Complicating the Commons

Politically and intellectually, it seems like the idea of the commons is gaining traction – probably because the state and the market, its major rivals, have acquired something of an image problem in recent times. Politically, ‘the state’ has become associated with the unresponsive, centrally planned economies of communist regimes, and ‘the market’ with the flagrant inequalities and value-scouring short-termism of contemporary capitalism and/or neoliberalism.

Modern Small-Scale Farming: Could it Sustain Us? Could we Sustain It?

The persistent question for me as we explore local food issues here at Strong Towns is: Could any of our communities actually survive on local food alone? Could we ever get to a point where local food makes up most of our diets and where local farmers are successfully supplying that? These questions (inspired by the Strong Towns Strength Test) have been buzzing in the back of my mind and, while I want to believe it’s feasible to live off of local food, the more I study this, the more I realize it would be pretty darn tough, if not impossible.

Want to Get “Back to the Land”? You’re Not Alone

Over the past century, generations of young people have turned their backs on city life to embrace small-scale farming and back-to-the-land ideals. The exact circumstances for each generation’s return have varied: the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Vietnam War in the ’60s and ’70s, and, more recently, the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity to … Read more

Why are Small Farms Important to Britain?

Besides deregulation and competition from large-scale agribusinesses, there’s a new factor casting uncertainty over the future of Britain’s small farms: the ‘B’ word. Since the EU referendum in summer 2016, there’s been much uncertainty around what future farming policy will look like.

Small-Scale Farming Could Restore America’s Rural Towns

There is nothing inevitable about the demise of rural America. Nothing inevitable, that is, if we turn away from the extractive model of corporate agriculture and the trade deals and subsidies that support it and instead reestablish the small- and medium-scale farming and ranching that can support sustainable prosperity.

Snow Day

The wind is gusting in a low whistle outside my study, blowing snow on the front porch. The mercury reads 15 and it’s still a couple of hours until sunrise. Today’s to-do list has been written: Deliver hay and carry out the usual farm chores. Set up heaters in the livestock watering tanks. Castrate and vaccinate calves, then move cattle to their winter pasture up in the back forty. Dig postholes for the new hog enclosure and set posts in concrete. And, of course, attend to any newborn lambs that may have been born overnight.