Transition Network UK News
Let's start on the UK's south coast, where Transition Town Worthing's annual beach clean-up was given a boost through some funding from Southern Water, which covered their insurance and 100 high visibility jackets. Barbara Shaw from TTW (right, with David Bone from Southern Water) told The Worthing Herald:
“It’s reassuring to have the backing of an important environmental organisation like Southern Water. The beach clean attracts around a hundred volunteers participating in a well organised scientific survey of coastal litter. With the help of Southern Water we now have the certainty of covering some essential overheads for the next three years, which as a voluntary group is a huge relief.”
Transition Town Whitehead in Northern Ireland have been planting a community orchard, funded by the recently introduced Plastic Bag levy. Here's a rather lovely film they made about it:
Transition Town Reading have been out planting trees in two community orchard sites, with another two sites planned for next year. Rich Waring, of TTR, said:“In these tough economic times we can’t rely on a constant stream of grant money, so we’re using what we’ve been given to teach ourselves how to thrive without it. The funding secured for the project covers six orchard sites over three years, and the plan is to build the skills in the community to allow us to plant further community orchards around the town without the need for further grant money.”
Transition Letchworth were recently celebrating becoming an official Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Southend in Transition have been building some fine new beds on their community allotment. Transition Loughborough have also been busy. They tweeted "The fruit cage frame is up! Workshop about to start with Andy showing how to grow soft fruit & make Hugelkuktur beds", and posted the following photo.
Transition Town Walthamstow have been running a series of gardening courses. You can learn all about how to nurture veg, fruit bushes and vines. As part of the Cultivate Urban Food Growing Festival, Transition Walthamstow & the Walthamstow Family Bike Club ralso an a special bike ride on Sunday 30th March 2014 to explore food growing sites between Walthamstow & Chingford.
The Bristol Pound appeared on Dutch TV:
An ongoing skills and practical training project from TT-Bridport in Dorset continues to go from strength to strength with the support of over 6 local organisations (see right). Known as the Home Counties here in the UK, Transition groups from Beds, Bucks and Herts were invited along by TT- Berkhamsted to a regional conference/big push for local resilience.
Transition Streets is going well in St Albans, the group asking "if you would like to join a Streets group in your area, then give us your details and, when we spot a few people who live near each other, we’ll put you in touch. Just give us your name, the name of your street, and your postcode".
In addition to the now thriving community market (see left), TT Marlow in Bucks will be turning the market into a hub for sharing practical expertise with regular Skills Workshops.
According to Horncastle News, "Transition Town Horncastle are hosting a festival in May and want local residents to find out the benefits of renewable energy". The event takes place on May 17th and will feature information, talks, workshops, and even electric and hydrogen-powered cars. There will be a range of experts to answer peoples' questions on both renewable energy generation and energy-saving. Jean Peacock from the group said “we do research into what is available for ordinary people to use and this is why we are having the Energy Festival.”
On Sunday May 25th, Transition Bristol will be hosting its 'Small Green Sunday', which it describes as "a gathering and lunchtime garden party, celebrating the amazing grassroots transition and sustainability work going on in and around Bristol". It will be held at the Trinity Centre and starts at 10am (see flyer below).
In the last Round up there were lots of Seedy Saturdays and Seedy Sundays, but here's news of the first Transition Tuesday. Transition Redhill held theirs on March 18th. Transition Langport have been busy... They tweeted:Faithful #Transition #Langport #litter pickers collected 6 sacks of rubbish picked from community & wildlife areas
... and the following photo:
The end of March saw Whitstable Transition hosting an East Kent Transition gathering, inviting Transition initiatives from their wider region. Here's their invitation:
Do come to this special gathering of transitional activists and hear about other positive community, environmental, sustainability, 'transition town' initiatives that are going on all across East Kent and beyond. Meet like minded and like hearted folk.
No word yet on how it went. Here's Transition Belper's latest newsletter. Gill Jacobs who writes about food and health issues, and who is a member Transition Kentish Town, gathered together some fellow members of the group recently to teach them about fermented foods, and wrote it up for The Guardian. She began:
I'm part of the Transition Network where I live in north London, and naturally a lot of our conversations focus on food. I got chatting to the people who run a local veg box scheme, and we decided to collaborate on an event that would teach people how to make ferments such as sauerkraut, as well as explaining the science behind it.
For the third year in a row, members of TT-Exmouth (Devon) planted a number of new trees courtesy of Exmouth Town Council which included hazel, willow, field maple, rowan, oak and silver birch (see right).
Transition Dorking's community orchard continues to go from strength to strength. You can join them on May 18th for a "Blossom Picnic". Good name for a band that. They write:
We did have the biggest crowd in the orchard so far, when over 140 people came to the very successful “Wassailing” event in January, and are delighted that this resulted in quite a few new “Friends” signing up to support the orchard. So we are gradually getting better known. We will definitely be wassailing again next year!
