International Alliance for Localization: update

In December 2015 this blog reported Local Futures’ 2014 launch of a cross-cultural, North-South network of thinkers, activists and NGOs – the International Alliance for Localization (IAL) – with members from over 30 countries who meet online and/or in person – a few pictured below.

Localise West Midlands later became one of the member organisations. Last July’s LWM blog – gave news of some very interesting localising ventures.

Local Futures have collaborated with organizations worldwide which are helping to forge a grassroots path to a new economy:

  • In Japan, Local Futures has helped to forge a broad-based Economics of Happiness/localization movement.
  • In South Korea, it collaborates with a group of 37 mayors who have formed a Social Economy Forum.
  • In Italy, it is in dialogue with the Five Star movement (M5S), an environmentally-minded people’s party that is channelling half of their MPs’ (member of parliament) salaries into a microcredit bank that provides funding for small businesses. They have raised more than €10 million so far.

Community Solutions’ 2017 Arthur Morgan Award was given by the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions to Local Futures’ co-founder and director Helena Norberg-Hodge, “in recognition of her tireless advocacy for communities across the planet”.

The award is bestowed annually to honour those who are passionate about – and committed to – community and democracy.

Community Solutions is perhaps best known for their inspiring 2006 film The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.

It described how organic farming, urban agriculture – and of course community – enabled Cuba to survive the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent loss of almost all its oil and food imports.

Read more about founder Arthur Morgan’s work here.

In the UK, the small Somerset town of Frome, where Local Futures film The Economics of Happiness was screened in 2011, has revolutionized rural politics.

Over the last few years, representatives of Independents for Frome have gradually won all the seats on the local council. Their platform is about sustainability, inclusivity and rebuilding the local economy from the ground up. Read more about their achievements here.

In 2017, Helena hosted four live webinars in The Global to Local Webinar Series. In January she was joined by Christian Felber, founder of Economy for the Common Good and the final webinar of the year was with Shaun Chamberlin, author of The Transition Timeline and managing director of the Fleming Policy Centre. It focused on the late David Fleming’s work, his book Surviving the Future, and his contribution to the localization movement


Read more in the latest Local Futures Newsletter.






Plunkett Foundation forms partnership with Land Settlement Association

Horticulture smallholdings: a crucial contribution towards higher employment, a reliable, home-grown food supply and a diverse, more ecologically healthy countryside

The Plunkett Foundation newsletter reports a new partnership with the Land Settlement Association Charitable Trust. Plunkett hopes to identify ‘pioneering approaches to co-operative horticulture across the UK’ to ‘share and develop further’.  Shaun Chamberlin has written about one such initiative, the Ecological Land Co-operative in the January 2013 issue of Country Smallholding magazine. General reflections are summarised here.

ecological land co-operative
Shaun opens by pointing out that nearly half of the UK’s land is owned by just 40,000 people (0.06% of the population).

Such land ownership ‘by the few’ tends to favour uniform, large-scale, mechanised agriculture, yet with the UK population having increased by 4 million over the past decade, it becomes ever more pertinent that such farms have long been known to produce far less food per acre than smaller holdings.

However, although smaller holdings can produce substantially more food per acre, the big farms can produce more of a given monoculture crop per acre, which suits the large-scale centralised buyers.

The greater challenge facing smallholders, however, is that their higher productivity per acre relies on careful human attention, which can be a major expense. Large-scale mechanised farms, on the other hand, have replaced human care with cheap fossil energy, standardisation and monoculture.

Chamberlin concludes:

Industrialised agriculture is a major contributor to climate destabilisation, soil depletion and numerous other problems, while smallholdings provide an ideal context for diverse, low-carbon, localised lifestyles that could provide a desperately needed model for true sustainability.

Extortionate land prices and the intricate absurdities of the planning permission system combine to make the simple aim of living on and working a piece of land seem an unattainable dream for most of us; however, with finite fossil fuel supplies depleting and oil prices having tripled over the past decade, the balance is shifting and smallholdings and horticulture offer a crucial contribution towards higher employment, a reliable, home-grown food supply for the UK and a diverse and thus more ecologically healthy countryside.

To read about Ecological Land Co-operative and the history of a government-funded Land Settlement Association in the 1930s, go to the article:

Twitter: @EcoLandCoop
Join mailing list by emailing: