Planet Local Examples
Australia, Food Swapping and The Fitzroy Urban Harvest:
Although 89% of Australians live in cities or towns rather than on farmlands, Australia’s typical huge suburban house lots have enabled a tradition of home-grown produce. And over time, even in the high-density living of the inner-cities, more and more people have taken to growing at least some of their food at home. Australia is not only one of the most urbanized nations on earth, it is also one of the most multi-cultural, so home-produced food is richly diverse and often meant to be shared.
Perhaps with that background it is no surprise that Australians have been at the forefront of the Food Swap movement, where sharing becomes rather more formalized as groups of locals come together by arrangement to exchange excess produce. The Fitzroy Urban Harvest is one inspiring example. Read more
Canada, Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery:
Skipper Otto’s, based in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), has taken the popular Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model and applied it to the realm of seafood.
Members of the “Community Supported Fishery”, or CSF, buy shares and receive installments of local, sustainably-caught seafood throughout the fishing season. The economic, environmental and social benefits of providing such a direct connection between fishermen and consumers are profound. Read more
China, Little Donkey Farm:
Little Donkey is a diversified organic farm and the first community supported agriculture (CSA) farm in China. Located in a village just northwest of Beijing, Little Donkey Farm’s CSA has hundreds of members, while several hundred more families rent small plots of land from the farm on which to plant their own gardens.
The government agenda in the region has been to convince people to leave their villages and farms for work in cities and factories. Little Donkey is moving against the tide by emphasizing the importance of sustainable agriculture, and of holding on to traditional farming knowledge. Read more
Guatemala, Ixpiyakok Women’s Association:
Founded in 1984, the Ixpiyakok Women’s Association (ADEMI) is a local food organization run by and for women and families in Guatemala’s Chimaltenango region. ADEMI originally comprised a group of Mayan widows who wished to combat malnutrition in their community, after discovering that 16 out of 20 indigenous Guatemalan women were malnourished. Read more
From Honduras and the US to India and Australia, Food and Culture:
In communities across the globe, people are finding that pride in their culture and control of their food go hand in hand. Food and farming play a key role in the localization process, and resisting the influence of the global monoculture can happen, quite literally, from the ground up.
In Honduras, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) has spent decades fighting for the rights of the Garifuna people, who emerged from a history of colonialism with the knowledge that small-scale farming and fishing can bring liberation and autonomy. Through women’s empowerment, legal action, community radio, and local assemblies, OFRANEH’s defense of the Garifuna encompasses land rights, cultural expression, and food security. Read more
India, Vrihi & Basudha:
Indian farmers once cultivated as many as 110,000 distinct varieties of rice. Tragically, after fifty years of ‘Green Revolution’ agricultural development, the country has lost nearly 90% of its traditional, locally-adapted varieties. Alarmed by this massive erosion of agro-biodiversity, ecologist Dr. Debal Deb set out to help conserve the remaining seed diversity before it vanished forever.
In 1995 Deb began in earnest to gather and document traditional rice seeds from farmers throughout eastern India. Two years later Deb and his organization, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS), decided to create the first non-governmental rice seed bank for farmers, Vrihi (Sanskrit name of “rice”). Read more
New Zealand, Backyard Honeybees:
The collapse of honeybee populations has received a lot of press, but in New Zealand, at least, it’s not all bad news: small-scale beekeeping in that country is making a comeback.
Backyard Honeybees, a small business based in Christchurch, allows the city’s residents to host their own beehives and produce their own honey. Read more
Palestine, Palestine Heirloom Seed Library:
The Palestinian West Bank is one of the regions where agriculture was first practiced. In these dry hills, farmers have had thousands of years to cultivate crop varieties that can survive an extreme climate: a short spring and a long, hot summer watered only by the occasional rainstorm. In Arabic, the Palestinians’ traditional allotment-style garden plots are called “pieces of paradise.” But lately, Palestinian farming culture has fallen under threat. Read more
Thailand, Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance:
“The word pun in Thai has two meanings,” the founders of the Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance explain. One is “a thousand.” The second is “varieties.” So, pun pun together means ‘A Thousand Varieties.’ We named the farm this to represent our quest for biodiversity in species as well as ideas, people, and experimentation.”
Located 50 km north of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Pun Pun is an organic farm, intentional community, and a center for seed-saving and sustainable living and learning. Read more
UK, Incredible Edible Todmorden:
Eight years ago, community members in Todmorden — a small town in West Yorkshire — gathered for an informal meeting. They wanted to take action to make the world a better place, and they knew they wanted local food to be a part of it.
