In the documentary, The Economics of Happiness we learn the tragic story of Ladakh, a region in the Himalaya’s and one of the most isolated places on earth. In the 1970’s this self-sustainable, prosperous and happy farming community was hit by an onslaught of global companies seeking to inculcate and romanticise a new culture of consumerism. As a result, within 10 years, Ladakh was hit with every conceivable problem – poverty, pollution, unemployment, poor health, depression and conflict.
The point of this movie is to enlighten us all that globalisation is not the panacea our governments and institutions want us to believe it is, and that it is in fact, at the root cause of many of the world’s problems. If you’re in any doubt that this is so, I urge you to watch the movie.
So, if globalism is the problem, is a return to localism the answer? I believe so, particularly with regards to food production and consumption.
In my blog of 1 July Start Small, I shared how our community is returning to localism by supporting an ethical local farmer with our egg-buying co-operative. Today some six weeks later, even in the midst of the harshest lock-down right here in Melbourne, I’m delighted to report that we’ve taken the next step and kick-started our own 122 Roseneath Street & Friends Food Co-operative.
The post-COVID world we want to see in our community is one where we co-create our own sustainable food eco-system for our 120+ residents. Our vision is to grow and share our own food, buy direct from local producers and farmers, eliminate food-waste and packaging, start our own composting systems, worm farms and rooftop beehives. And one day, we’ll gather again in our beautiful community room to cook and dine together! (No doubt, you can hear my sigh from here on that one.)
We’re making the most of this lock-down time by researching and educating ourselves on what other communities have done before us (no point in reinventing the wheel!). We’re investigating what’s possible for the inhabitants of our 67 residences and our local neighbours, talking to our local council, spreading the word when we meet friends on the street and sharing ideas at our weekly zoom catch-ups. Momentum is gathering and everyone is coming together to contribute their gifts and knowledge to this project.
While it’s such early stages and I possibly shouldn’t be pre-empting anything just yet, I’ve had quite a bit of interest from people who are keen to do the same. So, if you’re keen to know more, drop me an email. I’ll gather us all together and host a zoom session in the next couple of weeks.
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About me: I’m a Purpose Educator and author of The Purpose Project. I help leaders attract and retain the best people by harnessing the power of deep purpose and storytelling. I do this through The Purpose Project for Companies, a customised consultative process for co-creating a new purpose statement and The Purpose Project Course, a 7-step online course to help employees bring their own why to work.