The January 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
By rob hopkins 16th January 2014
Due to Christmas, things have been a bit quiet on the Transition front, so this is a smaller round up than usual. We’ll start in Gloucestershire in England with a new video about the work of Transition Stroud. Transition Stroud have many themes of their work running, events coming up in early 2014 include the 2014 version of their highly popular Potato Day, a workshop on ‘Local Currencies and the Future of Money’ and a public meeting about how the community might respond to proposed fracking in their area. They just posted a great video that gives a sense of the breadth of the group’s work:
You can read more in their recently-published newsletter. Transition Worcester have been taking advantage of the dormant period, tweeting “Transition Worcester Orchard Workers – maintenance day at New College, Whittington Road, this Saturday, 25th January, starts 10am”.
In London, Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce, with the support of Crystal Palace Transition Town, are moving forward with their efforts to introduce the Palace Pound. The group have also been out on a ‘Bramble Bash’, tweeting that “The Bramble Bash team – so much achieved working together” (attaching the photo below)…
Transition Town Wandsworth were in their local paper recently in an article about their community garden. It read:
Every week volunteers tend to the garden, which is managed as a model of sustainability. Herbs, wildlife-attracting plants and edible plants all make up the garden, created in 2010. The garden is part of Transition Town Wandsworth, a group which works to meet the challenges of dwindling global oil reserves and climate change.
Transition Cobham is a new group which has emerged over recent months. They are soon to launch a crowdfunding appeal via Crowdfunder for the Transition Cobham Community Garden, an exciting new project to create a community garden in Elmbridge. You can read more about their appeal here.
Transition Town Totnes’ Inner Transition group recently held an evening called ‘Winds of Change’ which looked at how recent extreme weather events and Typhoon Haiyan affect people. In an excellent report on the event, they wrote:
“In giving space to really notice how it is to be living with ever more extreme weather events and other depressing news stories we create precisely the opposite response to a system that goes on denying, distracting from or devaluing the significance of what is happening in our world”.
Transition Leicester are running permaculture courses and are making a number of places available for half price to people on low incomes. Transition Cambridge have unveiled their plans for the next couple of months, and have their Seedy Sunday this Sunday, with Seed Swap, talks, film, cakes, children’s activities at Trumpington Village Hall, 1:30-4pm. More information here.
Holmfirth Transition Town ran an event on ‘affordable warmth in the Holme Valley‘. You can see the poster to the right. Hassocks, Hurstpierpoint, Keymer and Ditchling Transition (HHKD for short) have just launched a rather nice new website. Transition Worcester are offering the opportunity to learn how to carve a spoon. Transition Chichester’s first 2014 Swap Shop is happening on Saturday (25th), 10am-1pm Jubilee Hall, New Park. They tweeted “Come mingle, swap and find yourself some free gems!”
Transition Southampton’s TREEmendous Fruit Tree Project is now underway, a project they describe in this way:
Our TREEmendous project buys fruit trees in bulk at a reduced price and passes on the saving to local residents and community groups. In the past three years, 280 fruit trees have been planted in the Southampton area through this bulk buy scheme and many trees were donated to local schools and community spaces. The project aims to create more local food in Southampton and create a virtual orchard across the city.
Here is the poster they created for the event:
What are Transition Wilmslow up to this year? Now you can find out. Transition Haddenham recently held a cider competition. Here’s how it was reported at www.haddenham.net:
“Another of the judges, Michael Whitney, confirmed that it was the best job he had had all year! Winner and holder of the Haddenham Cider Competition Wassail Cup for 2014: Dave Watkins his brew ‘HappyL’, made with apples from his garden at Fort End. The judges agreed unanimously that it was a strong distinctive cider that was more appropriate to enjoy occasionally with friends, rather than with a meal. Dave said he was looking forward to showing the Wassail cup to his daughter who had ‘poo pooed’ his efforts!”
Readers might be warned that one of the runners up was named “Diaper Explosion”, clearly a delicate number with a floral bouquet.
Transition Town Brixton ran an event that built on their Local Economic Evaluation of last year, entitled Developing Transition Livelihoods. The aim of the event was stated as being
- to inspire people that making your living being part of the solution is possible;
- to hear from people who have begun to do this;
- to look at what the opportunities are for ‘transition enterprises’ that supply real local needs;
- to look at what it takes;
- and to begin to provide practical help to enable people to make the change to doing what they really want to do and being part of the solution.
Croydon Transition Town have published their list of meetings for 2014. Transition Letchworth just published their newsletter, as have Transition Kentish Town. Transition Reading’s Repair Cafe is back after a successful start last year (see photo below). This year’s event will feature:
- Sewing, clothing repair, knitting, crochet.
- Electronics and mechanics.