Transition Town Tooting held their Spring Growing Celebration and Seed Swap which sounded great. Here is the poster:Here's a collage they made of images from the day:
May 13th sees the third Local Entrepreneurs' Forum in Totnes. It's an amazing event, and here's the rather fine poster. If you want to come you can register here.
The Garden Earth blog also ran an article by Gunnar Rundgren which looked at Transition in Totnes, in particular it's work around local food. Ealing Transition Town tweeted:Great way to spend a lovely Spring day: 10 trees planted, forest garden off the mark! Thanks 2 everyone who helped, dig, plant, weed & trim!
Transition Chichester have also been gardening. Here they are at work in the Bishops Palace Gardens:
To Germany now. According to national hub co-ordinator Gerd Wessling, after 4 years in "legal limbo", Transition Germany finally managed to give itself a legal structure! The NGO "Transition Netzwerk e.V." was created in Göttingen/Germany on March 15 & 16 2014. It will be located in the small town of Witzenhausen in the center of Germany and was created in an intense & joyful 2 day workshop by 17 representatives and long-term Transition activits, who represented many different German Transition intitiatives.
It is open to all to become a member; be they individual Transitioners or Transition initiatives (who can join the network as such). It will serve our German network in handling legal and financial issues, but will not BE the network itself. More on our general structure will be discussed in the large Transition D/A/CH (German-speaking countries) network meeting, which currently is planned for probably (3)/4/5 Oct 2014. More about the new NGO in German here.
On March 17 & 18th all currently 7 active German Transition Trainers met for the first time together in person in the city of Essen, to intensively work & talk about how to best evolve our very succesful German Transition courses (called "Werkzeuge des Wandels") in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. More about the results will soon be posted here.
Charles Eisenstein will be at the University of Bielefeld / Germany April 26th (15:30h) & 27th (9h to 15h) for a talk & a workshop. The talk (no bookings required), will be entitled "Money, Gift, and Society in an Age of Transition". The workshop (booking required), is called "(Transition) Activism and Leadership intensive" and you can book here.
Here is a video about the work of Transition Town Haren in the Netherlands:
Here also is a film about Transition Town Zutphen ...
From Italy here is a film of a presentation featuring Martina Francesca, one of the founders of Transition Italia and Oreste Magni, Vice President of the SCEC (an alternative currency scheme) in Lombardia:
New Zealand's Nelson Mail ran a piece by Gord Stewart called Transition Towns are on the Rise, which follows his experience of starting a Transition initiative in his community:
Then I received an email from Ben, a young dairy farmer living nearby. Ben wrote, "Is there a Transition group in our town? I'd like to get involved." I thought: "No, there isn't, but there should be." Now, I'm not the community organiser type, so my intention was to write about Transition Towns - spread word as best I thought I could - then get on with life.
But it wasn't to be. Ben and I decided to give it a go - show our environmental "stripes" and see if we could get something started in our community.
Transition KW (Kitchiner/Waterloo) published their Climate Adaptation Toolkit. They held an event to launch it too... Sylvie Spraakman from Transition KW wrote for this website and told me about the story of how the Toolkit came about.
Here is a report from Juan del Rio in Spain.
"Transitioners of all over the world, we would like to share a quick new about what is going on in Spain in this beginning of spring 2014. The Spanish Transition hub has just launched its new Transition website in Spanish. A collaborative work from people of different initiatives that after long months is finally there. A website that wants to catalyse the movement in Spain and help the Spanish spoken countries in general. It will try to connect the initiatives, inform about what initiatives are doing, about Transition trainings and events, and give a big array of resources to help initiatives with their challenging work. Here we share the new logo of “Red de Transición España”. We hope you like it, use the web, and help us to disseminate it.
The website was launched in a very interesting meeting co-organised by the Spanish Transition Hub, called “Barriers and Oportunities for Social initiatives towards Sustainability” that brought together, different social and ecological initiatives, academia, and people from institutions from Barcelona and other places. The main objectives of the meeting were to show the results of the Project “Barriers and Opportunities for Building Resilience: A Critical Assessment of Transition Initiatives in Spain” done with the Transition Research Network, present the new website, present the new European network ECOLISE, and finally to make a participatory world cafe to discuss among everyone about the main barriers, opportunities for social initiatives towards sustainability, as well as create synergies among them. The results were very rich and hopefully they will help to the different initiatives. Here you can download them (in Spanish).
To Serbia now. Nikola Burić from Novi Sad in Serbia got in touch with us. Nikola is part of ZELENA TAČKA, an environmental/educational hub. After having learnt via a quick internet search that Serbian and Croatian are similar languages (different dialects) we put Nikola in contact with Nenad Maljkovic from Transition Croatia/ZMAG.
Nikola has already organised a screening of In Transition 2.0 (using the Croatian subtitles) and is reading and using material from the Transition Network website to weave in to ZELENA TAČKA. Watch this space for an emerging Transition Serbia National Hub!
From Japan, here is an article by Jun Omuru in The Japan Times about Transition Town Hamamatsu which is a 3 year old Transition initiative in Western Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.
