.

Seeds local to your area will work best with your climate, and we encourage you to seek out small growers, businesses and organizations producing open-pollinated, heirloom, locally-adapted, hardy varieties bred and maintained for small-scale agroecological farming. 

Take action

  • Discover local seed networks and seed suppliers with the following directories, lists and maps: Seed Savers Foundation (Australia), Seed Sovereignty (UK and Ireland), the Organic Seed Alliance (US and Canada), and the Open Source Seed Initiative's seed company partners (worldwide).
  • Red de Guardianes de Semillas in Ecuador offers a wide diversity of local seeds grown in permaculture farms and gardens. Check out their catalog here.
  • In Mexico, Las Cañadas center for agroecology and permaculture offers this catalog of agroecologically grown plants and seeds
  • Vanastree is a women-run seed-saving collective in the Malnad region of Karnataka (India). Their seeds are all organic and open-pollinated.
  • If your country or region isn’t listed here, ask your local gardening club, community gardening organization, permaculture or transition group, or organic nursery, and connect with nearby small-scale, organic, traditional farmers.

Get inspired

  • The Desi Seed Producers Company is a collective of organic seed producers and seed savers in India whose mission is "to bring back the tradition of seed saving amongst us by collecting, propagating, and exchanging indigenous and rare varieties [and to] seek sustainable living and a more self-reliant lifestyle" Their organically grown, open pollinated vegetable and cereal seeds are marketed under the brand name ‘Sahaja Seeds’.

Buy open-pollinated heirloom seeds for your garden.

Seeds local to your area will work best with your climate, and we encourage you to seek out small growers, businesses and organizations producing open-pollinated, heirloom, locally-adapted, hardy varieties bred and maintained for small-scale agroecological farming. 

Take action

  • Discover local seed networks and seed suppliers with the following directories, lists and maps: Seed Savers Foundation (Australia), Seed Sovereignty (UK and Ireland), the Organic Seed Alliance (US and Canada), and the Open Source Seed Initiative's seed company partners (worldwide).
  • Red de Guardianes de Semillas in Ecuador offers a wide diversity of local seeds grown in permaculture farms and gardens. Check out their catalog here.
  • In Mexico, Las Cañadas center for agroecology and permaculture offers this catalog of agroecologically grown plants and seeds
  • Vanastree is a women-run seed-saving collective in the Malnad region of Karnataka (India). Their seeds are all organic and open-pollinated.
  • If your country or region isn’t listed here, ask your local gardening club, community gardening organization, permaculture or transition group, or organic nursery, and connect with nearby small-scale, organic, traditional farmers.

Get inspired

  • The Desi Seed Producers Company is a collective of organic seed producers and seed savers in India whose mission is "to bring back the tradition of seed saving amongst us by collecting, propagating, and exchanging indigenous and rare varieties [and to] seek sustainable living and a more self-reliant lifestyle" Their organically grown, open pollinated vegetable and cereal seeds are marketed under the brand name ‘Sahaja Seeds’.
Save your seeds.
Expand Action
Save your seeds.

If you grow open-pollinated varieties in your garden, you can save your seeds from this season and plant them next year. This enables you to do what traditional farmers have done for millennia: select seeds from plants with desirable traits – especially for an ability to thrive in your particular climate and soils.

Get started

  • The Community Seed Network (US and Canada) has curated an excellent set of seed saving resources, for beginners to experienced seed savers, plus recommended readings.  
  • Seed Sovereignty (UK and Ireland) has assembled an extensive list of guides, books, videos, podcasts and more for all things seed saving.  
  • The Seed Savers’ Exchange (US) has tips for getting started, as well as specific guides for 35 common vegetables and fruits.  

Get inspired

Save your seeds.

If you grow open-pollinated varieties in your garden, you can save your seeds from this season and plant them next year. This enables you to do what traditional farmers have done for millennia: select seeds from plants with desirable traits – especially for an ability to thrive in your particular climate and soils.

Get started

  • The Community Seed Network (US and Canada) has curated an excellent set of seed saving resources, for beginners to experienced seed savers, plus recommended readings.  
  • Seed Sovereignty (UK and Ireland) has assembled an extensive list of guides, books, videos, podcasts and more for all things seed saving.  
  • The Seed Savers’ Exchange (US) has tips for getting started, as well as specific guides for 35 common vegetables and fruits.  

Get inspired

Support local and responsible seafood and fishing communities.
Expand Action
Support local and responsible seafood and fishing communities.

Initiatives to promote local and responsible seafood, including community-supported fisheries – modeled on community-supported agriculture – enable production and consumption of local, responsibly-harvested, small-scale seafood. See the suggestions below to join the boat-to-fork movement.

Take action

  • In North America, find a community-supported fishery and small-scale seafood harvester through Local Catch.
  • Increase your community's awareness of local seafood with Hosting a Slow Fish Workshop, a guide by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance in the US. Plan an event to connect food and community-based fishing communities, learn how to eat with the seasons of the oceans, reduce food waste, and more.
  • If you are a fisher-person, check out the CSF Baitbox: A Fisherman’s Guide to Community Supported Fisheries, from the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.
  • Find responsible seafood options. In India, check out the Know Your Fish campaign. In the UK, support the Sustainable Fish City campaign.
  • Join or support the Fish Locally Collaborative, “a network that connects nearly 400,000+ fishing families around the US, as well as in Canada, Latin America, and Europe ... to align many diverse people and organizations behind community-based fisheries in order to protect marine biodiversity and the overall health of the ocean.”

Get inspired

  • Skipper Otto’s Community-Supported Seafood in British Columbia, Canada, not only provides access to healthy, local, responsibly-harvested seafood, but also supports ecological sustainability by enabling local fishermen to prioritize the long-term health of the marine ecosystems they depend on.
  • Through the TRY Oyster Women's Association in the Gambia, more than 500 women have organized into cooperatives to harvest oysters sustainably while conserving their habitat.

Support local and responsible seafood and fishing communities.

Initiatives to promote local and responsible seafood, including community-supported fisheries – modeled on community-supported agriculture – enable production and consumption of local, responsibly-harvested, small-scale seafood. See the suggestions below to join the boat-to-fork movement.

Take action

  • In North America, find a community-supported fishery and small-scale seafood harvester through Local Catch.
  • Increase your community's awareness of local seafood with Hosting a Slow Fish Workshop, a guide by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance in the US. Plan an event to connect food and community-based fishing communities, learn how to eat with the seasons of the oceans, reduce food waste, and more.
  • If you are a fisher-person, check out the CSF Baitbox: A Fisherman’s Guide to Community Supported Fisheries, from the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.
  • Find responsible seafood options. In India, check out the Know Your Fish campaign. In the UK, support the Sustainable Fish City campaign.
  • Join or support the Fish Locally Collaborative, “a network that connects nearly 400,000+ fishing families around the US, as well as in Canada, Latin America, and Europe ... to align many diverse people and organizations behind community-based fisheries in order to protect marine biodiversity and the overall health of the ocean.”

Get inspired

  • Skipper Otto’s Community-Supported Seafood in British Columbia, Canada, not only provides access to healthy, local, responsibly-harvested seafood, but also supports ecological sustainability by enabling local fishermen to prioritize the long-term health of the marine ecosystems they depend on.
  • Through the TRY Oyster Women's Association in the Gambia, more than 500 women have organized into cooperatives to harvest oysters sustainably while conserving their habitat.
Use passive (non-electric) renewable energy.
Expand Action
Use passive (non-electric) renewable energy.

One strategy being pursued to address the climate crisis has been to shift from fossil fuels to electric power as the energy source for common activities. But electric power has environmental costs, too, even when renewable energy is used to create it. Consider using human power and passive renewable energy instead.

Take action

  • There are many ways to produce hot water using solar energy. Mother Earth News' article How to Build a Passive Solar Water Heater describes five simple, inexpensive heaters for home use. Lowimpact.org's book Solar Hot Water: Choosing, Fitting and Using a System, provides a detailed overview of the topic, whether you choose to build a system yourself or hire a plumber and use off-the-shelf components.
  • Solar Cookers International has been working for decades to design and promote passive solar cooking, especially in the "less developed" parts of the world. They provide solar cooker construction plans for many kinds of cookers, including a portable one made from cardboard and aluminum foil.
  • Preserving food by canning or freezing usually requires fossil-fuel or electrical energy, but there are other ways to preserve food that are just as effective. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has put together a comprehensive overview of preservation methods for various foods. You can also build your own solar fruit dehydrator with these plans from North Dakota State University.
  • Learn about various non-electric tools and techniques for satisfying basic needs from the Atelier Non-Electric in Japan. The text is in Japanese, but many of the design images are self-explanatory.
  • Low-Tech Magazine contains a wealth of thought-provoking articles, from discussions of "obsolete technologies" to the possibilities of low-tech solutions to modern problems: a great way to encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Often the best solutions are the simplest. Rather than use electricity and fossil fuels to dry clothes, hang them on a clothesline. Rather than building fleets of electric-powered vehicles, promote walking and bicycling. Find other ways to satisfy genuine needs without using mechanical, fuel-based or electric means, and rethink technology with the help of No-Tech Magazine.

