Our flawed global economy is a systemic issue and localization is a systemic solution. For too long, we have been trapped into seeing ourselves as isolated units, only able to solve global crises by changing individual habits. Being an ethical consumer isn’t enough to “save the planet”. We need collective action – both in resisting the drivers of social and environmental destruction, and renewing local cultures, communities, and economies – to create systemic change.
However, changing our own practices, combined with developing a deeper understanding of the system, lays the groundwork for effective collective action. Lasting change starts with our own individual actions and radiates out from there. Small wins help to build the motivation and momentum for bigger community projects.
So let’s get started! Here is a list of some ideas for action:
The Food System
Strengthen your local food system.
1. Join a Community Supported Agriculture program, or another initiative strengthening local, small-scale, ecological farming and food in your area.
2. Shift five of your regular food purchases to a local farm or producer.
3. Start a bulk buying club, and order from locally-owned food cooperatives or directly from farmers.
Grow food on the land.
6. If you have land but don’t want to start a garden (or farm), offer the use of your land to a local farmer or community gardening or food justice organization. Here are some resources about yard exchanges and connecting with young farmers needing access to land.
7. If you want to garden but don’t have land, ask friends, your neighborhood association or local government about options for accessing land to grow food. Connect with local community gardening or similar organizations, or start one if none are yet present in your area! For guidance, check out Agrarian Trust’s resource page on accessing land.
8. Get involved in transforming a vacant lot into a food garden in your town or city.
Gather free local food.
9. Harvest fruit from urban parks and homeowners (with permission, and check for pesticide use!). Invite others to join you and organize a group harvest. Visit Falling Fruit for a global map of fruit that’s free for everyone.
10. Learn how to responsibly harvest, prepare, and use wild foods and herbs, whether from wild places or urban neighborhoods. You can start by connecting with a local herbalist, many of whom lead group plant walks!
Share the harvest.
12. Share some of your harvest – whether gathered or gardened – with a local food bank or soup kitchen.
14. Start a seed library – catalog your seeds and offer them to others.
Local Businesses & Finance
15. Shift some of your purchasing this week to local businesses, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Shift more next week, and so on!
16. Buy gift cards for three local businesses, and read this article for other ways to support local businesses through COVID-19.
17. Shift your bank account to a small, locally-owned bank or credit union that has policies and practices better aligned with sustainability and justice. Read about the top 5 reasons to do so.
19. Spread the word on local investing by starting a local “move your money” campaign.
20. Start a Totally Locally initiative in your area, to foster support for local independent businesses, services and production. Get inspiration, tools and help from other Totally Locally communities in action.
22. Push for changes in your town or city to discourage private automobiles and encourage cycling, walking, and public transit.
23. Figure out three ways that you can drastically reduce household electricity use, and do them! (Learn about ‘phantom energy’, and turn off and unplug.)
The Sharing and Repairing Economy
24. Teach yourself a new homesteading skill – baking, fermenting, growing food, basic carpentry, bicycle repair, or making cleaning products, for example!
25. Share one of your homesteading skills with others.
26. Set up a Little Free Library to share books.
27. Start planning a repair cafe event.
28. Join local conservation groups working to protect local natural areas and farmland from development, possibly including biodiversity mapping.
29. Plant a tree. Better yet, plant ten different species of trees.
30. Grow plants that attract and support pollinators, other insects and wild birds.
31. Build a wild bee hotel.
Celebrate Life and Cultivate Happiness
32. Make a date to spend a few hours in a park or wild place this week.
33. Invite friends over for a celebration of seasonal food (whenever it’s safe to do so in your area).
34. Host or join a community yoga, tai chi, meditation or exercise class – ideally outdoors if possible.
35. Host or join a community singing or dancing group.
36. Start a practice of reminding yourself, every day, of three things in your nearby ecosystems and communities for which you are grateful.
Integrate celebration as part of the localization process;
infuse fun, joy, and gratitude into each localization action,
no matter how big or small!