- Bike repair.
- Tool sharpening.
- Draught proofing for your house.
Transition Town Worthing have experienced something of a reinvigoration since Rob Hopkins visited the town as part of one of 2013’s Transition Thursdays. They have seen the emergence of many new projects, as detailed here. One of those events is their ‘Sow and Grow’ Seed Swap event. Here’s a press release they put out about it:
“From a small seed-swap event five years ago, volunteers from Transition Town Worthing have grown a keenly anticipated celebration of local food and gardening.
On Saturday 8th February they host the ‘Spring Sow and Grow Fair’ at Oak Grove College, The Boulevard, Worthing. Starting at 12.30pm, visitors, amongst them Mayor Cllr Bob Smytherman and the Mayoress Cllr Norah Fisher, will be greeted by enticing aromas from a special lunchtime menu of hot food. Created from locally-sourced ingredients by Chef Guy French, after a sell-out success last year, by popular demand this year’s menu will include freshly caught local fish from the new Worthing sustainable-fishing ‘Catchbox’ scheme; Spring lamb from the South Downs and local-grown vegetarian options.
On sale will be herbs, annuals, perennials, vegetables and grow-your-own mushroom kits for gardeners of all size and shape plots, from window-ledges up to orchards, while free talks by experts provide advice and inspiration for growing success.
Indoors will be over 30 stalls to browse: from local, home-grown and artisan-crafted, foods, preserves, organic skin care products, up-cycled fashion and accessories, to local wildlife and conservation groups. Visitors will also get the chance to buy and swap plant seeds collected by local gardeners and horticultural volunteer groups.
Outside a warming open camp-fire, with more food choices, awaits explorers of the intriguing design features, sculptures and hideaways in the college’s multi-award-winning gardens. Add in a pop-up café with reviving afternoon tea and tasty home-baked cakes; a distinctly local musical flavour with lively entertainment from the (Heritage Lottery Funded) South Downs Song Project singers to hands-on learning and fun activities, and the Spring Fair promises to beat the worst of the weather with something for everyone to enjoy.
Major partners for the Transition Worthing Spring Fair this year are Southern Water, the Co-Operative South East, the Fish Factory restaurant as well as Worthing Allotment holders”.
People are saying nice things about Transition. Oliver Tickell, editor of the Ecologist, had this to say about it recently:
As you’ll know from previous round-ups, Rob Hopkins visited the US in October, and here is a short video from his visit to Los Angeles and Emerson Community Garden:
Transition KW in Canada also held a Repair Cafe. To Portugal now, and to Coimbra, who sent us the following story:
“This year started with a sensitive loss for our Transition initiative: we had to close our pulsing heart, our flourishing community garden in Coimbra’s Botanical Garden. From 2009, we transformed this abandoned corner step by step into a welcoming place to meet, share and experiment.
Discussing about our future, we realised we had not lost our “soul”, that the will to come together, sharing the pleasure of living a more connected, resilient everyday life is within and between us. Why did we feel “at home” together? What is our “glue”?
During our shared inquiry, we met in public spaces and participated in activities organised by other organisations promoting alternatives for Coimbra. How on earth didn’t we know about each other before? Why was there so much redundancy and so many missed opportunities for mutual support? We did not need a house for ourselves, we needed to be at home in Coimbra, sharing resources with other groups and creating shared places.
We found ourselves working with enthusiasm on formalising our initiative as an association, giving caring attention to how we work together, how we integrate new members, how we collaborate and how we foster initiatives. It also allows us to establish protocols with official entities.
Together with Coimbra Municipality we started a “free space” in Rua Direita, a street in the old, historic center of town last summer. A place to “walk in”, free of the current rules of everyday life, to become creative about what citylife could be. An urban art project led to the creation of a small garden with the active participation of neighbours and other persons passing by that were attracted by the activities. Meeting each other regularly, from one thing grows another, creating the conditions for the germination of spontaneous new ideas. Within a few months, the space has become part of social life.
Almost every day there are new challenges coming up. We spend a lot of time in conversation around decision making, deconstructing and reconstruction. We are still only a few with real availability and we are constantly asking ourselves how to support spontaneous creativity. We are ever more interested in finding practical leverage points that actually make a difference.
We wish you all strength and joy in finding what works in your community and are eager to share!”
From Italy, here is a video of Cristiano Bottone giving a succinct and clear answer to the question “what is Transition?”. In Italian of course …
Transition Town Media, along with Food & Water Watch Pennsylvania and Delaware Riverkeeper Network, is going to present the film Gasland Part II on Friday January 24th at Media Friends, 125 West 3rd Street, Media, PA.
Pennsylvania is a leading state in the fracking industry. Gasland II, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing our nation today.