Get inspired

  • In Can Decreix, a degrowth community outside the French town of Cerbère, the embrace of simple technologies is a joyful way of life. The use of solar ovens and cookers is standard practice, and their many self-designed tools include a pedal-powered washing machine. Website in French and English.
  • Maya Pedal is a Guatemalan nonprofit that turns donated bikes into water pumps, grinders, threshers, tile makers, nut shellers, blenders, trailers and more. They also recondition bikes for their traditional use as transportation. In English or Spanish.

Use passive (non-electric) renewable energy.

One strategy being pursued to address the climate crisis has been to shift from fossil fuels to electric power as the energy source for common activities. But electric power has environmental costs, too, even when renewable energy is used to create it. Consider using human power and passive renewable energy instead.

Take action

  • There are many ways to produce hot water using solar energy. Mother Earth News' article How to Build a Passive Solar Water Heater describes five simple, inexpensive heaters for home use. Lowimpact.org's book Solar Hot Water: Choosing, Fitting and Using a System, provides a detailed overview of the topic, whether you choose to build a system yourself or hire a plumber and use off-the-shelf components.
  • Solar Cookers International has been working for decades to design and promote passive solar cooking, especially in the "less developed" parts of the world. They provide solar cooker construction plans for many kinds of cookers, including a portable one made from cardboard and aluminum foil.
  • Preserving food by canning or freezing usually requires fossil-fuel or electrical energy, but there are other ways to preserve food that are just as effective. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has put together a comprehensive overview of preservation methods for various foods. You can also build your own solar fruit dehydrator with these plans from North Dakota State University.
  • Learn about various non-electric tools and techniques for satisfying basic needs from the Atelier Non-Electric in Japan. The text is in Japanese, but many of the design images are self-explanatory.
  • Low-Tech Magazine contains a wealth of thought-provoking articles, from discussions of "obsolete technologies" to the possibilities of low-tech solutions to modern problems: a great way to encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Often the best solutions are the simplest. Rather than use electricity and fossil fuels to dry clothes, hang them on a clothesline. Rather than building fleets of electric-powered vehicles, promote walking and bicycling. Find other ways to satisfy genuine needs without using mechanical, fuel-based or electric means, and rethink technology with the help of No-Tech Magazine.

Get inspired

  • In Can Decreix, a degrowth community outside the French town of Cerbère, the embrace of simple technologies is a joyful way of life. The use of solar ovens and cookers is standard practice, and their many self-designed tools include a pedal-powered washing machine. Website in French and English.
  • Maya Pedal is a Guatemalan nonprofit that turns donated bikes into water pumps, grinders, threshers, tile makers, nut shellers, blenders, trailers and more. They also recondition bikes for their traditional use as transportation. In English or Spanish.
Practice simple living.
Expand Action
Practice simple living.

The cumulative environmental costs of industrial consumer products – from mine to landfill – are astronomical. One of the best ways to reduce our impact is to step away from the destructive pressures of consumerism by consciously choosing to live with less.

Take Action

  • Learn how to "live more on less" with this action plan from The Simplicity Institute, which has many more materials on simple living and resistance to consumerism.
  • Find non-consumerist ways to celebrate holidays – from Christmas to Passover to birthdays – on NewDream.org.
  • Learn about the benefits of downshifting – breaking the work-and-spend cycle – from LowImpact.org.
  • To fight consumerism and help build a “hyper-local gift economy”, find or start a local group of the Buy Nothing Project. Also check out the book by the project’s founders, The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan.

Get inspired

Practice simple living.

The cumulative environmental costs of industrial consumer products – from mine to landfill – are astronomical. One of the best ways to reduce our impact is to step away from the destructive pressures of consumerism by consciously choosing to live with less.

Take Action

  • Learn how to "live more on less" with this action plan from The Simplicity Institute, which has many more materials on simple living and resistance to consumerism.
  • Find non-consumerist ways to celebrate holidays – from Christmas to Passover to birthdays – on NewDream.org.
  • Learn about the benefits of downshifting – breaking the work-and-spend cycle – from LowImpact.org.
  • To fight consumerism and help build a “hyper-local gift economy”, find or start a local group of the Buy Nothing Project. Also check out the book by the project’s founders, The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan.

Get inspired

Use or start a bike share program.
Expand Action
Use or start a bike share program.

Choosing to use a bicycle rather than a car for personal transportation is good. Making that option possible for many others is even better – and that's what bike share programs aim to do. Most involve a system of self-service stations where users can check out a bike using a membership or credit/debit card. After reaching their destination, they can park the bike in a nearby docking station. Another option is "dockless" systems, with bikes whose rear wheels are locked until a rider uses an app to unlock them. Bike share programs are run by local governments, nonprofits, for-profit companies, or by some combination of the three.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The largest bike share program in the world is in the city of Hangzhou, China, which boasts 175,000 bikes and 2,700 docking stations. Paris is in second place, with 30,000 bikes and 1,600 stations.

Use or start a bike share program.

Choosing to use a bicycle rather than a car for personal transportation is good. Making that option possible for many others is even better – and that's what bike share programs aim to do. Most involve a system of self-service stations where users can check out a bike using a membership or credit/debit card. After reaching their destination, they can park the bike in a nearby docking station. Another option is "dockless" systems, with bikes whose rear wheels are locked until a rider uses an app to unlock them. Bike share programs are run by local governments, nonprofits, for-profit companies, or by some combination of the three.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The largest bike share program in the world is in the city of Hangzhou, China, which boasts 175,000 bikes and 2,700 docking stations. Paris is in second place, with 30,000 bikes and 1,600 stations.
Join the slow movement.
Expand Action
Join the slow movement.

As authors Paul Tranter and Rodney Tolley point out, "A great paradox of modern times is that the faster we go, the less time we have." Not only are we sacrificing our time on the altar of speed brought about by a modern, high-tech, globalized society, but also our personal, collective, social and ecological well-being. Higher speeds demand more energy consumption, produce more pollution, and militate against building human-scale communities. It's time to slow down the pace of life, and there is a budding "slow movement" aiming to do just that. This ranges from slow food to slow money to slow cities and transport. Here we focus on cities and transportation. Quoting Trantner and Tolley again, "More time can be saved by slowing city transport than by speeding it up."

Take action

  • Learn about and join the Citta Slow network, a worldwide organization whose goals include "improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down the overall pace, especially in a city's use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them."
  • Read the Manifesto for 21st Century Slow Cities, and urge your local government to adopt and implement this vision in your town or city.
  • To help both decrease the negative impacts of travel and enrich the experience for traveler and host, practice slow when setting off on your next sojourn. Learn more on the What is Slow Travel page of the Slow Movement website.

Get inspired

  • The Sloth Club in Japan promotes slow businesses, tourism, alternative currencies, and more. In his talk Slow is Beautiful, founder Keibo Oiwa describes how living at a slow pace is an essential part of place-based cultures, and necessary for well-being and happiness in the modern age, too.
  • Citizens of the California city of Berkeley, US, wanted slower streets, and the city's Healthy Streets initiative is providing them. Two miles of streets have been barricaded on one side to reduce traffic and increase access for pedestrians and bicycles. Cars can still use a portion of the street, but can only travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour or less.

Join the slow movement.

As authors Paul Tranter and Rodney Tolley point out, "A great paradox of modern times is that the faster we go, the less time we have." Not only are we sacrificing our time on the altar of speed brought about by a modern, high-tech, globalized society, but also our personal, collective, social and ecological well-being. Higher speeds demand more energy consumption, produce more pollution, and militate against building human-scale communities. It's time to slow down the pace of life, and there is a budding "slow movement" aiming to do just that. This ranges from slow food to slow money to slow cities and transport. Here we focus on cities and transportation. Quoting Trantner and Tolley again, "More time can be saved by slowing city transport than by speeding it up."

