My obscure Community Studies undergraduate degree provided a multitude of lessons, but the main things I gained were these two ideas: 1. The personal is political. 2. To affect change you must begin right where you are. With these dictums in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about communities that are coming together to become self-sustaining. With food safety threats, economic destruction, globalization, outsourcing of jobs, and the homogenization of our food sources, it is no wonder that people are starting to get more and more organized. It seems like just this week, I have heard about a variety of examples, not just nationally but really close to home here in my small-ish town of Santa Cruz. Read more

The Dervaes family seem like they’ve come from another time. Only instead of on the prairie, they’ve settled within the city limits of Pasadena, where Jules Dervaes and his children Justin, Anais and Jordanne grow over 6,000 pounds of food, power their computers with solar panels and make their own biofuel on a fifth of an acre in the front and back of their house. They are the focus of a new film by Robert McFalls called Homegrown, which tells the story of eco-pioneering, showing viewers a picture of what our not-so-distant future could look like if we were to live up to our eco-ideals. Read more