Building regional autonomies for a small farm future
Hosted by Chris Smaje.
The session arose from Chris Smaje’s book ‘A Small Farm Future: Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity and a Shared Earth’ (Chelsea Green, October 2020).
In the book, he argues that present crises demand a move towards more localised economies, geared to providing for people’s needs for food, fibre and other resources from their local ecological base – and also for more localised forms of semi-autonomous political organisation, which at the same time avoid nationalist or nativist forms of social exclusion.
Particular themes for discussion included:
– regional agricultural specialisms: arable, pastoral, horticulture
– reconnecting towns and cities with local rural hinterlands
– defining non-exclusive rural autonomies
– building solidarity outside the region
– managing the relation with centralized political power
Participants from the session gained some insights into how regional agricultural links and solidarity connect with global developments in environmental politics and the more localist future the world faces, and shared thoughts and insights from their own practice.
The discussion focused on the applicability of regional approaches to the North of England and Scotland.
Chris Smaje is a small-scale farmer and grower based in southwest England. Formerly an academic social scientist, he’s the author of the forthcoming book ‘A Small Farm Future: Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity and a Shared Earth’ (Chelsea Green, October 2020) and he’s written for several publications on agriculture, the environment and politics. Chris is currently a director of the Ecological Land Co-op and blogs at www.smallfarmfuture.org.uk.