Take action

  • Learn about and join the Citta Slow network, a worldwide organization whose goals include "improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down the overall pace, especially in a city's use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them."
  • Read the Manifesto for 21st Century Slow Cities, and urge your local government to adopt and implement this vision in your town or city.
  • To help both decrease the negative impacts of travel and enrich the experience for traveler and host, practice slow when setting off on your next sojourn. Learn more on the What is Slow Travel page of the Slow Movement website.

Get inspired

  • The Sloth Club in Japan promotes slow businesses, tourism, alternative currencies, and more. In his talk Slow is Beautiful, founder Keibo Oiwa describes how living at a slow pace is an essential part of place-based cultures, and necessary for well-being and happiness in the modern age, too.
  • Citizens of the California city of Berkeley, US, wanted slower streets, and the city's Healthy Streets initiative is providing them. Two miles of streets have been barricaded on one side to reduce traffic and increase access for pedestrians and bicycles. Cars can still use a portion of the street, but can only travel at speeds of 15 miles per hour or less.
Start or join a repair café.
Expand Action
Start or join a repair café.

Creating a space for your community to come together and repair objects is not only a great way to keep waste out of the landfill and reduce consumerism, it can also create intergenerational bonding. At Repair Café events, people with specialized skills and knowledge come together to fix almost anything that's broken, from moth-eaten sweaters to smartphones. Originally started in Amsterdam, the concept has now spread around the world.

Take action

  • Find a repair café near you with Repair Café's links to Community groups in the US, Europe, and Australia. There are many other grassroots communities around the world, too. 
  • Start your own local group with Repair Cafe's Repair Café Manual and templates, offered for a modest fee. 

Get inspired

  • Club de Reparadores in Argentina has helped organize more than 30 repair events in Buenos Aires, Río Negro and Córdoba, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • The Bower Reuse and Repair Center in Australia has been in operation since 1998. Their mission is not only to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills by reclaiming household items for repair, reuse and resale, but also to provide affordable goods to low-income earners and to generate local employment.
  • The Restart Project in the UK focuses on electric devices. They run regular Restart Parties where people teach each other how to fix their broken and slow devices – "from tablets to toasters, from iPhones to headphones."

Start or join a repair café.

Creating a space for your community to come together and repair objects is not only a great way to keep waste out of the landfill and reduce consumerism, it can also create intergenerational bonding. At Repair Café events, people with specialized skills and knowledge come together to fix almost anything that's broken, from moth-eaten sweaters to smartphones. Originally started in Amsterdam, the concept has now spread around the world.

Take action

  • Find a repair café near you with Repair Café's links to Community groups in the US, Europe, and Australia. There are many other grassroots communities around the world, too. 
  • Start your own local group with Repair Cafe's Repair Café Manual and templates, offered for a modest fee. 

Get inspired

  • Club de Reparadores in Argentina has helped organize more than 30 repair events in Buenos Aires, Río Negro and Córdoba, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • The Bower Reuse and Repair Center in Australia has been in operation since 1998. Their mission is not only to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills by reclaiming household items for repair, reuse and resale, but also to provide affordable goods to low-income earners and to generate local employment.
  • The Restart Project in the UK focuses on electric devices. They run regular Restart Parties where people teach each other how to fix their broken and slow devices – "from tablets to toasters, from iPhones to headphones."
Start a local business to meet basic needs.
Expand Action
Start a local business to meet basic needs.

There is a desperate need today for livelihoods that provide a sense of purpose and positive contribution, and that build up and sustain local economies and environments.

Take action

  • Transition from a 'deadlihood' to an 'alivelihood' with the help of the article 52 Alivehoods by Manish Jain of Shikshantar and Swaraj University, which includes a list of eco-careers for resilient local economies.
  • Explore the range of skills that will take center stage in a degrowth economy with Upskilling for a Post-Growth Future Together by Donnie Maclurcan of the Post-Growth Institute.
  • Assess how the skills you already have (or want to acquire) can create value for your community, and consider growing these skills into a livelihood or business.
  • Teaching others what you know is a way to pass on these skills and keep them alive in your community.

Get inspired

  • Kerry McCurdy in New Zealand turned a passion for bee-keeping into a thriving business, first as Backyard Honeybees and now as Beezthingz. Among other services, Beezthingz links independent beekeepers with farmers in need of pollinators.
  • Chris Holmgren in the US expanded his woodworking business, Seneca Creek Joinery, into a community-scale production facility that handles all aspects of wood processing, from dead tree removal to finished furniture. He works with the city government and local tree removal companies to ensure that no local wood goes to waste.

Start a local business to meet basic needs.

There is a desperate need today for livelihoods that provide a sense of purpose and positive contribution, and that build up and sustain local economies and environments.

Take action

  • Transition from a 'deadlihood' to an 'alivelihood' with the help of the article 52 Alivehoods by Manish Jain of Shikshantar and Swaraj University, which includes a list of eco-careers for resilient local economies.
  • Explore the range of skills that will take center stage in a degrowth economy with Upskilling for a Post-Growth Future Together by Donnie Maclurcan of the Post-Growth Institute.
  • Assess how the skills you already have (or want to acquire) can create value for your community, and consider growing these skills into a livelihood or business.
  • Teaching others what you know is a way to pass on these skills and keep them alive in your community.

Get inspired

  • Kerry McCurdy in New Zealand turned a passion for bee-keeping into a thriving business, first as Backyard Honeybees and now as Beezthingz. Among other services, Beezthingz links independent beekeepers with farmers in need of pollinators.
  • Chris Holmgren in the US expanded his woodworking business, Seneca Creek Joinery, into a community-scale production facility that handles all aspects of wood processing, from dead tree removal to finished furniture. He works with the city government and local tree removal companies to ensure that no local wood goes to waste.
Learn who’s already working on ideas that you’re passionate about.
Expand Action
Learn who’s already working on ideas that you’re passionate about.

Take action

  • Create an asset map of organizations, initiatives, and individuals with resource relevant to the project you want to take on, or the field you want to work in. This can uncover potential opportunities, gaps in resources, and collaborations with existing programs.
  • Learn more with this guide from UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (US) that is applicable to a broad range of sectors and geographic areas.
  • Organize a #MapJam in your community with this guide from Shareable, to "bring people together to map grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, the commons, and other community resources."

Learn who’s already working on ideas that you’re passionate about.

Take action

  • Create an asset map of organizations, initiatives, and individuals with resource relevant to the project you want to take on, or the field you want to work in. This can uncover potential opportunities, gaps in resources, and collaborations with existing programs.
  • Learn more with this guide from UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (US) that is applicable to a broad range of sectors and geographic areas.
  • Organize a #MapJam in your community with this guide from Shareable, to "bring people together to map grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, the commons, and other community resources."
Publish a map of your community’s shared resources.
Expand Action
Publish a map of your community’s shared resources.

Take action

  • Organize a #MapJam in your community with this guide from Shareable, to "bring people together to map grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, the commons, and other community resources."

Get inspired

  • Smarta Kartan is a digital map of sharing economy initiatives in Gothenburg (Sweden) such as free bike repair centers, makerspaces, solidarity fridges, public fruit trees, and clothing exchanges. 
  • Biodiverseni is a beautiful printed map of biodiversity and cultural assets in Pejeng, Bali (Indonesia), helping local leaders, residents and visitors join together to preserve Pejeng’s culture.
  • Hundreds of mappers in over 80 cities around the world participated in Shareable's #MapJam community mapping initiative to identify and make public grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, community resources, and the commons. Find links to many of these maps here.

Publish a map of your community’s shared resources.

Take action

  • Organize a #MapJam in your community with this guide from Shareable, to "bring people together to map grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, the commons, and other community resources."

Get inspired

  • Smarta Kartan is a digital map of sharing economy initiatives in Gothenburg (Sweden) such as free bike repair centers, makerspaces, solidarity fridges, public fruit trees, and clothing exchanges. 
  • Biodiverseni is a beautiful printed map of biodiversity and cultural assets in Pejeng, Bali (Indonesia), helping local leaders, residents and visitors join together to preserve Pejeng’s culture.
  • Hundreds of mappers in over 80 cities around the world participated in Shareable's #MapJam community mapping initiative to identify and make public grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, community resources, and the commons. Find links to many of these maps here.
Map out organizations and projects already working towards sustainable, local economies in your community.
Expand Action
Map out organizations and projects already working towards sustainable, local economies in your community.