In Queensland, Australia, a Fraser Coast Chronicle reader decided to go along to a Transition Town Hervey Bay (TTHB) meeting expecting a gentle chit chat about gardening over a cup of coffee. Instead, she got sleepless nights after a rude awakening to the vulnerability of the banking system! Read her story here.
There are a number of fantastic posts on the FB page of TTHB. The Bank of England story she refers to is dated 25 March and is courtesy of Positive Money.
Lastly to the US. Sustainable Berea, Kentucky hosted its fifth annual Local Foods Expo, bringing together 38 exhibitors and hundreds of hungry guests (despite rainy weather) to celebrate the vibrant local food system. Sustainable Berea is also planning a 1.4 acre urban farm and orchard. Fifty-four community members attended the first open meeting to provide input on the farm!
Later this month, Transition Town Media, Pennsylvania will be hosting “Happiness Week” with daily events like a Spring Bird Walk, screening of the documentary "Happy," a Flash Mob, Children's Improv Workshop, Happiness Yoga, and more.
The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) hosted a Resilient Response to Extreme Weather potluck & discussion, an innovative approach to broadening Transition's reach by engaging faith communities around the launch of the new movie “Noah.” Read more in this blog post about Unlikely Suspects – Deep Outreach by Pamela Boyce Simms.
In Northern California, Transition US partnered with Art of Hosting to organize a 3-day Art of Participatory Leadership training which brought together more than fifty Transition and community resilience leaders to hone their facilitation skills. Another training is happening this weekend, April 11-13 in Saco, Maine. Read more about Hosting the Toughest Conversations of Our Time.
During the month of May, Transition US will be hosting the Community Resilience Challenge (formerly known as the Transition Challenge), now in its 4th year. Join Transitioners across the US in taking action to save water, conserve energy, grow food and build community!
On March 15, 65 people from across New England gathered at Antioch University in Keene, NH, to discuss the resilience of New England as a whole. Grounded in the region's deep history, participants provided feedback on a regional resilience concept paper and came up with nine initiatives to start building regional resilience, including a "Whole New England Catalog" and a Transition Research Network of students and academics. Read more or view the short video organizers used to invite people to think about organizing at a regional level.
That's it for this month! See you in 4 weeks time...
This month sees a new Digest which brings together all the articles on the theme of the month. REconomy relaunches its website and has a job offer, Transition Free Press gets ready to relaunch, ideas of reusing stuff, saying goodbye to supermarkets and a school dips in its river. Plus new training, the World Roundup and of course much more.
The Transitioners Digest
Our theme for March was 'Living with Climate Change', which we explored from a variety of angles. The month was framed by an opening editorial which reflected on how different the storms of 2014 felt from previous extreme weather episodes and reflected on the response to the storms from various quarters. It is fitting that our theme drew to a close on the day the latest IPCC report was published.
- "The biggest diplomatic challenge of all time" is what Sir David King told Sarah McAdam. He calls this "the big moment to achieve a global agreement" on climate change.
- Our conversation with George Marshall of COIN discussed why it is that being exposed to extreme weather doesn't necessarily increase awareness of climate change, and how Transition initiatives should discuss climate change in their communities following the storms.
- Sophy Banks argued that "if we were rational, we'd have climate change sorted by now".
- Guy Watson of Riverford Organic Farm talked about the realities of trying to run a farm in the face of extreme weather.
- Chris Rowland talked about how OVESCO are now running a peer mentoring scheme for local communities.
- Our interview with Paul Kingsnorth, a founder of the Dark Mountain Project encouraged concluded that the useful thing you can do is keep telling the truth and get on with doing what useful work you can do at your local level.
- Katherine Knox of Joseph Rowntree Foundation introduced us to 'climate injustice', and the social impacts of the recent floods and who stands to lose the most from climate-related impacts.
- We also heard from Transitioners around the world reflecting on what climate change looks like where they live. Reports include from Los Angeles and the drought that has been affecting California; what climate mitigation looks like in a Netherlands community; two reports from the Somerset Levels; the sheer power of the storms on the Isles of Scilly.
- By far the most popular article of last month was our Open Letter to the BBC in response to Nigel Lawson's appearance on Radio 4's Today Programme. We followed up this month with a response to the BBC's reply to the huge numbers of people who objected. The flood of complaints resulted, finally, in the closest thing to an apology from the programme's producer.
For all these stories above and an overview of what we've covered, the highlights and some key insights:
Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
We have reports of removing mountains of rubbish on South Norwood High Street, Brockley going a-wassailing, the Kingston Pound to be piloted, a Skillshare event in Cambridge, Loughborough creating a community allotment, Sandmount in Dublin held Ireland's first ever Repair Cafe. Plus news from Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, USA, and Uruguay.
New REconomy Project Website Helps You Transform Your Local Economy
Transition groups everywhere are already running brilliant, inspiring projects and enterprises that create new livelihoods. We’ve re-done our resources and website to make it easier for you to do the same.
