In 1978, Local Futures’ founder Helena Norberg-Hodge went to Ladakh, in the Indian Himalayas. She was profoundly influenced by the happiness and community solidarity she encountered, rooted in a place-based agrarian economy.
Bearing witness to this thriving culture, and the social and ecological devastation that followed as Ladakh was opened up to modern ‘development’ and the global economy, inspired her to start Local Futures. Ever since then, we have continued our work in this region.
Our Local Futures Ladakhi team is focusing on relocalizing food systems and documenting traditional practices. Our current work – in collaboration with other organizations and the local government – centers on hosting workshops and dialogues on regenerative agriculture, formulating sustainable tourism guidelines, and producing short films on traditional culture.
Celebrating Nas – barley
On September 17-18, 2022 we organized, together with Snow Leopard Conservancy, Ladakh Arts and Media Organization, and Kalpavriksh, the event ‘Celebrating Nas’ – barley – to revitalize, reconnect and revalue Ladakhi culture, traditions and food sovereignty.
Watch this short video made by Local Futures’ Ladakh team that expresses why nas is so important to Ladakhi culture.
Short videos on Ladakh
Young Farmers in Ladakh – highlights the importance of local knowledge and traditional skills for young farmers. The team also hosted an in-person film screening and discussion in Leh, with environmentalist and author Ashish Kothari as a guest speaker.
Our work is not about putting a wall around cultures. On the contrary, it is about establishing closer contact between the most and least industrialized parts of the world. We have found that this contact is genuinely empowering, and can help to strengthen communities in both North and South.
– Helena Norberg-Hodge
founder & director of Local Futures
Workshops, screenings and more
In recent years, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, our work focused on hosting interactive workshops with Ladakhi-led organizations on topics such as media literacy and economic localization.
With the local group Flowering Dharma, we have been running a recurring Mindful Futures workshop for young Ladakhi change-makers, collectively exploring environmental and social problems and finding locally-based sustainable solutions.
During the summer months, we have hosted daily screenings of our films Ancient Futures and The Economics of Happiness, and organized Help with the Harvest programs. In 2019, we hosted our 21st International Economics of Happiness Conference in Leh.
Tourist Education Program
Our Tourist Education Program helps visitors to Ladakh become more aware of their impact on the region, and offers guidelines for culturally, economically and ecologically responsible behavior.