Take action

  • Create a local sustainability map for your community with these tools from Green Map.
  • Make the case for community-led economic relocalization by mapping existing local economy actors and opportunities with the guide How to Do a Local Economic Blueprint from the Transition Network's REconomy Project.

Get inspired

  • SEE-Change Canberra (Australia) has created the Canberra Sustainability Map, a visual directory of hundreds of projects and organizations working in housing, energy, waste management, resources for indigenous communities, conservation, food, the climate crisis, transportation, the economy, and community-building.
  • Green Map NYC (US) hosts numerous maps on everything from composting, sharing and waste reduction, bicycling, and more.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey (US) has created a series of sustainability maps covering everything from community gardens to healthy foods to eco-schools and street trees.

Map out organizations and projects already working towards sustainable, local economies in your community.

Take action

  • Create a local sustainability map for your community with these tools from Green Map.
  • Make the case for community-led economic relocalization by mapping existing local economy actors and opportunities with the guide How to Do a Local Economic Blueprint from the Transition Network's REconomy Project.

Get inspired

  • SEE-Change Canberra (Australia) has created the Canberra Sustainability Map, a visual directory of hundreds of projects and organizations working in housing, energy, waste management, resources for indigenous communities, conservation, food, the climate crisis, transportation, the economy, and community-building.
  • Green Map NYC (US) hosts numerous maps on everything from composting, sharing and waste reduction, bicycling, and more.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey (US) has created a series of sustainability maps covering everything from community gardens to healthy foods to eco-schools and street trees.
Commit to a zero-waste lifestyle.
Expand Action
Commit to a zero-waste lifestyle.

Trying to eliminate waste from your life is one way to reveal just how much unnecessary single-use packaging exists in the corporate food system. It's also a way to see the multiple benefits of buying directly from local artisans, farms, and bulk food stores. You'll find that you're not only reducing waste, you're supporting your local economy and strengthening community at the same time. 

Take action

Commit to a zero-waste lifestyle.

Trying to eliminate waste from your life is one way to reveal just how much unnecessary single-use packaging exists in the corporate food system. It's also a way to see the multiple benefits of buying directly from local artisans, farms, and bulk food stores. You'll find that you're not only reducing waste, you're supporting your local economy and strengthening community at the same time. 

Take action

Swap stuff with others in your community.
Expand Action
Swap stuff with others in your community.

Swapping the goods we already have is an excellent way of side-stepping consumerism and the compulsion to buy new products. Swapping enables us to let go of things we no longer need or want while enabling others to acquire them free of transactional obligations of money, trade or even barter. Get swapping with the resources below.

Take action

Get inspired

Swap stuff with others in your community.

Swapping the goods we already have is an excellent way of side-stepping consumerism and the compulsion to buy new products. Swapping enables us to let go of things we no longer need or want while enabling others to acquire them free of transactional obligations of money, trade or even barter. Get swapping with the resources below.

Take action

Get inspired

Go dumpster diving.
Expand Action
Go dumpster diving.

Dumpster diving is the practice of rescuing perfectly good, edible food that has been thrown out as waste by various food-related establishments (grocery stores, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.), and making it available to those in need, thereby both reducing food waste and hunger. While obviously not a systemic solution, dumpster diving is an excellent way to see first-hand and close-up what needs to change!

Take action

Go dumpster diving.

Dumpster diving is the practice of rescuing perfectly good, edible food that has been thrown out as waste by various food-related establishments (grocery stores, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.), and making it available to those in need, thereby both reducing food waste and hunger. While obviously not a systemic solution, dumpster diving is an excellent way to see first-hand and close-up what needs to change!

Take action

Start or join a local food hub.
Expand Action
Start or join a local food hub.

Food hubs are initiatives that connect farmers with customers by aggregating, processing, distributing and marketing locally-grown foods. They can play a key role in boosting local food systems.

Take action

Get inspired

Start or join a local food hub.

Food hubs are initiatives that connect farmers with customers by aggregating, processing, distributing and marketing locally-grown foods. They can play a key role in boosting local food systems.

Take action

Get inspired

Implement participatory budgeting where you live.
Expand Action
Implement participatory budgeting where you live.

Participatory budgeting is a way for citizens to actively engage in deciding how their tax money is spent. Local residents not only discuss and vote on public investments, they also develop and present ideas. Participatory budgeting has been implemented by more than 2,700 governments and 1,700 cities worldwide.
 

Take Action 

Implement participatory budgeting where you live.

Participatory budgeting is a way for citizens to actively engage in deciding how their tax money is spent. Local residents not only discuss and vote on public investments, they also develop and present ideas. Participatory budgeting has been implemented by more than 2,700 governments and 1,700 cities worldwide.
 

Take Action 

Start or join a local theater group.
Expand Action
Start or join a local theater group.

Community theater is a great way to take back entertainment from corporations like Disney and Netflix, and put it in local hands. It also provides a creative way to illuminate issues important to the community.

Take action

  • The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) provides a step-by-step guide to starting up a local theater company. They also describe the responsibilities and tasks of "theater people" ranging from stage managers and set designers to choreographers.
  • The Community Theater Green Room offers tips from actors, directors and theater crews on props, lighting, and effects – from “cut and paste walls” to “realistic wrinkles” – as well as advice on fundraising, insurance and other matters.
  • For those who want to participate in community theater for the first time, this Beginners Guide to Community Theatre gives useful tips on auditions, rehearsals, performances, and more.

Be inspired

  • Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont, US has been creating politically charged entertainment for more than 50 years. A core group of puppeteers is supplemented by community volunteers of all ages – no experience required.
  • Bibi Bulak, in Timor Leste, was a political theater troupe covering, among other topics, food sovereignty, environmental issues, and poverty. Part of the Arte Moris nonprofit arts school, it produced plays, dramas for community radio stations, and songs to communicate social and environmental messages to mass audiences.

Start or join a local theater group.

Community theater is a great way to take back entertainment from corporations like Disney and Netflix, and put it in local hands. It also provides a creative way to illuminate issues important to the community.

Take action

  • The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) provides a step-by-step guide to starting up a local theater company. They also describe the responsibilities and tasks of "theater people" ranging from stage managers and set designers to choreographers.
  • The Community Theater Green Room offers tips from actors, directors and theater crews on props, lighting, and effects – from “cut and paste walls” to “realistic wrinkles” – as well as advice on fundraising, insurance and other matters.
  • For those who want to participate in community theater for the first time, this Beginners Guide to Community Theatre gives useful tips on auditions, rehearsals, performances, and more.

Be inspired

  • Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont, US has been creating politically charged entertainment for more than 50 years. A core group of puppeteers is supplemented by community volunteers of all ages – no experience required.
  • Bibi Bulak, in Timor Leste, was a political theater troupe covering, among other topics, food sovereignty, environmental issues, and poverty. Part of the Arte Moris nonprofit arts school, it produced plays, dramas for community radio stations, and songs to communicate social and environmental messages to mass audiences.
Join and spread the word about the global movement for localization.
Expand Action
Join and spread the word about the global movement for localization.

Localized economies are created by and for the people who live there. Rather than subscribing to a global monocultural model, localized economies respect local cultures and needs, while allowing for the free exchange of knowledge and ideas across borders. In fact, localization requires international cooperation and collaboration to address global problems like climate change, and to forge agreements to scale back the rapacious power of global corporations and banks. For this reason, a strong, globally networked movement based in international solidarity is needed, somewhat counter-intuitively, to enable localization.

Take action

  • Connect with organizations working on both resisting corporate globalization and rebuilding local economies on our Organizations For change page. 
  • Join a global community such as Local Futures' online network, the  International Alliance for Localization, to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world, share ideas and success stories, and celebrate the sheer number of wonderful initiatives that are flourishing against all odds.
  • Host a community screening and discussion of the Economics of Happiness and other related films.
  • Host a do-it-yourself Economics of Happiness workshop and toolkit, designed by Local Futures for people who want to kick-start effective global-to-local action in their community or within an existing group. During the day-long workshop (approximately 6.5 hours), participants are guided through a reflective process that culminates in the elaboration of a personal Global to Local action plan.
  • If you can’t find the kind of localization-oriented group you’re looking for, consider setting one up. You may be surprised at how many other people in your area are interested!

Get inspired

  • Local Futures' Maps of alternatives page links to many international and regional trans-local networks working towards local, ecological and solidarity economies. Find projects around the world spanning a variety of localization-related initiatives: food, energy, local currencies, tool sharing, solidarity economies, and more.
  • Local Futures' Planet Local, also linked above, is a library of dozens of inspiring grassroots localization projects across the world.

