From the October 2011 issue of Entrepreneur

Amy C. CosperWe hear a lot about reinvention--in business, politics, science and technology. It's the mantra of the age: Reinvent or relent. Businesses that fail to constantly challenge and remake themselves run the very real risk of becoming irrelevant.

Sometimes reinvention involves remaking a brand or rethinking a product--something as simple as shoes, maybe. Sometimes it's re-creating an experience, like the simple act of buying shoes.

It's anyone's guess why some companies don't reinvent, opting instead to crumble toward obsolescence. Sometimes arrogance prevents it. Sometimes the risks of change are too daunting to present to shareholders or investors. Sometimes the psychology of change is inhibiting. Mostly, it's just fear.

Sometimes entire economies need reinventing, which is increasingly apparent as we watch ours take a global pounding. Housing and jobs reports sound as gloomy as a Pink Floyd album. It's time to step back and reimagine the possibilities of what we can be--to stop trying to re-create what we were. It's time to take a decidedly more entrepreneurial approach to how we view our economy.

That means we must avert our gaze from the political proscenium and refocus on possibilities--specifically, possibilities in local economies. This month we look at a sector doing just that. With a solid nod to dirt, soil and manure, we explore local farming, farm-to-table, locavores--trends that are helping define a new local economy.

Several months ago, executive editor Jason Meyers and I sat down with writer Bruce Schoenfeld at The Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Boulder, Colo. When owner Kimbal Musk--who found much entrepreneurial success in the tech sector before he went to culinary school and got into the restaurant game--stopped by our table, the conversation turned to the real meaning of the farm-to-table movement. Is it just foodie hype, or does it have the ability to make a profound impact on local economies? Musk's passionate views on the importance of local food sourcing and restaurants as community "kitchens" planted the seed for this issue.

The numbers are pretty hard to ignore. Schoenfeld's elegant and insightful article digs deep into the idea of locally sourced food, local farming, job creation and how all of it can help bolster local economies.

While it's impossible to understate the economic crisis our country is experiencing, it is equally impossible to overstate the importance of strong local economies. They are the foundation of a strong national economy, which in turn is the cornerstone of a strong global economy. And all of it begins with a nod to entrepreneurial, hyperlocal thinking.

Amy C. Cosper
Amy C. Cosper,
Editor in chief
Follow me on Twitter, @EntMagazineAmy