Introducing Paid Work to Your Transition Group
Funding is always a good thing, right? Well it can also cause big problems if you introduce paid work to a mainly volunteer group without careful consideration of the issues. This simple PDF guide will help you anticpate and deal with them.
Get Paid to Help REconomy Ideas Spread in the UK
Are you excited by the idea of helping Transition groups transform their local economy and create new livelihoods? Here's a paid opportunity to work with the REconomy Project team.
TRANSITION FREE PRESS
May 1st sees the relaunch of Transition Free Press (TFP) following its successful pilot which produced four very popular and high quality papers. The relaunch also represents a shift in emphasis for the paper. Alexis Rowell, TFP’s Managing Editor, says that “the focus is shifting slightly to include anything that is “Transition-like” without necessarily being Transition.
What will really make a difference to make sure that TFP thrives is the number of people who sign up to become subscribers, paying £15 a year in advance for four copies. Do you know a friend or relative who might enjoy a subscription to TFP?
Get Transition Free Press circulating in your area! Order deadline for distributors is 11th April.
NEWS OF THE NETWORK
Transition Network is seeking new Trustees
Outgoing Trustee William Lana has been on the Board since Transition Network began, and after 7 years' service is standing down. He was asked about his experience of being a Trustee and what advice would he give to anyone who is contemplating applying to be on the Board.
Are you a Drupal developer?
We're looking for a lead developer/technical architect to work with the ‘Transition Technologist’ group on our web project.
One Year in Transition
Applications are open now for this September as One Year in Transition (1YT) gets into its third year. It is proving very successful, with all our first year graduates now doing the work they designed for themselves while on the programme and happily fulfilling their potential as change-agents for resilient communities. 1YT is a low-cost collaborative learning programme that empowers young adults to create the Transition livelihoods they want by growing people, community and projects together. Put One Day in Transition, in Bristol on 12 July, in your diary. It’s the place to meet the current students as they complete their year, connect with Transition Bristol and bring community project ideas along for tips on how to grow them. To find out more visit our great new website:
Doing Stuff in German
Rob Hopkins book The Power of Doing Stuff is now available in German called "Einfach.Jetzt.Machen! It is a huge success & the publisher is very pleased with the first results. There have been many positive articles about the book that has an extra chapter on the current transition activities in German-speaking countries. To order and for more info:
Transition Germany Becomes Legal
After 4 years in "legal limbo" Transition Germany at last has a legal structure! The NGO "Transition Netzwerk e.V." will be located in the small Town of Witzenhausen in the center of Germany and was created in an intense & joyful 2-day-workshop by 17 representatives and long-term Transition activists, representing many different German Transition intitiatives. More about our new NGO in German here:
Launch online starts again on April 23rd. It has sold out every time so far, so if you are thinking of attending this or know anyone who is, then now is the time to get in early while there are still places.
We are starting to offer Thrive in Europe, with Spain, Belgium, and Sweden leading the way, and have a full programme of Launch trainings, and a few Effective group trainings too. More details:
There is a special and highly recommended workshop in Germany in April with Charles Eisenstein entitled, 'Transition Activists and Leadership Intensive' with Charles Eisenstein.
Packed with imaginative ways to delve into the practice of Transition showing you how to set up, run and grow a Transition Initiative. It is also useful for people who have recently become involved in Transition and want to develop the essential skills and insights to help their Transition initiative become a success. More details:
Keep Your Stuff Alive
Every object has a dark side – and that’s especially true in fashion. Two-wash-two wear tea shirts have a devastating impact on watercourses, air quality, soil toxicity, and human and ecosystem health, in many parts of the world. It is one thing to draw attention to the hidden costs of fashion, says John Thackara, quite another to figure out what to do about them.
Goodbye to Supermarkets?
When we shop at the supermarket, it’s important to remember that the food we purchase supports particular agricultural practices, and provides demand for the food policies that dominate our food system. Rebecca Roberts sees cracks in the supermarket model that are beginning to show.
Food in Community: keeping community groups fed in Totnes
An article Rob Hopkins wrote for the Live Better section on the Guardian's website about a small group of volunteers that are redistributing produce that would have otherwise gone to waste, with inspiring results.
Primary Schools in the Watershed
Story-teller and artist Helen Sands talks about how she experienced the "Mythic Dart" days with young children that we hope will inspire you to do similar work around your own river.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"The reason that the vast majority of people do not believe in climate change is because it’s a direct challenge to their sense of the world and how the world is....The solutions always lie in ways of talking, ways to behave that would involve pulling people together."
George Marshall, COIN, the Climate Outreach and Information Network
The theme on the website for April is "What is the impact of Transition, and how do we know?" If you'd like to suggest or submit anything, do get in touch.
The Social Reporters are taking a well deserved break.
