Wilmington In Transition (WIT)

United States

In Sept. 2009, a handful of committed folks started out on our ‘muller’s path’ as a sponsored project of the non-profit peace and social justice group; Pacem in Terris of Delaware.  We are still recognized as one of their ‘projects’ by Pacem in Terris (who serves as our non-profit ‘fiscal sponsor’) and we think this is a natural fit, since social justice and peace are necessary to successful community building and transition initiatives!  We started with a book circle – reading the Transition Town Handbook, and decided to work towards catalysing some transition actions in Wilmington, DE.  Our numbers have expanded and contracted, as we try to feel our way forward to enlarge our ‘opting-in’ group of participants, with a goal of building capacity in our (action-oriented) working groups. 

Over the years, our core group has (and more recently, our working groups have) sponsored multiple seasonal series of events, including films on the topic of post-peak oil realities, lectures by both a world-class authority on climate change, as well as by local business people already actively engaged in sustainable food, and energy conservation.  We’ve held a very popular alternative holiday fair annually for 5 consecutive years, and a local ‘Staycation’ fair, to encourage local shopping, giving, gifting, and traveling.  We have also had a few different local film screening mini-festivals, local eco-tours, re-skilling events (mostly around growing and preserving food), and a variety of other actions and events. All of our events include sharing, and live music and (usually) treats – the aim is to build community and have some fun, while advancing the area’s transition to local, sustainable resilience.

As of May 2015, Wilmington In Transtion is the 155th ‘Official’ Transition Town Inititive in the USA. We are currently the sole Delaware representative on the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub Council, which is a regional, ‘best-practice’ sharing Transition group.

Wilmington In Transition has an active and productive Food Working Group, and a busy Outreach & Education Working Group (which essentially IS our ‘core group,’ and currently serves as our ‘inner transition’ group, too!). Our Local Economy Working Group is ad-hoc, and focused primarily on our Time Bank, and our Annual Local Holiday Fair, but also sponsors our ‘Bazaar Exhanges’ (free market events). Our Energy and Transportation Working Groups are still in their fledgling stages. WIT’s ‘core group’ has already put together some sucessful events and programs around the issues of local/renewable energy, and alternative/green transportation. We recognize the vital importance of these areas of focus in any successful transition to resilience, and eagerly seek the imput of some more ‘champions’ dedicated to growing these working groups!  We envision a future with active (distinct) ‘Inner Transtion,’ Arts & Culture, Water Conservation/Use, Waste/Recyling/Re-use, Holistic Health, and Transitioned-Education Working Groups (to name a few). Our ‘reach’ (mailing list of folks who’ve expressed interest, been involved in some events, and attended others) is about 220+ (more through ‘shared’ promotions with allied community partners, etc.), our core ‘active team’ fluxuates around 10-15 people, so we can use some more ‘doers’, for sure.  🙂

We are currently working on compiling (for print, and electronic) publication a ‘Local Green Pages’ – a resource guide to helpful services, venues and businesses who are local, and modeling sustainable practices.  This work is being informed by our unfolding efforts to conduct ‘concentric resilience mapping’ – evaluating what resources are available in our area, how local they are (distance of source from population in light of how essential the need for the sourced material – i.e.,  food, green builiding material, clothing, energy production), and how resilient they are to post-peak oil, and climate change.  This is an on-going work, and really underlies all that WIT hopes to accomplish over time.

In 2013, WIT launched a local Time Bank – The Delaware Hour Exchange.  This is the ultimate in local economics – beneficial to all, no money changes hands, and we help each other get our needs met.  Check it out, if you’re not yet familiar with Time Banking.

We chose WIT as our acronym, because we all agree some humor is needed in facing the challenges that face us all, while trying to sustain optimism and hope, and working to make real, positive differences for our collective future.  

We welcome all new Transition-minded folks, and even the ‘just curious’ – come to a meeting or event, and ask questions! 

We’ve recently added a second, regular monthly event – 2pm, the first Sunday of each month – as a ‘social meeting’.  Please see the WIT website calendar for details on this month’s ‘social meeting’ and venue/location!  We recognized that offering a World Cafe ‘open space’ influenced, or ‘Salon’ type of get together, where people can just socialize and enjoy Transition inspired conversations and networking with other community members (most meetings include an optional pot-luck snack or meal) is a preferred introduction for ‘newbies’.  The more ‘business-like’ meetings (with agendas and ‘reports from Working Groups’) on the 3rd Mondays of each month are also open to anyone who wishes to join us!

We’re all in this together!!!

Submitted by:

Laura Philon

Wilmington In Transition Coordinator