Transfer Community Cultivation From the Land to the Workshop

Tim at The Future is Green makes a great find: The PostCarbon Institute’s thoughts (and upcoming book) on “Community Supported Manufacturing” and “relocalization.”

If only there were some way of shielding the local production system from the rapacious lunacy of globalization.

We think there is, but it is not simple or easy. What is required is a near total remaking of the infrastructure, what we have called the parallel public infrastructure…it will be a system to help integrate the many disparate efforts that are now starting to bridge the carbon chasm….Yet even this will not be enough to start a new local production venture – this will require the active and possibly prolonged financial support of the community. The model we look to is that of community supported agriculture (CSA). We want to transfer community cultivation from the land to the workshop. Developing different and varied techniques of community support will require different kinds of production organization and different ownership structures. We envisage a mixture of everything from municipal ownership and operation through cooperatives and mutual aid organizations to family businesses and other smaller, locally owned firms. In all cases, stress will be laid on local ownership and control…It should be clear that all these many formulations, and some that may yet be invented, utterly and completely exclude the global corporations….”

While part of me wants to write this off as some sort of hippy utopianism, the model proposed here is appealing on a number of levels. Of course, it’s more sustainable, particularly as energy prices rise. It would facilitate a sociological and psychological reorientation towards the local community, something that’s certainly been lost as we depend more and more upon a global economy. Finally, it seems to me that it would simplify life in some very positive and fundamental ways: a movement away from the shopping mall (back) towards the community market. OK, maybe I find hippy utopianism rather appealing… Is this realistic, even in the rather long timline presented(“We do not expect this to occur before the next century….”) ? I think it goes without saying that this is also desireable, but others may disagree…

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