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Next newsletter 2nd May 2014
April sees an exciting new initiative from Transition Network, the launch of our own fragrance collection. All the celebrities are at it, so in our push to help make Transition Network more financially independent as well as to broaden its mainstream appeal, we have teamed up with the people at Estée Lauder to launch a new range for the Spring. Chanelle La Touche from Estée Lauder says:
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Transition Network in this way. To us, Transition says chic, it says, resilience, it says inspiration and independence, and that’s what we have captured in this new range. We like to think of this as "the perfume of just doing stuff"”.
Today sees the launch of 3 landmark new perfumes:
“Resilience”: styled to capture the spirit of Transition, a perfume that bounces back and which captures a dynamism associated with this beautiful international movement. The composition is announced as Mediterranean, fresh and sensual. It opens with accords of mint, lemon and spicy ginger. The heart of geranium and lavender is laid on the base of woody notes.
"Wedded to Wellbeing": captures the delicate insights of inner Transition, a deeply grounding blend of autumnal musks which float like an autumn afternoon, rich with lavender and cinnamon, a rich aroma which pays due attention to process and dedicates as much of its dynamism to being as to doing.
"Optimism": A powerful parfum which captures the quintessential sense that anything is possible. Top notes of this new fragrance incorporate juicy scents of apple, quince flower and freesia. The fragrant story continues with central notes of iris, gardenia and peony. The composition closes with musk, cedar and sandalwood, framed with a rich tone of fresh truffles.
Sarah McAdam, Delivery Director for Transition Network told "Glamour" magazine:
"If Transition is about anything, it's about not doing what's expected of you. I can't imagine anyone would have seen this coming, and we love the playfulness of it. It's also going to make us loads of money, which is great".
Transition initiatives from across Europe are playing their part too. The ginger that features in 'Resilience' is being grown by Transition Town Worthing in a series of greenhouses heated using waste heat from a local swimming pool. The lavender that underpins "Wedded to Wellbeing" is being grown by Transition Finsbury Park on land recently offered by the local council, as well as on the local underground station platform. However, the plans of Transition Salford in Manchester to cultivate the truffles needed for "Optimism" ran into trouble when the tunnel they had lovingly dug to create the ideal underground growing conditions was used by local criminals to rob their local branch of Tescos. At least, that's their story. 10 members of the core group are still in custody.
The range was initially launched in Milan two weeks ago when Rob Hopkins visited the city to give some talks about Transition and also to launch his own men's skincare products range at the Milan Fashion Week. "Transition could be viewed", he told Vogue, "as tools for moisturising your community, bringing out its best side, bringing out the best in what you already have". It is understood that in some Italian department stores it is now the best selling range.
The Transition Network/Estee Lauder range go on sale this week in Debenhams and John Lewis.
Transition Network is seeking new Trustees, four in fact. You can find out everything you need to know about it here, and download the information pack here. Last week we heard from Sarah McAdam on what makes a good Trustee, today from outgoing Trustee William Lana. William has been on the Board since Transition Network began, and after 7 years' service is standing down. We started by asking him how it's been, what has been his experience of being a Trustee?
And secondly, we wondered, what advice would he give to anyone who is contemplating applying to be on the Board?
We are very grateful to Christine Jones for sending us this, which is something we hope to do on a more regular basis. Here is a selection of current funding possibilities for Transition initiatives in the UK. If you know of any others that might be of interest, do post them in the comments below. For more general advice for Transition groups on funding, check out our Funding Primer.
Trees for Communities (UK)
The Tree Council, the lead tree campaigning charity working to promote the importance of trees within the changing environment, has announced that its Trees for Communities grant making programme is now open for applications.
Funds are available for community groups within the UK who are able to show that children under the age of 16 will be actively engaged in tree planting projects during National Tree Week 2014 (29th November to 1st December 2014). The Tree Council can fund projects between £100 and £700 and successful applicants will receive up to 75% towards their planting costs. For example,
if your project totals £700, The Tree Council would offer up to £525. The remaining 25% will need to be secured by your school or organisation.
The closing date for applications is the 31st March 2014. More here.
Trees for Schools (UK)
The Tree Council, the lead tree campaigning charity working to promote the importance of trees within the changing environment, has announced that its Trees for Schools grant making programme is now open for applications. Funds are available for schools within the UK who are able to show that children under the age of 16 will be actively engaged in tree planting projects during National Tree Week 2013 (29th November to 1st December 2014).
Schools must be local authority run or registered as a 'not for profit’ organisation (including a community interest company, a charity organisation or a social enterprise). The Tree Council can fund projects between £100 and £700 and successful applicants will receive up to 75% towards their planting costs. For example, if your project totals £700, The Tree Council would offer up to £525. The remaining 25% will need to be secured by your school or organisation.
The closing date for applications is the 31st March 2014. More here.
Orchard Windfalls Fund 2014 (UK)
The Tree Council has announced that its Orchard Windfalls Fund 2014 is open for applications.