The movement to share seeds is growing across the globe and the Healdsburg Regional Library in California, is the newest venue where community members can “borrow” seed. Anyone taking seeds to plant is invited to share the seeds by bringing seeds from their planted crop to the seed library. It’s an honor system that has proven to work in other places.
A Transition town meeting is going to be organised at the Kamloops Art Gallery, in British Columbia, Canada, on Saturday, Jan. 25, to start to make Kamloops a sustainable place to live. From Australia, Costa Georgiadis, described by Wikipedia as “an Greek-Australian landscape architect and television personality, best known as the host of the SBS TV gardening show, Costa’s Garden Odyssey”, features in this video being effusive about Transition Bondi:
… and here’s a short video from Bondi about how to make ‘Weed Tea’, not some sort of psychedelic brew, but rather a plant feed made from green material:
… and how to make a compost heap:
In Nambour (see logo, right), some of the group followed up the demand for a community garden in town and it is now in place and a couple of years down the track.
In Germany, one of the main German newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a very detailed, inspiring article about Transition movement, especially about the activities in Germany. Beside of the article, what gives a nice overview of the various activities of German initiatives, you can read four portraits about four people with totally different backgrounds, now active in one of the Transition initiatives in Germany. The personal storries bring the issue nearer to the reader. You can watch the video to see the inspiring Transition initiatives of Bielefeld, Witzenhausen or Tempelhof.
The German language version of the book ’The power of Just Doing Stuff’ is going to be published on 24 February 2014. The book has an extra chapter about Transition activities in German speeking countries. This is the first German language transition book since 2008. You can already order the book on the website of German speaking transition initiatives.
We’ll leave you with this from the US. During December, we invited Transition initiatives around the world to send in their messages of festive connection, which we gathered together here. One fell down the back of the email sofa, and we’ll close with Transition Amherst in the US and their belated Season’s Greeting:
“Happy Winter Solstice to Everyone! May 2014 bring you and your community an ever expanding circle of friendship, good work, fun, less dependence on fossil fuels, more delicious food, and greater resilience!
Transition Amherst and friends are celebrating our new cooperative market in town, which Bernard affectionately named “All Things Local”. The market opened two weeks ago and the shelves are filling up as more and more local producers are joining the cooperative.
The market offers locally produced foods and crafts – from vegetables to pottery, cheese to salsa, and wool to candles. It is an indoor, year-round farmers market. Producers and consumers own it together, as members.
We created the market to make it easier for producers to sell locally and for consumers to buy locally. Most local farmers are unable to sell products in the seven food stores within five miles of our university town. Big Box stores and national corporations make it difficult for small producers to get shelf space. Even when farmers are able to sell small potatoes to a grocery chain store, they only get 30-40% of the sales price.
In our cooperative market, 80% of the retail price goes to producers! Twenty percent of the sales price stays with the cooperative to cover rent, utilities and staff and other overhead costs. Each producer has their own space – their own shelf or spot. Each producer decides what to sell & sets the price. It’s fast & easy for producers to drop off their products. Volunteers and staff run a central checkout, reducing costs for producers, helping everyone make a living.
To celebrate the market, Transition Amherst and friends had a potluck of local foods. One of the market’s bakers – Dorie’s Backyard Bakery – offered taste-tests of bread made with two kinds of locally-grown wheat! (Dorie delivers her bread by bicycle and by electric-and-pedal-powered Elf!
The market will always have some items – bread and baked goods, meats, milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream, root vegetables, greens, onions and garlic, personal care products, frozen vegetables and frozen prepared foods such as soup. There are wood products, wool rugs, cards and local art. Other items will vary with the seasons. Winter arugula and spinach is in right now, along with a beautiful array of yellow, green, orange and striped squashes. The store is filled with crafts for the holiday season. I bought a dozen Christmas presents – beautifully crafted jewelry and pottery, soap and wool, plus jars of salsa, jam and maple syrup.
We’re discovering how much more items are made locally than we realized! The producers are starting to talk about new enterprises and new food products they might start growing, because of All Things Local.
Now the market is going to double in size, immediately! The landlord is so excited about how the co-op will improve the downtown (where he has a number of properties) that he has decided to take the leap with us and invest in making the market bigger. A beloved independent bookstore next door has been on the edge of collapse. The landlord is now investing his own money in reconfiguring the space so that many local businesses – the bookstore and the farmers, craftspeople and new entreprenuers – can cooperate together, and survive and thrive.
Sharon, a member of Transition Shutesbury, makes shoes and teaches others how to make their own shoes. She is a passionate member and volunteer at the market: “This market is bringing my craft to more people. They’re already selling out of the felt baby shoes. I have to make more this week!”
Lots of Love to You, Our Community Colleagues in Resilience!