100 episodes

This podcast features stories of the Strong Towns movement in action. Hosted by Rachel Quednau, it's all about how regular people have stepped up to make their communities more economically resilient, and how others can implement these ideas in their own places. We’ll talk about taking concrete action steps, connecting with fellow advocates to build power, and surviving the bumps along the way—all in the pursuit of creating stronger towns.

The Bottom Up Revolution Strong Towns

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 53 Ratings

This podcast features stories of the Strong Towns movement in action. Hosted by Rachel Quednau, it's all about how regular people have stepped up to make their communities more economically resilient, and how others can implement these ideas in their own places. We’ll talk about taking concrete action steps, connecting with fellow advocates to build power, and surviving the bumps along the way—all in the pursuit of creating stronger towns.

    Beth Hoffman: Getting Real about the Cost and Value of Farming

    Beth Hoffman: Getting Real about the Cost and Value of Farming

    In her new book, Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America, Beth Hoffman tells the story of how she and her husband moved onto Iowa land owned by her father-in-law and began raising cattle, goats, and growing various crops. But unlike many farming stories, this is not a romanticized tale of waking at dawn to gather eggs in your apron pocket and cooking a beautiful breakfast with homemade jam and bread, then heading out to the fields to weed your lush vegetable patch…


    Alright, we’re exaggerating a little bit. But that’s kind of the vibe you get from food memoirs these days. And Bet the Farm is not that. Hoffman is brutally honest about the hardships she and her husband face in their farming venture—and that’s with land available and a good chunk of start-up money. She talks in depth about how much harder things are for farmers who don’t have these resources.  


    In this interview on the Bottom-Up Revolution podcast (and in Hoffman’s book, if you read it), you’re going to notice a lot of parallels between the challenges of farming and the challenges of small towns in America, and you’ll also hear Hoffman talk about why farms and towns need each other to survive. 


    Additional Show Notes

    Order Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America and use code STRONG25 for 25% off your purchase today.





    Visit the Whippoorwill Creek Farm website





    Connect with Beth Hoffman on Twitter (@BethFoodAg).





    Join the discussion about this episode in the Strong Towns Facebook Community group.





    Send your story ideas to rachel@strongtowns.org.





    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.





    Support this podcast by becoming a Strong Towns member today.

    • 31 min
    Ashley Salvador: Building Gentle Density and a Grassroots Campaign for City Council

    Ashley Salvador: Building Gentle Density and a Grassroots Campaign for City Council

    All week, we’ve been celebrating the thousands of amazing Strong Towns members who make up this movement. They are safe streets advocates in Hawaii and mayors in Pennsylvania and small business owners in Georgia. And if those references sound familiar, it’s because every one of those stories was featured on the podcast this year. If you’ve ever listened to the show and thought, “Wow I wish I could do what Mary or Chris or Haile is doing in my city,” you can! It just takes stepping up and committing to this movement by becoming a member of Strong Towns.


    This movement is made up of all sorts of people and there’s a place for you here. Become a member today.


    This week’s guest is Edmonton, Alberta-based city councilor, Ashley Salvador. Before her recent election, Ashley ran an organization called YEGarden Suites. (YEG is the abbreviation for Edmonton, and a garden suite is another term for an accessory dwelling unit.) Ashley has been a huge proponent of making this sort of housing more legally and practically easy to build. She and her cofounder teach classes, provide resources, and advocate to decisionmakers, all in pursuit of increased housing options and affordability through what she calls “gentle density.”


    Her leadership on this and other local issues eventually led her to step up and run for local office. Ashley’s campaign brought together over 100 volunteers in a very grassroots effort, and now she’s a brand new city councilor.


    In this interview, Ashley talks about the positive, Strong Towns changes happening in Edmonton, how she got where she is today, and her advice for others who hope to be local leaders, too. 


    Additional Show Notes

    YEGarden Suites website





    “Will Edmonton Be the First Major Canadian City to Eliminate Parking Minimums?” (Strong Towns article by Ashley Salvador)





    “How to Get Rid of Parking Minimums” (Strong Towns webcast featuring Ashley Salvador)





    Follow Ashley Salvador on Twitter.





    Join the discussion about this episode in the Strong Towns Facebook Community group.





    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.





    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.





    Support this podcast by becoming a Strong Towns member today.

    • 26 min
    Mason Thompson: Saying Yes to Your City

    Mason Thompson: Saying Yes to Your City

    Mason Thompson is a Strong Towns member and city councilor in Bothell, WA. But he’s not someone who’s been dreaming of running for office since he was a kid or anything. For him, it all started because he wanted some bike trails in the local park. That led him to the park board, and eventually, to an elected official inviting him to think about running for office. Mason is someone who has said "yes" to his community; he’s been a lifelong resident of Bothell, and he’s dedicated to making it a better place for everyone.