Join and spread the word about the global movement for localization.

Localized economies are created by and for the people who live there. Rather than subscribing to a global monocultural model, localized economies respect local cultures and needs, while allowing for the free exchange of knowledge and ideas across borders. In fact, localization requires international cooperation and collaboration to address global problems like climate change, and to forge agreements to scale back the rapacious power of global corporations and banks. For this reason, a strong, globally networked movement based in international solidarity is needed, somewhat counter-intuitively, to enable localization.

Take action

  • Connect with organizations working on both resisting corporate globalization and rebuilding local economies on our Organizations For change page. 
  • Join a global community such as Local Futures' online network, the  International Alliance for Localization, to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world, share ideas and success stories, and celebrate the sheer number of wonderful initiatives that are flourishing against all odds.
  • Host a community screening and discussion of the Economics of Happiness and other related films.
  • Host a do-it-yourself Economics of Happiness workshop and toolkit, designed by Local Futures for people who want to kick-start effective global-to-local action in their community or within an existing group. During the day-long workshop (approximately 6.5 hours), participants are guided through a reflective process that culminates in the elaboration of a personal Global to Local action plan.
  • If you can’t find the kind of localization-oriented group you’re looking for, consider setting one up. You may be surprised at how many other people in your area are interested!

Get inspired

  • Local Futures' Maps of alternatives page links to many international and regional trans-local networks working towards local, ecological and solidarity economies. Find projects around the world spanning a variety of localization-related initiatives: food, energy, local currencies, tool sharing, solidarity economies, and more.
  • Local Futures' Planet Local, also linked above, is a library of dozens of inspiring grassroots localization projects across the world.
Map out local food systems.
Expand Action
Map out local food systems.

Mapping out small farms, stores, and food access can help members of your community connect with local food suppliers. It can also reveal gaps in local food availability that might represent meaningful projects for community groups, or new business opportunities for farmers and food entrepreneurs.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The community coalition Food in Neighborhoods in Kentucky, US, created the LouFoodGuide, a spreadsheet of local farms and food pantries that others can use as a template.
  • 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.

Map out local food systems.

Mapping out small farms, stores, and food access can help members of your community connect with local food suppliers. It can also reveal gaps in local food availability that might represent meaningful projects for community groups, or new business opportunities for farmers and food entrepreneurs.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The community coalition Food in Neighborhoods in Kentucky, US, created the LouFoodGuide, a spreadsheet of local farms and food pantries that others can use as a template.
  • 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.
Connect with your neighbors and others through meaningful dialogue.
Expand Action
Connect with your neighbors and others through meaningful dialogue.

Modern life – especially in industrialized settings – can feel alienating, lonely and disconnected, especially during extraordinary times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Meaningful dialogue can help heal isolation as well as bridge divides, creating connection that forms the cornerstone of community and civic engagement.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The New York City public library in the US facilitates and hosts community conversations, creating "a truly democratic space where we can connect together through meaningful dialogue."
  • In How I'm Finding Purpose and Connection in a Pandemic, Aanchal Dhar writes about finding purpose and connection during the Covid-19 pandemic through various facilitated community conversations.

Connect with your neighbors and others through meaningful dialogue.

Modern life – especially in industrialized settings – can feel alienating, lonely and disconnected, especially during extraordinary times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Meaningful dialogue can help heal isolation as well as bridge divides, creating connection that forms the cornerstone of community and civic engagement.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The New York City public library in the US facilitates and hosts community conversations, creating "a truly democratic space where we can connect together through meaningful dialogue."
  • In How I'm Finding Purpose and Connection in a Pandemic, Aanchal Dhar writes about finding purpose and connection during the Covid-19 pandemic through various facilitated community conversations.
Choose your news sources.
Expand Action
Choose your news sources.

In-depth, critical news coverage about corporate power is getting harder to find, as is news about the multitude of inspiring local initiatives emerging all over the world. Non-profit, public-interest news organizations and media outlets help fill this gap and play an indispensable role in generating an informed and engaged citizenry.

Take action

  • Find news sources that provide reasoned, fact-based critiques of the global economy, and real-life stories of positive change, with Local Futures' list of Independent Media Sources.
  • Find a community radio station near you with Wikipedia's lists of community radio stations in the US, Canada, and the UK, and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's page Find a Station.
  • Find local and regional newspapers in any country using Online Newspapers' directory of newspapers.

Choose your news sources.

In-depth, critical news coverage about corporate power is getting harder to find, as is news about the multitude of inspiring local initiatives emerging all over the world. Non-profit, public-interest news organizations and media outlets help fill this gap and play an indispensable role in generating an informed and engaged citizenry.

Take action

  • Find news sources that provide reasoned, fact-based critiques of the global economy, and real-life stories of positive change, with Local Futures' list of Independent Media Sources.
  • Find a community radio station near you with Wikipedia's lists of community radio stations in the US, Canada, and the UK, and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's page Find a Station.
  • Find local and regional newspapers in any country using Online Newspapers' directory of newspapers.
Use wood as an energy source.
Expand Action
Use wood as an energy source.

While cutting down forests to feed wood-fired power plants is a bad idea, there are simpler and more sustainable uses of wood as a fuel. In places where wood is abundant, for example, a single woodstove can simultaneously heat your home, cook your food, and heat the water to clean up afterwards. Using wood as a fuel also creates many local jobs. Woodstoves aren’t appropriate for dense urban areas where the air is already burdened with other pollution, or where the fuel must be delivered from long distances. The article The Argument in Favor of Wood Heating, from woodheat.org, sums up the pros and cons.

Take action

  • Learn how to make rocket stoves for various applications – from space heating and cooking to water heating – with the Permies.com Energy forums and with Lowimpact.org's article Rocket stoves and mass heaters: introduction.
  • Many cultures have evolved sustainable methods of harvesting wood, including coppicing and pollarding, which involve periodically cutting trees and other woody plants back, after which the roots and branches send out multiple new stems that grow quickly. This allows wood from the tree to be “harvested” every few years, providing a sustainable and local source of renewable fuel. 

Get inspired

  • To learn more about the history of coppicing, pollarding, and other techniques – some of which have been used since the Stone Age – check out Low-Tech Magazine's article How to Make Biomass Energy Sustainable Again.

Use wood as an energy source.

While cutting down forests to feed wood-fired power plants is a bad idea, there are simpler and more sustainable uses of wood as a fuel. In places where wood is abundant, for example, a single woodstove can simultaneously heat your home, cook your food, and heat the water to clean up afterwards. Using wood as a fuel also creates many local jobs. Woodstoves aren’t appropriate for dense urban areas where the air is already burdened with other pollution, or where the fuel must be delivered from long distances. The article The Argument in Favor of Wood Heating, from woodheat.org, sums up the pros and cons.

Take action

  • Learn how to make rocket stoves for various applications – from space heating and cooking to water heating – with the Permies.com Energy forums and with Lowimpact.org's article Rocket stoves and mass heaters: introduction.
  • Many cultures have evolved sustainable methods of harvesting wood, including coppicing and pollarding, which involve periodically cutting trees and other woody plants back, after which the roots and branches send out multiple new stems that grow quickly. This allows wood from the tree to be “harvested” every few years, providing a sustainable and local source of renewable fuel. 

Get inspired

  • To learn more about the history of coppicing, pollarding, and other techniques – some of which have been used since the Stone Age – check out Low-Tech Magazine's article How to Make Biomass Energy Sustainable Again.
Build a biogas digester.
Expand Action
Build a biogas digester.

Throughout the global South, millions of rural people cannot afford fossil fuels for cooking, and there is very little wood available. One result is that in India alone, an estimated 750 million tons of another biofuel – cow dung – is burned annually for cooking or heating. An alternative is to use a biogas digester to turn the dung into methane, similar to natural gas, which is then tapped and piped to the kitchen for cooking. Biogas digesters reduce air pollution, and leave behind solids that can be used as a fertilizer.

Take action

  • Lowimpact.org's article Biogas: introduction offers a detailed discussion of the theory and practice of biogas digesters, as well as links to videos by people who have built their own.
  • The Pakistan-based site DoScience's article Design, Construction, and Installation of Biogas Plant has instructions for building biogas digesters in English and Urdu.  
  • The appropriate technology site Appropedia's article Home Biogas System has detailed plans for a biodigester design used in the Philippines.

