Thursday, 17 September 2015

Mapping Grassroots Britain

Last night watching A Dance to the Music of Time it came to me that for decades now Britain has looked backwards into the past - its form and feel embedded in the hierarchical style of Empire. Whatever happened to creating the future most of us yearn for, a future which benefits everyone, including the environment we all live in? And how would we recognise it when we came across it?

To show that that future has already been seeded and taken root is the aim behind The Grassroots Directory. It was launched last week with this wonderful street map by Laura Barnard. The map is of an imaginary town, village or city neighbourhood made up of many of the innovative community-led, owned and run projects that are now happening all over Britain. In a Guardian piece today I catalogue some of these enterprises that appear like a net of bright sparks across an apparently hostile and corporate-dominated country. 

What distinguishes them is that they bring benefit to the places and people they share, whether orchard, cinema, farm or energy company. These projects are not driven by an individualist desire for power but by collective necessity and ‘cluster under the umbrella of a social and solidarity economy’ as John Thackara writes about so eloquently in his new book How to Thrive in the Next Economy.

They belong to a new mood that is now shifting the country politically and economically and most of all in the hearts of its people. If you know of a project near you do get in touch with us at Details about this sourcebook and its aims can be found at We would love to hear from you.