    That means really listening to residents and their concerns, and seeking out the voices that aren’t often present in public decision-making. It also means running a nonpartisan campaign, where Mason focused on land use and transportation issues as an entry point that he knew everyone could get behind. Everyone cares about the way their environment feels and looks and how they get around, he says, and that was a good way to start a conversation with his fellow Bothellites.


    In this episode, Mason shares his journey to running for office, the family motto that he invites everyone to utilize, and also a fun tangent about the awesome power of electric bikes. 


    Additional Show Notes

    Listen to a previous Bottom-Up Revolution episode featuring Cary Westerbeck, fellow Bothell resident, Strong Towns member and founder of Bo-POP.





    Visit the Bo-POP (Bothellites for People-Oriented Places) website.





    Join the discussion about this episode in the Strong Towns Facebook Community group.





    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.





    Support this podcast by becoming a Strong Towns member today.

    • 27 min
    Tim Wright: Joining with Neighbors and Taking Action

    Tim Wright: Joining with Neighbors and Taking Action

    Tim Wright is a long-time Strong Towns member and cofounder of a Strong Towns local group called ReForm Shreveport, based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Tim is an engineer who joined with some of his friends and neighbors to create this group out of a desire to make the best of the community’s assets, focus on the potential of Shreveport, and help young people like himself see that it’s a great place to live and stay.


    ReForm Shreveport has been very focused on action. They’ve cleaned up parks, piloted bike lanes, and even created an interactive map after a major storm threatened Shreveport’s water supply for thousands of residents. Tim and his colleagues are responding to the needs of their city and partnering with government and other local groups to get things done. That’s been particularly important in a somewhat economically divided city—something all too common in towns across America.


    In this episode of The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, hosted by Rachel Quednau, we talk a lot about ReForm Shreveport, though toward the end we also chat about Tim’s new experience of home ownership with his wife, and why they chose to convert part of their house into an AirBnb.


    Additional Show Notes

    ReForm Shreveport website





    Get information about starting a Strong Towns Local Conversation group where you live!





    Read Daniel Herriges’ new series on incremental development.





    Join the discussion about this episode in the Strong Towns Facebook Community group.





    Read an article by LeVette Fuller and watch her and Tim on a webcast about Shreveport.





    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.





    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.





    Support this podcast by becoming a Strong Towns member today.

    • 31 min
    Rebecca Undem: Helping Small Towns and Their People Thrive

    Rebecca Undem: Helping Small Towns and Their People Thrive

    Rebecca Undem lives in the small community of Oakes, North Dakota, and does a lot of work helping her town grow stronger, and helping her fellow rural residents become community leaders. But we know her advice and insights will speak to you no matter if you live in a town of 2,000 or two million.


    In this conversation hosted by Rachel Quednau, Undem talks about the choice to stay in or return to your hometown; the connections, family, and traditions you get to experience when you make that sort of life for yourself; and how that doesn’t mean losing out on career opportunities. In particular, Undem has been helping her region think through the ways that the rise of remote work can allow people to commit to their towns for the long haul. She believes remote employment and Main Street can actually grow together and benefit one another, and she’s led some creative initiatives to help people see those opportunities through her organization, Growing Small Towns. Undem also hosts a podcast under the same name.


    Additional Show Notes

    Growing Small Towns website and podcast





    Rebecca Undem’s website





    Visit our employment page to learn about our current job openings.





    Join the discussion about this episode in the Strong Towns Facebook Community group.





    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.





    Support this podcast by becoming a Strong Towns member today.

    • 30 min
    Rob Green: A Strong Towns Advocate and Mayor

    Rob Green: A Strong Towns Advocate and Mayor

    On this week’s episode of The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, we’re featuring a Strong Towns member and mayor of Cedar Falls, Iowa. In this interview with Rachel Quednau, Rob Green shares his journey from Coast Guard officer to neighborhood association president to mayor. 


    He’s passionate about government transparency and accessibility—so much so that he held office hours in the local grocery store to meet with constituents.


    This discussion gets into the nitty gritty of updating some zoning codes and figuring out government staffing in a midsize college town. Mayor Green also shares how he first got plugged into Strong Towns, his advice for people feeling disconnected from local decision-making, and why you should always carry a notebook.










    Additional Show Notes

    “Thank You from a Speculator” (land value tax video)





    Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity (the first Strong Towns book)





    Mayor Green’s Facebook page





    Visit our employment page to learn about our current job openings.





    Join the discussion about this episode in the Strong Towns Facebook Community group.





    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.





    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.





    Support this podcast by becoming a Strong Towns member today.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

Me95691566 ,

One of my favs

One of my favs

bkl5432 ,

Actionable step in each episode

Aside from always knowing that the host is “doing good, doing good” and hearing about the weather near the guest, this podcast always has really interesting interviews with a nice range of guests from elected officials, authors, or just citizens making their town better rather than running for greener pastures.

CTR6541 ,

Run For Something

Listened to the first episode and already love this. We all think nationally - but we live locally. That could mean serving on a town commission (sidewalk review panel or whatever) or serve as a town commissioner. Great podcast. Lively atmosphere.

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