Could a Community Potluck Help Make Your Town Stronger?


Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a weekly Strong Towns podcast that gives you the wisdom and encouragement you need to take the small yet powerful actions that can make your city or town stronger.

It’s the Little Things features Strong Towns Community Builder Jacob Moses in conversation with various guests who have taken action in their own places and in their own ways.

Flashback to summer 2015 when we created our first formal, strategic plan for Strong Towns.

We identified our mission, how we hoped to accomplish it, and—most important—chose our primary strategy that would drive our efforts as an organization: that the change we seek will occur when a million Americans care enough to share our message with others. And that our efforts are to create those million people.

As a small team, we know what we’re good at: using our media, events, and network to spread the Strong Towns message as broadly as possible—to reach a million people.

But to get those million people to share our message is more challenging. That’s why, in early 2018, we created our Local Conversations, where Strong Towns readers and members who share a geography step up and meet—either online or in-person—to discuss how Strong Towns concepts can make their own cities and towns stronger and spread the message locally.

These groups are essential to helping us achieve our mission. And, as you’ll learn in this episode, anyone—from citizens to leaders, professionals to neighbors, and everyone in between—has the ability and expertise to step up and create a Local Conversation.

In this episode, I chat with Jordan Deffenbaugh: he’s the primary organizer of a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Local Conversation called Strong Towns Sioux Falls. The Local Conversation started in June 2018 and—what started as two guys meeting weekly at a coffee shop—has grown into a group of enthusiastic strong citizens who are reclaiming Sioux Falls as a place where everyone can play a role in making the city stronger.

His secret to successfully spreading the Strong Towns message and growing the Local Conversation: throwing a community potluck.

In this episode, we’ll discuss how you—no matter your background—can spread the Strong Towns message locally, in particular, through Local Conversations, including how to spread the vision among your neighbors, how to give your neighbors a sense of ownership in the process, and, most important, how to get into the nitty-gritty of making your city or town stronger.

(Top photo via Jordan Deffenbaugh.)