Get inspired

  • The humanitarian aid organization Anera has designed and built a biogas digester for a West Bank Bedouin community in Palestine. Most cooking there was done on open fires, which is both expensive and unhealthy. Since most people in the community raise animals, a biogas digester to provide cooking fuel was a logical solution. Read more on the Anera website.

Build a biogas digester.

Throughout the global South, millions of rural people cannot afford fossil fuels for cooking, and there is very little wood available. One result is that in India alone, an estimated 750 million tons of another biofuel – cow dung – is burned annually for cooking or heating. An alternative is to use a biogas digester to turn the dung into methane, similar to natural gas, which is then tapped and piped to the kitchen for cooking. Biogas digesters reduce air pollution, and leave behind solids that can be used as a fertilizer.

Take action

  • Lowimpact.org's article Biogas: introduction offers a detailed discussion of the theory and practice of biogas digesters, as well as links to videos by people who have built their own.
  • The Pakistan-based site DoScience's article Design, Construction, and Installation of Biogas Plant has instructions for building biogas digesters in English and Urdu.  
  • The appropriate technology site Appropedia's article Home Biogas System has detailed plans for a biodigester design used in the Philippines.

Get inspired

  • The humanitarian aid organization Anera has designed and built a biogas digester for a West Bank Bedouin community in Palestine. Most cooking there was done on open fires, which is both expensive and unhealthy. Since most people in the community raise animals, a biogas digester to provide cooking fuel was a logical solution. Read more on the Anera website.
Start or join a community choir.
Expand Action
Start or join a community choir.

We all have voices, and we can all sing. Singing with others is not only fun, it strengthens our connections to others and builds community at the same time.

Take action

  • The organizers of a community choir in Jamestown, Rhode Island, US provide answers to the most common questions about starting a local chorus. They provide further details in this follow-up.
  • The UK-based NGO The Big Big Sing offers a wealth of resources for community singing groups, including start-up guides for different kinds of choirs, a songbook with sheet music and audio, and an interactive way to connect with one of more than 3,500 existing choirs in the UK.
  • This 10-step guide is for setting up an “all-grrl” a cappella group.

Be inspired

Start or join a community choir.

We all have voices, and we can all sing. Singing with others is not only fun, it strengthens our connections to others and builds community at the same time.

Take action

  • The organizers of a community choir in Jamestown, Rhode Island, US provide answers to the most common questions about starting a local chorus. They provide further details in this follow-up.
  • The UK-based NGO The Big Big Sing offers a wealth of resources for community singing groups, including start-up guides for different kinds of choirs, a songbook with sheet music and audio, and an interactive way to connect with one of more than 3,500 existing choirs in the UK.
  • This 10-step guide is for setting up an “all-grrl” a cappella group.

Be inspired

Lower your home energy use.
Expand Action
Lower your home energy use.

Reduce the amount of energy required to meet the same ends through energy conservation and avoidance.

Take action

  • The Centre for Appropriate Technology has tips for energy saving at home.
  • Unplug electric-powered devices that are not in use. Many of these – from coffee makers to computers – draw power even when they are "off". The NRDC report Home Idle Load gives hard numbers about phantom energy, and suggests ways to reduce it through changes in both individual behavior and public policy. Note: this kind of action does not address the energy and resource costs entailed in manufacturing and using these devices.
  • Purchase an inexpensive plug-in monitor to become aware of your electricity usage and find out where you can make the biggest reductions. Many tool-lending libraries will lend you one of these devices for free.
  • Lowimpact.org shows not only how we can save energy, but also discusses how society can prevent energy efficiency gains from being captured by increased total consumption.
  • The downloadable 80-page booklet Home Energy Projects was written for residents of the southern US state of Alabama, but those in other climates will still find useful information and instructions on insulating, weatherstripping, ductwork, ventilation and more.
  • Build It Solar's Renewable Energy Site for Do-It-Yourselfers has links to a wide range of energy conservation ideas that go well beyond the usual – like making your own indoor storm windows and insulating curtains, and how to recover heat from drain water.

Get inspired

Lower your home energy use.

Reduce the amount of energy required to meet the same ends through energy conservation and avoidance.

Take action

  • The Centre for Appropriate Technology has tips for energy saving at home.
  • Unplug electric-powered devices that are not in use. Many of these – from coffee makers to computers – draw power even when they are "off". The NRDC report Home Idle Load gives hard numbers about phantom energy, and suggests ways to reduce it through changes in both individual behavior and public policy. Note: this kind of action does not address the energy and resource costs entailed in manufacturing and using these devices.
  • Purchase an inexpensive plug-in monitor to become aware of your electricity usage and find out where you can make the biggest reductions. Many tool-lending libraries will lend you one of these devices for free.
  • Lowimpact.org shows not only how we can save energy, but also discusses how society can prevent energy efficiency gains from being captured by increased total consumption.
  • The downloadable 80-page booklet Home Energy Projects was written for residents of the southern US state of Alabama, but those in other climates will still find useful information and instructions on insulating, weatherstripping, ductwork, ventilation and more.
  • Build It Solar's Renewable Energy Site for Do-It-Yourselfers has links to a wide range of energy conservation ideas that go well beyond the usual – like making your own indoor storm windows and insulating curtains, and how to recover heat from drain water.

Get inspired

Stage a puppet show.
Expand Action
Stage a puppet show.

Puppet shows have a long and rich history in many cultures. Although puppet shows are always powerfully appealing to children, the right content can make them both entertaining and thought-provoking for adults as well.

Take action

  • This step-by-step guide, How to do Effective Puppet Shows, is a good starting place, providing tips on characters, plot, staging, logistics and more.
  • The website Puppet Building World offers detailed instructions and patterns for making various kinds of puppets, from hand puppets to arm-and-rod puppets, as well as instructions for making puppet stages.
  • Not all puppet shows are meant for a small stage. Bread & Puppet Theater has been using large-scale puppets in street parades, political demonstrations, and their own "circuses" and "pageants" for more than 50 years. Their book 68 ways to make really big puppets shows how it's done.

Be inspired

  • Modern Times Theater has been performing Punch and Judy puppet shows to overflow crowds in Vermont (USA) since 2007. Their shows combine humor, action and music in a way that engages children and adults alike. They also run workshops to teach puppetry to "participants from 7 to 107 years old."

Stage a puppet show.

Puppet shows have a long and rich history in many cultures. Although puppet shows are always powerfully appealing to children, the right content can make them both entertaining and thought-provoking for adults as well.

Take action

  • This step-by-step guide, How to do Effective Puppet Shows, is a good starting place, providing tips on characters, plot, staging, logistics and more.
  • The website Puppet Building World offers detailed instructions and patterns for making various kinds of puppets, from hand puppets to arm-and-rod puppets, as well as instructions for making puppet stages.
  • Not all puppet shows are meant for a small stage. Bread & Puppet Theater has been using large-scale puppets in street parades, political demonstrations, and their own "circuses" and "pageants" for more than 50 years. Their book 68 ways to make really big puppets shows how it's done.

Be inspired

  • Modern Times Theater has been performing Punch and Judy puppet shows to overflow crowds in Vermont (USA) since 2007. Their shows combine humor, action and music in a way that engages children and adults alike. They also run workshops to teach puppetry to "participants from 7 to 107 years old."
Reconnect to end loneliness and build community.
Expand Action
Reconnect to end loneliness and build community.

Because the global economic system promotes and depends upon competition, individualism, and separation, it has created what is being increasingly recognized as an epidemic of loneliness. In the long run, putting an end to this epidemic will require shifting from a growth- and consumption-obsessed global economic system to a plurality of local, sufficiency-based economies. In the meantime, connecting with others can both relieve the sense of loneliness we feel, while also helping to bring about systemic cultural and economic shifts.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Check out Shareable's e-book Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic, which is brimming with strategies, projects, policies and inspiring examples from around the world showing how building community is the antidote to loneliness.

Reconnect to end loneliness and build community.

Because the global economic system promotes and depends upon competition, individualism, and separation, it has created what is being increasingly recognized as an epidemic of loneliness. In the long run, putting an end to this epidemic will require shifting from a growth- and consumption-obsessed global economic system to a plurality of local, sufficiency-based economies. In the meantime, connecting with others can both relieve the sense of loneliness we feel, while also helping to bring about systemic cultural and economic shifts.

Take action

Get inspired

  • Check out Shareable's e-book Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic, which is brimming with strategies, projects, policies and inspiring examples from around the world showing how building community is the antidote to loneliness.
Learn to make appropriate technologies and traditional crafts.
Expand Action
Learn to make appropriate technologies and traditional crafts.

