Bob Russell Resilience Reading Project

Regional Book Club Carries Forward Work of Local Activist

November 26, 2013 | |

The death of local activist and environmentalist Bob Russell left a huge void in northern Michigan. His longtime dedication to justice, connection to the earth, and his belief in the importance of knowledge anchored a life of service and achievement. Bob had many talents indeed, but it was his passion for learning—his discipline to study and his unyielding drive to gather information—that, as much as anything, defined his effectiveness as a leader and will be missed in northern Michigan.

It’s in that spirit of knowledge and learning that the Michigan Land Use Institute, along with several other regional groups and businesses, is launching the Bob Russell Resilience Reading Project.

Before Bob’s passing, he shared with his friends and colleagues a carefully curated list of books he felt can help us understand what we can do to make sure our community is economically, environmentally, and socially as healthy and resilient as possible.

The idea behind the new reading project is a simple one: In each season of the year, a broad community will come together to read one of the books recommended by Bob, discuss its themes and lessons, celebrate the region’s strengths, and acknowledge the work that remains.

The project kicks off this winter with “Cooked,” by Michael Pollan, who argues that our own health and the health of our food system depend on one rule: Cook your own food. The book taps into northern Michigan’s incredible agricultural heritage, our love of great dishes, and our booming local food economy.

You can pick up a copy of “Cooked”—and all the other books on Bob’s list—at Horizon Books and local libraries. Then follow along with fellow readers at, or on Facebook, and join us on Feb. 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the inaugural book discussion at Horizon.

Bob Russell Resilience Reading List

  • “Cooked,” by Michael Pollan
  • “Owning Our Future,” by Marjorie Kelly
  • “Local Dollars, Local Sense,” by Michael Shuman
  • “The Resilience Imperative,” by Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty
  • “For the Common Good,” by Herman E. Daly
  • “The Energy Reader,” edited by Tom Butler, George Wuernther, Daniel Lerch
  • “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman
  • “The Surprising Design of Market Economies,” by Alex Marshall
  • “What’s the Economy For, Anyway?” by John DeGraaf
  • “The Future,” by Al Gore
  • “Full Planet, Empty Plates,” by Lester Brown
  • “Rebuilding the Foodshed,” by Philip Ackerman-Leist
  • “The World in 2050,” by Laurence C. Smith
  • “The Wealth of Nature,” by John Michael Greer

Reading Project Partners

·      Michigan Land Use Institute

·      Neahtawanta Center

·      Investigating Community Resilience

·      Earthworks

·      Higher Grounds

·      Citizens Climate Lobby

·      Cherry Republic

·      Food for Thought

·      Oryana Natural Foods Market

·      TC350

·      Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce

·      ISLAND

·      FLOW

·      NMEAC

·      Sustainable TC

·      SEEDS

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