The Local Food Revolution
How Humanity Will Feed Itself in Uncertain Times
Author: Michael Brownlee
Demonstrating that humanity faces an imminent and prolonged global food crisis, Michael Brownlee issues a clarion call and manifesto for a revolutionary movement to localize the global food supply. He lays out a practical guide for those who hope to navigate the challenging process of shaping the local or regional food system, providing a roadmap for embarking on the process of righting the profoundly unsustainable and already-failing global industrialized food system. Written to inform, inspire, and empower anyone—farmers or ranchers, community gardeners, aspiring food entrepreneurs, supply chain venturers, commercial food buyers, restaurateurs, investors, community food activists, non-profit agencies, policy makers, or local government leaders—who hopes to be a catalyst for change, this book provides a blueprint for economic action, with specific suggestions that make the process more conscious and deliberate.
Brownlee, cofounder of the nonprofit Local Food Shift Group, maps out the underlying process of food localization and outlines the route that communities, regions, and foodsheds often follow in their efforts to take control of food production and distribution. By sharing the strategies that have proven successful, he charts a practical path forward while indicating approaches that otherwise might be invisible and unexplored. Stories and interviews illustrate how food localization is happening on the ground and in the field. Essays and thought-pieces explore some of the challenging ethical, moral, economic, and social dilemmas and thresholds that might arise as the local food shift develops. For anyone who wants to understand, in concrete terms, the unique challenges and extraordinary opportunities that present themselves as we address one of the most urgent issues of our time, The Local Food Revolution is an indispensable resource.
About the Author
Michael Brownlee has long been a catalyst in the process of food localization in Colorado, working to ignite, inspire, guide, and empower those who are facing the challenges and opportunities of localizing our food supply. He is the cofounder of nonprofit Local Food Shift Group (formerly Transition Colorado, the first official Transition initiative in North America).
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“The Local Food Revolution is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about the current state of the industrial, global food system and who asks, ‘What can I do to help awaken my foodshed?’” —Veronica House, PhD, associate faculty director for service-learning and outreach, University of Colorado, Boulder
“What begins as Michael Brownlee’s own journey from concerned activist to community catalyst becomes a handbook for ‘deep revolution,’ with local and regional food systems at the center of it all. For those concerned that change is not enough, he offers not just a revolutionary call to action, but also a new path forward.” —Philip Ackerman-Leist, professor of sustainable agriculture and food systems, Green Mountain College, Vermont, and author of Rebuilding the Foodshed
“Mixing history and philosophy with a hopeful yet realistic call to action, Michael Brownlee’s profound work demands immediate attention. One of the single most important elements of our fate as a species is the state of our global food system grid as it exists in small local equations. Brownlee gives us the perfect opportunity and the tools to once and for all solve for x. The Local Food Revolution is the blueprint for the future wellness of our planetary community.”
—Daniel Asher, executive chef, River and Woods and co-chair, Chefs Collaborative/Colorado
“Michael Brownlee’s book is a wide-ranging discussion from his early recognition of the changes affecting our planet and his important, ongoing identification of and engagement with ideas and models from influential leaders, thinkers, and movers (of which he is one). Rather than just observe and report, he is a leader who participates, implements, tests, and catalyzes emerging ideas and concepts. This book is an inspiration to anyone who feels our problems are too big to address and that we can't do anything; they aren’t, and we can.”
—Jack Round, Transition Omaha, Let’s Eat Investment Group
“The multi-layered global crisis, and in particular, abrupt climate change, demand nothing less than a local food revolution that reaches far beyond farmers markets and buying local. Every human life going forward depends on a radical transformation of our relationship with food and how we provide it for our communities. Michael Brownlee maps this revolution with laser clarity. If you eat, you must read this book.”
—Carolyn Baker, PhD, author of Love In The Age of Ecological Apocalypse and Collapsing Consciously
“Few evolutionary catalysts see the nexus between local food systems and deep cultural transformation with the clarity of Michael Brownlee. Want to find the connections between Thomas Paine, Christopher Alexander, and the organic farmer down the street? They are here for you in this book.”
—Woody Tasch, founder of Slow Money and author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money
“As humankind moves towards an uncertain future facing issues related to climate change, water quantity/quality, healthy soil for food production, and more food-resilient communities, The Local Food Revolution provides a road map for those brave enough to embark on its bold manifesto. An early food system pioneer who catalyzed evolutionary change and helped revolutionize the future of local food for Colorado, Michael Brownlee provides a direct and biting reflection on what it will take to revolutionize our local food system while meeting the difficult food demands forecast for our future. His insights and recommendations are well-researched, thoughtful, and brutally honest.”
—Rusty Collins, Denver County Director, Colorado State University Extension
“Michael Brownlee raises this ‘call to farms’ (local of course) to inspire an urgently needed revolution in our food system. The urgency is born of declining resources and increasingly disruptive climate change. He gives this call an evolutionary context: every collapse is followed by an emergence of something completely new. He envisions foodsheds that are regional, regenerative and restorative, in stark contrast to the rapacious industrial food system. He invites us to ‘bring food home again’ as ‘a choice for life itself.’ Stories of pioneers revolutionizing all facets of emerging foodsheds are a real treasure. Learn from Michael’s decade of experience cultivating a ‘local food shift’ in Colorado to empower food localization wherever you are.”
—Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment Television
“This book needs to be widely read by those in the local food movement. Michael Brownlee explains the local food revolution as emerging from an evolutionary shift in ethical and cultural values occurring at the deepest levels of human consciousness, a ‘deep revolution.’ He provides a wealth of philosophical insights and practical information about how to be an effective ‘evolutionary catalyst’ but stresses that deep revolutions arise from within and must be nurtured rather than developed. The local food revolution can only be sustained by a spiritual reawakening to the inherent sacredness of food and farming.”
—John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO and author of The Essentials of Economic Sustainability, Sustainable Capitalism, and Crisis and Opportunity
“For those of us weighed down with concern for our children’s prospects for a safe and abundant life, The Local Food Revolution provides a high-minded but thoroughly practical primer on how to get started, now, to change that doubt into hope. This book will be recognized as a classic reference that every food activist will keep near at hand for centuries to come.”
—Alan Lewis, Government Affairs and Food and Agriculture Policy, Natural Grocers
“Telling a personal journey of transitioning to local food as calling—intense, deep, and transforming—this book holds an important place for those currently involved in localizing foodsheds, and helps us all understand the urgency of saving and re-vitalizing our food systems locally.”
—Nanna Meyer, PhD, associate professor of health sciences, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
“Few people in the world have thought longer and deeper about the local food revolution than Michael Brownlee. In a journey reminiscent of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Brownlee traces the evolution of his work in Colorado and the evolution of his thinking about the movement’s global importance. He reveals himself to be as much a philosopher as a practitioner, with provocative, invaluable, and entertaining insights for anyone who wants to reshape his or her own community.”
—Michael H. Shuman, community economist and author of The Local Economy Solution
“Buckminster Fuller could have written the preface to The Local Food Revolution: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” A deep bow to Michael Brownlee, who is serving as a lead catalyst and synthesizer of this new model. Join the emerging global awakening to beat the clock of mass extinction.”
—John Steiner and Margo King, transpartisan/sacred activists
From the Trade Paperback edition.