Incredible Edible Todmorden was born. The original idea was simple: plant fruit, vegetables and herbs in public spaces around the village — in schoolyards, beside railway platforms, in front of the police station. Encourage the public and kids in local schools to help plant, weed and water. Encourage everyone — whether they volunteered or not — to harvest and eat the bounty. Read more
UK, The Real Food Store:
The Real Food Store is the first community-owned grocery store in Exeter, UK The store was initiated in 2009 by Transition Exeter, a grassroots localist initiative affiliated with the global Transition Town movement. Given its grassroots beginnings, it’s not surprising that Real Food is much more than your average store: it’s a vibrant hub reconnecting local consumers with local producers, and reweaving the fabric of local interdependence severed in the process of globalization. Read more
USA, Food Forward:
According to Food Forward, 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted. At the same time, one in six individuals lacks adequate access to food — especially fresh produce.
Food Forward connects produce that would normally go to waste with the people who need it most. Working throughout the Los Angeles, California area, Food Forward “rescues” 300,000 pounds of food per week; through their many diverse partners, over 100,000 people per month gain access to fresh, high-quality food that would otherwise have gone to waste. Read more
USA, LA Compost:
LA Compost was born in 2013, when brothers Michael and David Martinez rallied a group of volunteers with bicycles to collect food scraps, leaves, paper and other organic materials bound for landfills, in four cities across Los Angeles County.
In the first five months alone, they collected 30,000 pounds of organic waste and delivered it to local compost centers, mostly set up in volunteers’ backyards. There it was turned into compost, which they gave away or sold at local farmers markets. They used the proceeds to build their first edible garden in one of the cities from which the organic matter was collected. Read more
USA, Native Seeds:
Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) is a nonprofit organization working to promote seed diversity and food security in the southwest region of the United States. Founded in 1983 as a humble operation with seeds stored in chest freezers, NS/S now preserves nearly 2,000 varieties of indigenous desert seeds, including many rare and endangered species.
NS/S believes firmly in the importance of preserving seed biodiversity for its own sake, but they are also convinced that traditional farmers, and the crops they grow, are a stabilizing force for local Native American communities, whose cultural lives and livelihoods are inextricably tied to the fate of the food they grow for themselves. Read more
USA, Pine Island Community Farm:
The modern world is always surprising us with its strangeness: until recently, 3,000 frozen goats were shipped to Burlington, Vermont each year from Australia, to feed the region’s growing community of New Americans.
As Pine Island Community Farm’s website explains, “New Americans refer to people who came to the U.S. as refugees, often after fleeing violence, torture, or ethnic cleansing in their home countries.” Most New Americans, in Burlington and elsewhere, lived for 15-20 years in refugee camps before being permanently resettled by the U.N. in the United States. Read more
USA, Soul Fire Farm:
Today, less than 1% of farmland in the US is owned by black people. According to Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, “black people’s collective experience with slavery and sharecropping has created an aversion to the land and a sense that the land itself is an oppressor. The truth is that without good land and good food we cannot be truly free.” Connecting young people to the land is at the heart of Soul Fire’s mission – and it seems they are succeeding. Read more
USA, Thimble Island Ocean Farm and Greenwave:
Bren Smith, founder of Thimble Island Ocean Farm, dropped out of school when he was fourteen to become a fisherman. He worked in a wide variety of commercial fisheries, “from longlining for McDonald’s on the Bering Sea and ‘sliming’ in the canneries of Bristol Bay, Alaska to lobstering in Lynn, Massachusetts and aquaculture farming in Newfoundland, Canada.”
Smith loved the jobs: “The humility of being in 40-foot seas, the sense of solidarity that comes with being in the belly of a boat with 13 other people working 30-hour shifts, and a sense of meaning and pride in helping to feed my country.” No doubt it was the sense of meaning he was searching for when he left school. But over time, Smith says, he began to see a problem. Read more
Zimbabwe, Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum & Shashe Agroecology School:
Land ownership is central to Zimbabwe’s long history of inequality and violence. Throughout the colonial era and during the regime of the white-ruled Republic of Rhodesia (1965-1979), land was almost exclusively owned by white farmers, many of them growing for export. Meanwhile, the people from whom the land was taken either labored on commercial farms, or were crowded onto marginal “tribal reserves”. When white rule ended with the founding of Zimbabwe in 1980, there was an immediate discussion of land redistribution. Read more
More related Planet Local examples:
- Guatemala, Ixpiyakok Women’s Association
- Hungary, Cargonomia
- Indonesia, Geng Motor Imut
- Japan, The Seikatsu Club
- USA, Agrarian Trust
- USA, Credibles
- USA, Homeless Garden Project
- South Africa, Earthlore (Mupo Foundation) and Dzomo la Mupo
- USA, Dream of Wild Health
- Zimbabwe, The Chikukwa Project