In a world increasingly saturated with mass-produced, high-tech, energy-intensive gadgets and machines, the knowledge and skills needed to meet our needs with simpler, manually-powered tools and crafts is rapidly disappearing. Fortunately, many people and institutions are working to remedy this problem through various learning programs. Many such training opportunities exist around the world, but some ideas to get started are listed below.

Get started

  • The Berea College Student Craft program (Kentucky, US) offers a tuition-free education in traditional crafts. Learn more in the article At Berea College, Students Craft a Bright Future, Tuition-Free from The Craftsmanship Initiative.
  • The Wendell Berry Farming Program at Sterling College (Kentucky and Vermont, US) offers a tuition-free farming curriculum focused on ecological agriculture and forestry using draft animals and other appropriately scaled mixed power systems.
  • The Building Craft Program of the Prince's Foundation (UK), seeks to "preserve the wisdom and knowledge that embodies many of the traditional building skills."
  • The short courses offered by the Centre for Alternative Technology (Wales) and workshops run by the Low Technology Institute teach various practical appropriate technologies and sustainable solutions.
  • Training courses by L'Atelier Paysan (France) aim to reclaim and create skills and tools for self-sufficient small-scale ecological farming systems.
  • Learn everything from compost toilet making to soap making to weaving with Lowimpact.org's online courses.

Get inspired

Learn to make appropriate technologies and traditional crafts.

In a world increasingly saturated with mass-produced, high-tech, energy-intensive gadgets and machines, the knowledge and skills needed to meet our needs with simpler, manually-powered tools and crafts is rapidly disappearing. Fortunately, many people and institutions are working to remedy this problem through various learning programs. Many such training opportunities exist around the world, but some ideas to get started are listed below.

Get started

  • The Berea College Student Craft program (Kentucky, US) offers a tuition-free education in traditional crafts. Learn more in the article At Berea College, Students Craft a Bright Future, Tuition-Free from The Craftsmanship Initiative.
  • The Wendell Berry Farming Program at Sterling College (Kentucky and Vermont, US) offers a tuition-free farming curriculum focused on ecological agriculture and forestry using draft animals and other appropriately scaled mixed power systems.
  • The Building Craft Program of the Prince's Foundation (UK), seeks to "preserve the wisdom and knowledge that embodies many of the traditional building skills."
  • The short courses offered by the Centre for Alternative Technology (Wales) and workshops run by the Low Technology Institute teach various practical appropriate technologies and sustainable solutions.
  • Training courses by L'Atelier Paysan (France) aim to reclaim and create skills and tools for self-sufficient small-scale ecological farming systems.
  • Learn everything from compost toilet making to soap making to weaving with Lowimpact.org's online courses.

Get inspired

Start a lawn sharing program.
Expand Action
Start a lawn sharing program.

Many people have a lawn and would love to see food grown on it, but don't have the time or expertise. Other people are itching to get their hands in the soil, but don't have or can't afford their own land. Enter yard sharing programs – connecting these two groups and enabling more food gardens to flourish.

Take action

  • If you have an unused lawn, invite neighbors without land to grow food on yours.
  • If you don't have land, offer to create and maintain a garden in a neighbor's yard.
  • Check out Shared Earth (US), an online platform that "connects people who have land, with people who want to garden or farm", as well as Farm My Yard (US) offering similar resources and ideas.
  • Build a lawn-sharing system for your whole community using Utah Yard Share's toolkit Share a Yard as a model.

Get inspired

  • Liberating Lawns in Toronto, Canada connects Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) young farmers with landowners.
  • Farm it Forward in Sydney, Australia connects urban and suburban landowners with young people interested in farming. The landowner gets a weekly box of fresh produce, and the young gardeners gain valuable growing experience and a stipend. All excess produce is sold locally, and all funds are dedicated to continue employing young people to grow food.
  • The nonprofit Fleet Farming, in Orlando, US converts the lawns of private homes into market gardens. Volunteers maintain the garden and share the harvest between homeowners and low-income farmers markets.
  • The Back-Farms program in Salt Lake City, US "connects volunteer Garden Apprentices with senior citizens to build, cultivate, and maintain organic gardens in their backyards, providing a hands-on educational experience, connections, and fresh, local produce to all participants."

Start a lawn sharing program.

Many people have a lawn and would love to see food grown on it, but don't have the time or expertise. Other people are itching to get their hands in the soil, but don't have or can't afford their own land. Enter yard sharing programs – connecting these two groups and enabling more food gardens to flourish.

Take action

  • If you have an unused lawn, invite neighbors without land to grow food on yours.
  • If you don't have land, offer to create and maintain a garden in a neighbor's yard.
  • Check out Shared Earth (US), an online platform that "connects people who have land, with people who want to garden or farm", as well as Farm My Yard (US) offering similar resources and ideas.
  • Build a lawn-sharing system for your whole community using Utah Yard Share's toolkit Share a Yard as a model.

Get inspired

  • Liberating Lawns in Toronto, Canada connects Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) young farmers with landowners.
  • Farm it Forward in Sydney, Australia connects urban and suburban landowners with young people interested in farming. The landowner gets a weekly box of fresh produce, and the young gardeners gain valuable growing experience and a stipend. All excess produce is sold locally, and all funds are dedicated to continue employing young people to grow food.
  • The nonprofit Fleet Farming, in Orlando, US converts the lawns of private homes into market gardens. Volunteers maintain the garden and share the harvest between homeowners and low-income farmers markets.
  • The Back-Farms program in Salt Lake City, US "connects volunteer Garden Apprentices with senior citizens to build, cultivate, and maintain organic gardens in their backyards, providing a hands-on educational experience, connections, and fresh, local produce to all participants."
Start or join an ecovillage.
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Start or join an ecovillage.

Ecovillages are rural or urban communities that are, according to the Global Ecovillage Network, "consciously designed through locally owned, participatory processes in all four dimensions of sustainability (social, culture, ecology and economy) to regenerate their social and natural environments." Many traditional villages and new planned communities alike identify with the ecovillage movement. By building localized alternatives communally, ecovillages tackle both social isolation and the ecological crisis simultaneously, providing members with a sense of belonging and positive purpose.

Take action

  • Visit the website of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), the hub for the worldwide ecovillage movement:
    • Find, connect with, and visit an ecovillage through GEN's Map of ecovillages.
    • Start an ecovillage with the resources on GEN's Frequently Asked Questions page (scroll down to "How can I start my own ecovillage?")
    • Learn about the various aspects of ecovillage planning, design, practice and more with GEN's Online courses.

Get inspired

  • Read descriptions of the hundreds of ecovillages comprising the Global Ecovillage Network on their Ecovillage Projects page.
  • Pejeng Village, which lies in a region of Bali, Indonesia beset by mass tourism and overdevelopment, has dedicated itself to achieving water, food, energy, and economic sovereignty.
  • Qiandao Ecovillage, China, combines Taoist and Buddhist philosophy with natural farming practices and a zero-waste lifestyle. The village produces its own toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and fertilizer, in addition to growing its own food and getting drinking water from a fresh spring. And residents have a lot of leisure time, too, participating in community singing, dancing, calligraphy, and more.

Start or join an ecovillage.

Ecovillages are rural or urban communities that are, according to the Global Ecovillage Network, "consciously designed through locally owned, participatory processes in all four dimensions of sustainability (social, culture, ecology and economy) to regenerate their social and natural environments." Many traditional villages and new planned communities alike identify with the ecovillage movement. By building localized alternatives communally, ecovillages tackle both social isolation and the ecological crisis simultaneously, providing members with a sense of belonging and positive purpose.

Take action

  • Visit the website of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), the hub for the worldwide ecovillage movement:
    • Find, connect with, and visit an ecovillage through GEN's Map of ecovillages.
    • Start an ecovillage with the resources on GEN's Frequently Asked Questions page (scroll down to "How can I start my own ecovillage?")
    • Learn about the various aspects of ecovillage planning, design, practice and more with GEN's Online courses.

Get inspired

  • Read descriptions of the hundreds of ecovillages comprising the Global Ecovillage Network on their Ecovillage Projects page.
  • Pejeng Village, which lies in a region of Bali, Indonesia beset by mass tourism and overdevelopment, has dedicated itself to achieving water, food, energy, and economic sovereignty.
  • Qiandao Ecovillage, China, combines Taoist and Buddhist philosophy with natural farming practices and a zero-waste lifestyle. The village produces its own toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and fertilizer, in addition to growing its own food and getting drinking water from a fresh spring. And residents have a lot of leisure time, too, participating in community singing, dancing, calligraphy, and more.
Build a composting toilet.
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Build a composting toilet.

