Back to top Jump to featured resources


Building Local Power Podcast Homepage

Building Local Power brings you thought-provoking conversations and new ideas for breaking the hold of corporate monopolies and expanding the power of citizens and communities to chart their own future.


Produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, this twice-monthly podcast offers a distinct perspective on today’s most pressing topics. We bring you interviews with trailblazing lawmakers, scholars, business leaders, and advocates, plus conversations with ILSR’s own in-house experts, who share their latest research and reporting from across the country.


Podcasts are published every other Thursday at Noon Eastern. Subscribe today and look forward to hearing great stories and information you can use. Let’s Build Local Power together!​


We at ILSR are Building Local Power.


Subscribe to the podcast feed: iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS/XML.  New episodes are published bi-weekly on Thursdays. Sign up for new podcast notifications and monthly email updates from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.


Podcast Episodes

Every episode page contains a detailed introduction of the interviewee as well as deep analysis of the issues discussed in each episode.

Podcast Number: Podcast Name: Interviewee(s): Description: Date Published:
33 Supporting Family Farming in the Age of Monopoly with Joe Maxwell Joe Maxwell Joe Maxwell, a _ generation family farmer and the Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets sits down with Stacy Mitchell to talk about how our economy is tilted against family farms and rural communities. FULL TRANSCRIPT ->  November 16, 2017
32 This Ag Economist Preached Bigger is Better. Now He Says the Evidence Favors Small Farms. John Ikerd Retired agriculture economist John Ikerd sits down with Stacy Mitchell to discuss the consolidation of our agricultural economy and his support for family farms as opposed to enormous mega-farms for economic, political, and environmental reasons. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> November 2, 2017
31 San Francisco Breaks the Chain Stores, Strengthens Neighborhood Economies AnMarie Rodgers In this episode, Stacy Mitchell and Olivia LaVecchia interview the city of San Francisco’s Senior Policy Advisor AnMarie Rodgers about the city’s formula business policy and how it helps neighborhood economies. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> October 19, 2017
30 Beating the Monopolies: Barry Lynn Explains How We Will Win Barry Lynn in this episode, Stacy Mitchell interviews anti-monopoly researcher Barry Lynn talks about how we fight against our economy’s most prominent monopolies, such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> October 5, 2017
29 Electric Vehicles Use Local Power to Cut Pollution and Driving Costs John Farrell & Karlee Weinmann In this episode, host Nick Stumo-Langer interviews John Farrell and Karlee Weinmann of ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative about electric vehicles and their potential for supporting community owned renewable energy. The group also discusses the possibilities cities and towns have to enable these technologies. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> September 21, 2017
28 With Whole Foods Deal, Amazon’s Empire Grows Stacy Mitchell In this episode, Stacy Mitchell and Christopher Mitchell discuss Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and what the deal means for the retail giant’s expansion into yet another industry. They also explore what yet more consolidation means for the economy, workers, and the creative retail environment. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> September 7, 2017
27 What Neighborhood Retail Gets Right Gina Schaefer In this episode, host Stacy Mitchell interviews former Ace Hardware (and current ILSR) board member and founder of multiple Ace Hardware stores in the DMV area. They discuss independent hardware stores in the age of Amazon, the cooperative model of retail, and women in independent business. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> August 24, 2017
26 Connecting Rural America: Internet Access for All

Hannah Trostle & Christopher Mitchell

In this episode, guest host Nick Stumo-Langer interviews Hannah Trostle and Christopher Mitchell about the state of rural connectivity in America. They discuss the barriers to local investment in broadband networks as well. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> August 10, 2017
25 Fishing for Local Power

Niaz Dorry

In this episode, hosts Stacy Mitchell and Christopher Mitchell speak with Niaz Dorry, coordinating director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. They discuss the privatization and consolidation of fisheries in the New England region and organizing local fishers. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> July 27, 2017
24 Local Solar Power: Red Plus Blue Makes a Green Tea Party

Debbie Dooley

In this episode, host Christopher Mitchell and ILSR Energy Democracy initiative director John Farrell talk with Debbie Dooley, founder of Conservatives for Energy Freedom & the Green Tea Coalition. The trio discusses how best to market clean power to people of all political stripes. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> July 13, 2017
23 How Big Businesses Get Big Subsidies

Greg LeRoy

In this episode, Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy sits down to discuss the amount that local governments are giving America’s biggest corporations and why that’s a big problem for local economies. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> June 29, 2017
22 Why Local Self-Reliance?

David Morris

In this episode, ILSR co-founder David Morris discusses the continued relevance of local self-reliance in our political debate and how cities are standing up for their rights. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> June 15, 2017
21 The Monopolist’s Playbook: Strategies to Retain Overwhelming Economic Power

Stacy Mitchell, John Farrell, Lisa Gonzalez, and Christopher Mitchell.