Through the Fund grants of between £100 and £700 are available to schools and community groups for the planting of apple and pear trees with the condition that children aged sixteen or under are involved in the planting or, where the trees are too large to be directly handled by them, related educational activities. This educational aspect might be during the design, planning and planting of the orchard or, in schools, it might be part of curriculum related projects that will be enhanced by the preliminary
activities or the subsequent availability of fruit trees on or near to the school site. To be eligible planting must take place on publicly accessible land, usually in public or charity ownership. In addition the School or Community Group must be able to raise 25% of planting costs.
The closing date for applications is the 31st March 2014. More here.
Big Announces New £30 Million Environment Fund (UK)
The Big Lottery Fund announced a new funding programme, Our Environment Our Future. This UK-wide £30 million investment is set to support projects enabling young people (aged 11-24) to improve their local environment and increase their employability through learning new skills.
The Big Lottery Fund is now seeking a UK-wide strategic partner to coordinate this new funding programme which opens to applications next year. Our Environment Our Future will see the Big Lottery Fund bring together, for the first time, two core areas of its investment - environment and young people. One of the key objectives of the programme will be to support projects that
enable young people across the UK to participate and take the lead in the growing green economy. The £30 million available will fund a number of individual projects (25-35) across the UK to scale-up or replicate.
The deadline is the 16 May 2014 for organisations to apply for the role of UK-wide strategic partner. More here.
The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust (UK)
Through the Trust grants are available to projects of significance to horticulture (or botany with a strong horticultural content) and education for horticulture. The types of activities that can be funded include:
- Training schemes for gardeners run by appropriate organizations
- The provision of educational programmes in gardens open to the public
- Preparation of exhibits or exhibitions of horticultural interest
- The restoration of historically interesting gardens which are or will be open to the public
- The development of new gardens which will be open to the public; etc. (please note the list is not exhaustive).
The Trust also provides support for several traineeships in horticulture each year (August to July); these are awarded to applying gardens (who each find a suitable trainee).
The next deadline for applications is the 15th August 2014. More here.
Big Announces New “Power to Change” Programme (England)
The Big Lottery Fund has announced a new initiative which will invest up to £150 million to support the development of sustainable community-led enterprises across England. It will be delivered by an independent Trust from autumn 2014. The new initiative is a response to challenges that many communities are experiencing at the local level. The aim is to use the power of social enterprise to help more people respond to local need and opportunity, and change the places in which they live for the better.
Eligible projects must be ‘community-led’, and the lead partner must be a charity, social enterprise, not-for-profit or member (co-operative) organisation. More here.
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Launches New Food Funding Strand (UK)
The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, one of the UK’s largest independent charitable foundations, has announced the launch of its new food strand. Esmée will offer total funding of £5m over a period of three years and is inviting applications from organisations focused on understanding and investigating the critical role that food plays in wellbeing and the interplay between food, sustainability and poverty. The food strand is open to both large-scale strategic or policy-led interventions and organisations working on innovative local projects. The foundation will support work that delivers high quality, innovative local food projects, particularly those that can become financially sustainable and are :
- Replicable. Establishes closer links between NGOs, community groups, producers, retailers and industry in order to create more coherent food sector.
- Improves people’s understanding of the place that food plays in our lives and shows the role that access to good quality food can have on wellbeing.
- Leads to the prioritisation of sustainable food production and consumption in local and national policy, practice and decision-making.
- Increases demand for better quality food from sustainable sources, for example, through changes to public procurement.
The strand is now open for applications and will operate until at least the end of 2015. More here.
New Funding for Rural Communities (UK)
The Plunkett Foundation has been awarded over £450,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to create a new comprehensive support service for rural communities considering setting up or diversifying community-owned services like shops and pubs. The support service will provide a combination of adviser support, training, feasibility grants, and opportunities for networking with other community enterprises. The support is specifically focused at the early stage of a community’s ideas, and will help them progress to the next stage. Eligibility for support will depend on communities aiming to raise at least £10,000 themselves through community shares and support will be given to ensure communities are creating viable and sustainable businesses that engage the whole community.
This new service is now open for applications and Plunkett encourages rural communities who need support for their enterprises to contact them directly for more information via 01993 810730 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. www.plunkett.co.uk
£9.5 Million Fund to Support Neighbourhood Planning (England)
The Localism Act 2011 introduces statutory Neighbourhood Planning in England. It enables communities to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan for their area and is intended to give communities more of a say in the development of their local
area. The Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning programme will support groups developing neighbourhood plans in two ways. These are:
- Direct support – advice and support, tailored to meet the needs of supported neighbourhoods. Grant payments of up to £7,000 per neighbourhood area, to contribute to costs incurred by the group preparing a neighbourhood plan or order.
- Support is available to town and parish councils, neighbourhood forums and emerging neighbourhood forums preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The first stage of the application process is to complete the eligibility checker to find out if your group is eligible for direct and/or grant support. If you are eligible, you will be emailed a link to your application form within 24 hours. More here.
