"It's amazing. I've been living in Portalegre for ever, 37 years, and I have felt my community and my city crumble, people turning their backs on each other. The community garden we created tells me it is possible to do things with other people. It is possible, we just need to wake up to each other again."
Practical projects are central to developing Transition as they are creating the world that we want to live in. They show people in your community that Transition can actually make a changes at a local level that are positive and benefit them directly. They also provide your group with something very concrete to focus on and develop. Combined with this they also:
- Provide people with lots of different ways to get involved Transition
- Promote the Transition idea in your community
- Can lead to the creation of jobs and social businesses
- Empower people through helping them to develop new skills
Frequently asked questions about practical projects.
Find out what practical projects are happening already in your community, Transition or otherwise? Can you give them some more profile? This might be a way to start telling the story of new ideas and projects and enterprises which can inspire others to do the same. Also read The 21 stories of Transition for inspiration.
Maybe have a contest, give out a prize for the best idea? Look at the needs of your community and start from there. Many communities start with the basics like Food or energy. There are many local community owned energy companies up and running across Europe, and in other parts of the world.
See the REconomy project web page for some great ideas. Particularly the free download The New Economy in 20 Enterprises.
It’s important, if you don’t have a track record of developing projects or enterprises or have people with the relevant skills, to adopt the permaculture principle of start small, start slow. Take on an easy to get off the ground project like Incredible Edible or guerrilla gardening and then go from there.
Yes! There are many things you can start with which require very little financial outlay if any. Think of resource as not just money but time, passion, goodwill, and enthusiasm. As long as you have plentiful of those qualities then money will not get in your way. A Transition film club for instance can be financially self sustaining if you charge a small fee to see the films. A seed swap similarly is great fun and very popular and needs nothing but enthusiasm and a small admission fee. A remakery similarly is great fun and requires very little if any money. Using the gift economy is a great way to explain some of the values embedded in Transition.
See our infosheet on project ideas for the early stages of Transition for more ideas.
See the Reconomy section on this website.. This is a treasure trove of information and ideas of how others have approached this really important part of Transition and created enterprises that not only make money but fulfil a host of other fundamental human needs like community cohesion, affection, maintaining a healthy ecosystem, providing goods and services to the poorest and most vulnerable in our community that might otherwise be unobtainable, and many others.
You will need to think careful though about questions like who owns what and why, who controls the business, how decisions are made, and the relationship to the Transition group.
This is a very important question that many Transition groups have answered in different ways. It is important to keep holding community involvement and other educational events as this continually draws into your project people who you have not yet managed to engage. Just because you see the need for Transition many others still do not.
Some funding for an administrator and an office can help to make the core more solid and take away some of the more mundane but necessary jobs that volunteers might struggle to do. Sometimes the core needs to take a break and you all need to trust that the right people will turn up to restart it with a new burst of energy and enthusiasm. Many Transition groups have gone through this life cycle. You can also hold a visioning day where you all come together to revision the purpose and next steps of your Transition group. This might also unlock energy and enthusiasm for doing this work.