In many cultures and for many generations, human "night soil" was composted and returned to the fields on which food was grown. Modern sewage treatment facilities break that loop, using significant amounts of energy while depriving soils of much-needed nutrients. Composting toilets are a solution to these problems, though they are mainly appropriate in rural areas. Designs can range from very simple and inexpensive toilets that anyone can build, to manufactured models with off-the-shelf components.

Take action

Get inspired

  • In Ladakh, India, the ancient dry composting toilet, called the dechot, has been safely and successfully recycling valuable human waste into local soil fertility while protecting scarce water for centuries - a truly sustainable technology! This system is not a relic of the past, but a beacon of hope for the future; see Tanya Dubey's article This ingenious toilet system in Ladakh could help India reach complete sanitation by 2022.
  • Kenya is a country where 41% of the population lacks access to basic water services and 71% lack sanitary services. Kenya Connect is working to improve this situation by constructing composting toilets, with the first at two primary schools. The compost will be used on nearby gardens and trees.
  • Compost toilets are catching on in more industrialized settings too. Read about rise of the no-flush movement in the UK by Emine Saner, and about applications in the US in What We Waste When We Flush the Toilet, by Deb Habib and Ricky Baruch.

Build a composting toilet.

In many cultures and for many generations, human "night soil" was composted and returned to the fields on which food was grown. Modern sewage treatment facilities break that loop, using significant amounts of energy while depriving soils of much-needed nutrients. Composting toilets are a solution to these problems, though they are mainly appropriate in rural areas. Designs can range from very simple and inexpensive toilets that anyone can build, to manufactured models with off-the-shelf components.

Take action

Get inspired

  • In Ladakh, India, the ancient dry composting toilet, called the dechot, has been safely and successfully recycling valuable human waste into local soil fertility while protecting scarce water for centuries - a truly sustainable technology! This system is not a relic of the past, but a beacon of hope for the future; see Tanya Dubey's article This ingenious toilet system in Ladakh could help India reach complete sanitation by 2022.
  • Kenya is a country where 41% of the population lacks access to basic water services and 71% lack sanitary services. Kenya Connect is working to improve this situation by constructing composting toilets, with the first at two primary schools. The compost will be used on nearby gardens and trees.
  • Compost toilets are catching on in more industrialized settings too. Read about rise of the no-flush movement in the UK by Emine Saner, and about applications in the US in What We Waste When We Flush the Toilet, by Deb Habib and Ricky Baruch.
Address eco-anxiety, despair and grief through reconnection.
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Address eco-anxiety, despair and grief through reconnection.

Anxiety, despair and grief about the state of the world – in particular the ecological crisis – are completely sensible, and sensitive, signs of compassion and empathy for our beleaguered planet. Yet, these feelings can also become overwhelming, to the point of inducing burnout, paralysis and withdrawal rather than engagement. Here we share some resources for helping to acknowledge and work through our anxiety and grief by reconnecting and re-engaging.

Take action

Address eco-anxiety, despair and grief through reconnection.

Anxiety, despair and grief about the state of the world – in particular the ecological crisis – are completely sensible, and sensitive, signs of compassion and empathy for our beleaguered planet. Yet, these feelings can also become overwhelming, to the point of inducing burnout, paralysis and withdrawal rather than engagement. Here we share some resources for helping to acknowledge and work through our anxiety and grief by reconnecting and re-engaging.

Take action

Policy action: Advocate for energy democracy.
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Policy action: Advocate for energy democracy.

Energy democracy refers to the movement to bring the energy system under local control as a public good rather than an instrument for corporate profit. As the policy think tank Demos defines it, energy democracy involves seeing energy as "a resource to be created and owned by those who utilize it, in the service of healthy, sustainable living and environmental protection." This section links to resources and examples to help you democratize the energy system in your community.

Take action

Get inspired

  • New Energy Economy in New Mexico, US takes a multi-pronged approach to energy sovereignty including campaigning against fossil fuels, advocating for renewable energy policies, and installing community energy systems throughout the state. 
  • The members of Unión de Cooperativas Tosepan in Cuetzalan, Mexico have rejected big energy projects like hydroelectric dams and high-voltage transmission lines in favor of home-scale electricity systems. 
  • Residents of Hamburg, Germany decided in a 2013 campaign called Our Hamburg, Our Grid that their local electric utility should be run as a public service, rather than as a source of corporate profits. In an historic referendum, they voted to reclaim local control and ownership of their power system from the Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall, enabling the City to undertake a more ambitious transition towards local renewable energy.
  • See many more inspiring examples in the Local Energy section of Local Futures' Planet Local library of alternatives.

Policy action: Advocate for energy democracy.

Energy democracy refers to the movement to bring the energy system under local control as a public good rather than an instrument for corporate profit. As the policy think tank Demos defines it, energy democracy involves seeing energy as "a resource to be created and owned by those who utilize it, in the service of healthy, sustainable living and environmental protection." This section links to resources and examples to help you democratize the energy system in your community.

Take action

Get inspired

  • New Energy Economy in New Mexico, US takes a multi-pronged approach to energy sovereignty including campaigning against fossil fuels, advocating for renewable energy policies, and installing community energy systems throughout the state. 
  • The members of Unión de Cooperativas Tosepan in Cuetzalan, Mexico have rejected big energy projects like hydroelectric dams and high-voltage transmission lines in favor of home-scale electricity systems. 
  • Residents of Hamburg, Germany decided in a 2013 campaign called Our Hamburg, Our Grid that their local electric utility should be run as a public service, rather than as a source of corporate profits. In an historic referendum, they voted to reclaim local control and ownership of their power system from the Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall, enabling the City to undertake a more ambitious transition towards local renewable energy.
  • See many more inspiring examples in the Local Energy section of Local Futures' Planet Local library of alternatives.
Policy action: Support land reform.
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Policy action: Support land reform.

Land reform is a global movement to reverse the growing inequality of land ownership that concentrates more and more land into fewer hands, depriving millions of people of the ability to secure livelihoods as small-scale farmers. Land reform efforts aim to equitably distribute land in all countries to enable and support small-scale peasant farmers, such as those demanded by the international peasant’s movement, La Via Campesina.

Take action

  • Explore the various toolkits to support land reform for agroecological farming and small-holders' livelihood security put together by the International Land Coalition, covering everything from diverse land tenure strategies, to indigenous peoples' and community land rights, to effective actions against land grabbing.
  • Support the No Land, No Life! campaign of Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific, in solidarity with peasant struggles for land rights and against land grabbing and corporate land consolidation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In Europe, get involved with the Access to Land network of grassroots organizations securing land for agroecological farming. See examples of good practices from across the continent, and find and join a member organization here.
  • Join La Via Campesina, the international peasants' movement, and support campaigns in many countries pursuing equitable land reform for advancing food sovereignty.

Policy action: Support land reform.

Land reform is a global movement to reverse the growing inequality of land ownership that concentrates more and more land into fewer hands, depriving millions of people of the ability to secure livelihoods as small-scale farmers. Land reform efforts aim to equitably distribute land in all countries to enable and support small-scale peasant farmers, such as those demanded by the international peasant’s movement, La Via Campesina.

Take action

  • Explore the various toolkits to support land reform for agroecological farming and small-holders' livelihood security put together by the International Land Coalition, covering everything from diverse land tenure strategies, to indigenous peoples' and community land rights, to effective actions against land grabbing.
  • Support the No Land, No Life! campaign of Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific, in solidarity with peasant struggles for land rights and against land grabbing and corporate land consolidation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In Europe, get involved with the Access to Land network of grassroots organizations securing land for agroecological farming. See examples of good practices from across the continent, and find and join a member organization here.
  • Join La Via Campesina, the international peasants' movement, and support campaigns in many countries pursuing equitable land reform for advancing food sovereignty.
Policy action: Resist corporate power.
Expand Action
Policy action: Resist corporate power.

Giant corporations continue to amass power and wealth, further undermining community sovereignty and character, exploiting workers and the environment, and driving inequality to obscene levels. To build sustainable, equitable and just local economies, we must tackle corporate power head-on.

Take action

Policy action: Resist corporate power.

Giant corporations continue to amass power and wealth, further undermining community sovereignty and character, exploiting workers and the environment, and driving inequality to obscene levels. To build sustainable, equitable and just local economies, we must tackle corporate power head-on.

Take action