Anyone reading this who was a fan of punk legends The Damned, or indeed of Captain Sensible's solo work, will be impressed to read of his interaction with Crystal Palace Transition Town (CPTT). According to 'Inside Croydon', CPTT and other groups got together to clear up a "long neglected piece of greenery on South Norwood High Street, removing mountains of rubbish from the site" (see right).
Plans include a bench to be dedicated by Captain Sensible, the only person to have composed a song in praise of Croydon. We especially liked the following sentence:
"Apparently, it was not the fact that Captain Sensible was left off the council’s short list altogether, but that he was passed over when Ronnie Corbett was selected that irked the most".
CPTT also, like several other Transition groups, recently celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight. Below, Steve O'Connell, Croydon Conservative Cabinet and GLA Member, dropped by to power up a Fairtrade smoothie:
There's lots happening with trees at the moment out there. Transition Reading posted on their Facebook page "Fancy helping us to plant Woodley's first community orchard in Woodford park next week?" You can read more about that project here. Transition Harborough held a free apple grafting workshop. Transition West Kirby have also been runnning apple grafting workshop:
Regional gatherings are one of the finest things that emerges in Transition. A regional gathering of Transition initiatives in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, entitled "Big Push for Local Resilience", takes place on Sunday 23 March. It will consist of Open Space Workshops facilitated by people who are using community-based approaches to develop local solutions to global problems. Its organisers say:
"The day will empower you to be part of the local Transition movement to a sustainable future, resilient to global problems such as: talk to others about climate change and reducing carbon emissions, develop a plan for engaging your community, including your local authorities, be aware of the wealth of experience available, and how to access it, recognise and celebrate all the good efforts being made. More information about the programe on the website of Transition Berkhamsted".
Transition Town Berkhamsted's John Bell and Emma Sherrington appeared Radio Dacorum's 'Sarah on Sunday show'. Here it is:
Here's a small selection of newsletters produced by Transition initiatives over the past month: Transition Kentish Town, Transition Buxton, Transition Keynsham, the Brixton Pound and Transition Town Totnes. Transition Stroud held a screening of 'In Transition 2.0'. Here's the poster:
Ealing Transition and Transition Dorking appear to have been hanging out a bit ... Ealing Transition tweeted "Nice to meet and swap ideas with members of @TTDorking today, at their pop-up ideas shop! #randomtransitionencounters".
Transition Town Berkhamsted have been opposing a new multistorey carpark in the town, arguing the money would be better spent on promoting public transport and cycling. Transition Town Totnes's Transition Homes project are seeking a Project Co-ordinator and Intern. See more here. TTT also recently got together to plant fruit and nut trees. TTT have restarted their Friday Transition Tours. If you are planning to visit and learn more about TTT, everything you need to know about the tours that take you around the town and introduce you to what's happening there as well as to the history of the town, is here. They also have an incredibly full programme of Skillshares for the Spring.
They have also been preparing for the 3rd annual Local Entrepreneurs' Forum which takes place on May 13th. They write:
What can we do to support entrepreneurs and create new models of investing? That was the main question of the 'pre-Local Entrepreneur Forum' event in Februrary in Totnes, where attendees could learn more about what it is and how you can make a difference. For the past two years, Totnes has hosted the Local Entrepreneur Forum, a jam-packed productive day bringing entrepreneurs, investors, and business experts together to learn, connect, and collaborate. The best projects pitch their business plans to the audience - the Community of Friendly Dragons - who pledge support of investment, in-kind capital, and 'wellbeing' services, such as massages and child care.
Transition Brockley went a-wassailing ... here's the photo:
The Kingston Pound is moving forward. It is set to be piloted at the Surbiton Food Festival on the 3-18th May. Those who commit to converting £20 or more into Kingston Pounds before the end of March will have their names incorporated into the note’s design. The group are also working to get Kingston Council's support. Liz Green, council leader, told the local paper:
“The Kingston Pound can be a great catalyst for our local economy bringing local people together with local businesses like never before.”
Platform ("The everyday portal for sharing knowledge and intelligence on sustainability across Greater Manchester") published a great piece about Transition Town Bolton, entitled The Alternative? Transition Town Bolton and the circular economy, which is really worth a read.
It being Spring and everything, there have been rather a lot of Seed Swaps around recently. Transition Worcester's event took place on Saturday 8th March, 11am-3pm, outside the Guildhall. Here's the poster:
Transition Horsham held theirs on February 22nd...
Transition Stratford's Plant Swap is coming up, May 17th, and they've been urging people to sow a few extras in advance. OVESCO in Lewes recently were awarded funding to run a peer mentoring scheme with 10 community energy projects in Sussex to support them in bringing their projects to fruition. Here's a quick video of each of the groups involved sharing their anticipation and excitement:
Transition Cambridge recently ran their Skillshare event, and here is the rather fine poster for it...