In this episode, guest host Nick Stumo-Langer talks to a number of ILSR experts about how large companies seek to undermine communities exerting their own power by supporting flawed reports, using public ignorance of technical issues, and co-opting local brands to benefits themselves. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> June 1, 2017
20 Tech Startup Allows Communities to Support Local Businesses

Katrina Scotto di Carlo, Co-Founder of Supportland and Placemaker

In this episode, di Carlo speaks with our podcast to discuss how a number of northwestern communities are supporting local, independent businesses via a new tech startup. FULL TRANSCRIPT ->  May 18, 2017
19 Creating Community Wealth Through Compost Sophia Hosain, Civic Works’ Real Food Farms & Guy Schaffer, BK Rot In this episode, community composters Sophia Hosain and Guy Schaffer sit down with us to discuss the impact community composting has in under-served communities struggling with food insecurity and lacking economic opportunity. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> May 4, 2017
18 Policies That Make Markets Work, Hello Antitrust Gary Reback, Author and Lawyer in Silicon Valley In this special re-broadcast of an episode in our Broadband Bits feed, Silicon Valley lawyer and author Gary Reback discusses the need for antitrust policy in our concentrated economic market. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> April 27, 2017
17 How America’s Cities Are Fighting Preemption Andrew Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida In this episode, Mayor Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Florida joins us to detail how state-level preemption is harming his local community and many others across the country and what we can do about it. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> April 20, 2017
16 Small Banks, Big Benefits Justin Dahlheimer, President of the First National Bank of Osakis In this episode, Justin Dahlheimer of the First National Bank of Osakis discusses the benefits of community banking and why localities benefit from their lending. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> April 13, 2017
15 Thanks To Your Local Economy, Renewables Aren’t Going Anywhere John Farrell & Karlee Weinmann In this episode, Farrell and Weinmann discuss what national energy policy actually means for local renewable energy and for the transition to renewable jobs. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> April 6, 2017
14 Breaking Through Partisanship: Left-Right-Local John Farrell, Stacy Mitchell, & David Morris In this episode, top ILSR staff members have a free-form discussion on the growth of political partisanship and how ILSR’s work cuts across many of those barriers. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> March 23, 2017
13 America’s Major Market Power Problem Stacy Mitchell In this episode, Mitchell runs down the reality that large, consolidated competition has extremely negative effects on the small business culture of the United States. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> March 9, 2017
12 The Power and Perils of Cooperatives Hannah Trostle & Karlee Weinmann In this episode, Trostle and Weinmann discuss the benefits of cooperative ownership as it relates to our community broadband and renewable energy initiatives. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> February 23, 2017
11 Bolstering Waste Recovery Through Model Legislation Brenda Platt In this episode, Platt gives a short history of the zero waste movement and discusses model legislation currently up in Maryland to increase the percentage of waste diverted from landfills. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> February 9, 2017
10 Preemption, Local Authority, & Municipal Broadband Christopher Mitchell & Lisa Gonzalez In this episode, Mitchell and Gonzalez give an overview of our Community Broadband Networks initiative and detail the challenges localities face when they just want to have high-quality Internet service. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> January 26, 2017
9 The Perils of Privatization David Morris In this episode, Morris discusses how our economy has transitioned from valuing public works as a cornerstone of local power to far away infrastructure projects. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> January 12, 2017
8 The Year in Building Local Power Olivia LaVecchia, Chris Mitchell, Nick Stumo-Langer, & Karlee Weinmann In this episode, the group discusses a myriad of different issues around building local power in our economy. They discuss corporate concentration, energy monopolies, and citizen-sponsored initiatives. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> December 29, 2016
7 Composting Cultivates Economic Development Linda Bilsens In this episode, Bilsens explains how producing compost from food scraps builds local economic development, fights climate change, and cultivates community. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> December 15, 2016
6 Amazon’s Growing Stranglehold Stacy Mitchell In this episode, Mitchell details the main points from the recent report including the startling fact that nearly $1 of every $2 spent online are spent on Amazon.  FULL TRANSCRIPT -> December 1, 2016
5 Broadband Boosted at the Ballot, An Election Wrap-Up Lisa Gonzalez  In this episode, Gonzalez delves into the election results coming out of Colorado regarding the two dozen communities who voted to reclaim their broadband connectivity future. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> November 17, 2016
4 Powering a Political Revolution, North Dakota’s Non-Partisan League David Morris In this episode, Morris goes into detail on the League’s political influence and how their policies set North Dakota on a trajectory of local ownership and a tradition of fighting concentrated economic power. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> November 3, 2016
3 Energy Democracy: Customer Control over Renewable Energy John Farrell In this episode, Farrell discusses the renewable energy economies of scale and how, oftentimes, who owns the energy system matters more than its size. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> October 20, 2016
2 The True Value of Recycling and the Waste Stream Neil Seldman In this episode, Seldman discusses the benefits of ILSR’s recycling work and responds to comments critical of the economic benefits driven by recycling. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> October 6, 2016
1 The Dark Store Tax Dodge of Big-Box Retailers Olivia LaVecchia In this episode, LaVecchia discusses the tactic that big-box retailers use to cheat their local communities out of adequate property taxes. FULL TRANSCRIPT -> September 22, 2016