Reinvigorate your community: reconnect with democracy.

Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered.

In Slow Democracy, community leader Susan Clark and democracy scholar Woden Teachout describe how citizens around the country are breathing new life into their communities. Large institutions, centralized governments, and top-down thinking are no longer society’s drivers. New decision-making techniques are ensuring that local communities—and the citizens who live there—are uniquely suited to meet today’s challenges. In Slow Democracy, readers learn the stories of residents who gain community control of water systems and local forests, parents who find creative solutions to divisive and seemingly irreconcilable school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizen-led actions that are reinvigorating local democracy and decision making.

Along with real-life examples of slow democracy in action, Clark and Teachout also provide twenty simple guidelines to reinvigorate local democracy. With a future more and more focused on local food, local energy, and local economies, Slow Democracy offers strategies to improve our skills at local governance and to reinvigorate community democracy.

Leaders and activists endorse Slow Democracy:

"Slow Democracy just may be the best thing happening in America today. Connecting in a meaningful way with our community and reclaiming our power as citizens is both powerful and possible. Read this book and consider how this movement can revitalize the communities you care about!"

Joan Blades, cofounder,

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"This is a truly important book: it explains, with copious example and lots of common sense, why democracy works better close to home. If you've begun to think the carrot from the farmer's market tastes better, this volume will lead you (liberal or conservative) down the logical path towards a working society."

Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

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"Great stories about democracy, showing us that democracy is not what we have but what we do. So if you’ve been “looking for hope in all the wrong places,” now you’ve found one that’s right! Enjoy."

Frances Moore Lappé, author of EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create
the World We Wan

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“The ‘slow’ in Slow Democracy doesn’t mean decision making needs to take
longer. It’s an acknowledgement that investing in inclusive, deliberative
and empowered local decision-making is worth the time. Here are community
stories that will fill you with hope for American politics

—Sandy Heierbacher
Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

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"Slow Democracy is a lively and significant book. Clark and Teachout use a broad array of stories to illustrate how our democracy is changing, and how we can capitalize on the pressures and opportunities we face in our communities. They describe how carefully structured public engagement can lead, ironically, to faster, better solutions to public problems. Finally, they show how improving local democracy, one place at a time, can add up quickly to much larger national and global impacts."

Matt Leighninger, executive director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium

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"It is all too easy to be cynical about the contemporary democratic process. Clark and Teachout provide a roadmap for turning that cynicism into the sort of regionalized action that can improve lives and transform communities. Don't give up on democracy: Read this book and get to work!"

Ben Hewitt, author of The Town that Food Saved and Making Supper Safe

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"The time is exactly right for a book that takes democracy seriously, and knows where to look for it. Clark and Teachout recognize that representative democracy must be rooted in the fertile soil of face-to-face, local, problem-solving democracy. With engaging storytelling skills, they remind us of how vibrant these civic roots still are, and they encourage us to give this democratic garden even greater care and attention, and to enjoy its fruits while we're at it."

Daniel Kemmis, former mayor of Missoula, Montana; author of Community and the Politics of Place

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"Slow democracy is the only kind that can take root, because it answers our deepest longings for connection, community, and voice. Clark and Teachout provide compelling examples and guiding principles for nurturing inclusive, participatory communities that work for everyone. Read this book, and then put it into action!"

Martha McCoy, executive director, Everyday Democracy

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"This book makes one of the better arguments for federalism and the decentralization of policy-making in my recent memory. ... While I doubt I've ever voted for the same presidential candidates as these authors, I found myself constantly agreeing with points made in the book. ... Slow Democracy is an excellent book -- a call to the hard work of citizenship."

Pete Peterson, executive director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership

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"Reading this book makes you smarter about how to deliberative effectively and democratically, and it shows many of the paths to a better democracy, in the U.S., in smaller communities, or elsewhere. ... [A]  book that's been needed for a few years--a nice balance struck between practical wisdom, theoretical insight, and the passion of an activist. Overall, quite a good read."

John Gastil, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Penn State University