Transition Network’s REconomy project started in 2011 with the aim of helping to build the capacity of Transition groups (and others) to transform their local economy. We don’t offer direct support to individual entrepreneurs or enterprises – our focus is at the level of the community, exploring how Transition groups can gain confidence, build effective partnerships, access information and dream up imaginative approaches which build resilience, offer opportunities and hope and model systems of trade and exchange that are sustainable, equitable and anchored in wellbeing.
The REconomy project has been running longest in the UK. If you are in the UK, click here to go to the project website where you will find some great resources designed with the UK context in mind plus opportunities to connect with others who are active in this area of work.
There is an active worldwide REconomy practitioners community of practice which meets regularly online to share inspiration and support and explore the potential for more structured collaboration – find out more here.
On this page, we share some resources that we think might have value beyond their country of origin. See what you think!
Cheerful disclaimer / Health Warning
Like the rest of Transition, the REconomy Project is an experiment, a real live economic laboratory at community level, and we are all learning as we go. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we share stories and resources that seem to work, based on our current understanding, and with the best of intentions. Any ideas that are sparked should be considered within your own local context, taking full account of your local economic and ecological systems.
This guide aims to aims to help people stage local or regional events themed around transforming a local economy including how to engage local community, business and other organisations in REconomy work through these events:
Funding your core activities guide:
This guide is for any group that wants to think creatively about how it funds its core activities, including but not exclusively for REconomy activity. It is written for Transition Initiatives in the UK but others might find useful ideas and some non-UK examples are included. You can download it here.
Here are some examples of projects and activities designed to support new or existing businesses. Some of them have a particular focus on what we term Transition Enterprises, while others seek to influence and support businesses more generally.
- Events that stimulate local entrepreneur interest e.g. Transition Town Totnes Local Entrepreneur Forum
- Plugging the Leaks workshop approach – simple application at Transition Town Brixton event and full NEF toolkit. Also see nef’s Re-imagine your High Street resources
- Crystal Palace Transition’s Local and Fair Guide – a sustainable shopping and eating directory
- Transition Dorking Golden Ticket Day – innovative way to support local businesses and raising awareness
- Totally Locally – ‘more than a shop local campaign’ with free campaign guides and resources being used by some Transition groups
Transition New Forest Food Challenge – events and challenge to support the local food economy
As Transition groups develop their capacity and their relationships, they often identify more substantial changes that would build resilience and support wellbeing within their local economic system – for example, increasing the availability of land, space and support for entrepreneurs, helping existing businesses to change their models, and improving access to the right types of skills and investment. Some Transition groups are then coming together with other partners to find ways to transform the local economic infrastructure. Here are a few examples:
This approach aims to build a partnership of local stakeholder organisations, agree a wellbeing-led purpose for the local economy, quantifies local economic opportunities in key resilience-building sectors (food, renewables, retrofitting etc.), defines a 3 year action plan to turn opportunities into jobs, then works with the stakeholder group to implement the plan. In the UK, this process has been piloted by Transition Town Totnes, Transition Town Brixton and the Herefordshire in Transition Alliance – you can download the reports and read more about the pilot projects.
Sustaining Dunbar Action Plan
A Scottish Transition Town has developed a low-carbon economy focused Community Local Resilience Action Plan. This looks at food, energy, transport, health and enterprise skills & education. It outlines a vision, the challenges and potential solutions, and required activities. A ‘logic diagram’ for each sector shows aims, milestones, actions, external factors etc. They have made a start on a number of strands, are moving towards having a stakeholder group, and hope to use bits of the Economic Evaluation approach to quantify their local economic opportunities.
Food Shift, Colorado, USA
Transition Colorado commissioned a report called The 25% Shift: The Benefits of Food Localization for Boulder County and How to Realize Them. Like the Economic Evaluation work, this report analysed the local food system and estimates the economic impacts (jobs etc.) of moving a quarter of the way toward fully meeting local demand for food with local production, processing, and distribution. They offer ideas for programmes and investment priorities, including enabling enterprises at the heart of the food system. They are now running a campaign to get people and businesses pledging to spend 10% on local food, and building networks of local businesses and entrepreneurs. They are planning how to help other groups get started with a similar approach.
Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition Group (JP NET), USA
Boston-based JP NET has economic change at the heart of its mission. Here’s a post by Orion from JP NET that gives you a good sense of their approach and some of their practical projects.