Transition Leamington's Incredible Edible group have been planting up fruit in Leamington's Old Town. Group member Derrick Knight told his local paper:
"With the help of some neighbours, we have planted cherry trees, redcurrants, blackcurrants, pear trees, strawberries, blackberries and loganberries. They are growing all around the perimeter of the site so people can pick the fruit as they are walking to the bus stop or into town. The whole idea is to demonstrate that fruit and vegetables do not have to be hemmed in and fenced off. You can just take it when you want.”
Transition Town Letchworth wrote a statement to their local paper in relation to the recent floods and climate change, which stated, among other things, that:
"We’ve heard a lot of talk about dredging and flood defences, but the solution to reducing the damage caused by future events like this needs to be much more holistic.”
They also recently were awarded £2,000 by the local Heritage Foundation to buy a thermal imaging camera. TTL energy group representative Julia Sonander said:
"We are really pleased that the Heritage Foundation has given us a grant to purchase a thermal imaging camera. This camera can be used by Letchworth householders to take a good look at their properties and decide where improvements can be made. A FLIR E6 thermal imaging camera is now on order from Stanburys in Baldock, the company will be providing TTL with free training."
Transition Loughborough are creating a community allotment and recently shared the draft design for the site. You can see it here. Transition Kensal to Kilburn in London held a tree pruning workshop on Charteris Road in NW6. Here's a photo:
Transition Kentish Town have come together with Transition Belsize to grow hops across the area to flavour a brew which the two groups will drink together this Autumn. An interesting piece of research has just been published looking at Transition in Edinburgh. Entitled The Production, Practice, and Potential of ‘Community’ in Edinburgh’s Transition Town Network by Gerald Aiken it is a very useful resource.
Transition Sandmount in Dublin recently held Ireland's first ever Repair Cafe. Sounded like a great occasion...
To Hungary next. The last month was very busy for Hungarian Transitioners. Transition Wekerle in Budapest’s Draughtbusting programme has now been running for 5 years, organising workshops for interested local people to help know how to insulate their windows. But this winter they set up a new project: working with group of volunteers to insulate windows and doors in ten flats, all belong to poor, elderly people living in Wekerle.
Seed Swaps are not a phenomenon exclusive to UK Transition initiatives. Transition Kecskemét held one recently, offering an opportunity for people to get their hands on heirloom seed varieities, as well as to pick up some composting and gardening advice and learn about urban beekeeping.
Transition Wekerle and Transition Kecskemét met 13 Hungarian sustainable community initiatives in February in Budapest, all working in issue local economy, local food and innovative technology. The dynamic workshop was part of a 3 year project, which aims to connect active initiatives and with a mentoring program help them to learn practical projects from each other and apply them in their own communities.
Among these initiatives are villages and cities with permaculture gardening, seed banks, Community Supported Agriculture schemes, social cooperatives or community garden initiatives, but also socialy marginalised groups with very succesful paper briquettes projects, helping local people to produce their own fuel, work together and discover the power of the community.
Now comes news from Telheiras in Portugal. "In 2013, the Transition Initiative of Telheiras (Iniciativa de Transição em Telheiras, ITT), a neighbourhood of Lisbon, Portugal, transformed itself in a convergence center named after its website: Associação “Viver Telheiras” (“Live Telheiras” Association) with some important aims:
- Connect with other local entities and social networks to work more connected and closer to the people living in the neighbourhood.
- Become more sustainable in terms of human resources and money.
As more institutions and initiatives felt isolated, they found a fertile ground for their proposal to jointly look for sinergies and cooperation in service of the neighbourhood. The “Parceria Local Telheiras” (Telheiras Local Partnership) that resulted, has now received a grant from the programme “Active Citizenship” (EAA Grants), managed by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, in which funding from Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein is gathered. This programme aims at strengthening Portuguese civil society, the advance of social justice, the protection of democratic values and sustainable development.
With this grant, a full time job is created for a year, while it also guarantees funding for the realisation of meetings between partners, jointly organised events (like the Telheiras Festival). It also provides resources to buy shared equipment and materials.
After a “near death” of the initiative in 2012, this is fantastic news. By carefully looking what inhibited the initiative to flourish, and connect to other initiatives aiming at supporting the development of the neighbourhood, conditions were created for a new life. The permanent attention that is available now, makes it possible to continue building on the heritage of what was started in ITT and to implement more transition type dynamics. A very significant step!
You can find more about what is happening in Telheiras on the communication - and information platform of the neighbourhood: www.vivertelheiras.pt.
Our thanks to Paul Hendriksen in the Netherlands for the following: "Transition Netherlands had a very successful National Meet-up in the first weekend of February. Throughout the 2-day event about 100 Dutch Transitioners attended various workshops and other sessions on a wide range of topics. The first was about the role of money and the economy from a Transition point of view on Saturday, and the second was about Inner Transition work, on Sunday. Nevertheless, the money-theme obviously touched hearts and souls of many participants, judging from the fervor and enthousiasm with which they discussed several economy-related issues.
Saturday also saw the first presentation of the Dutch variant on the REconomy project. People from over 50 Dutch Transition groups attended a workshop about why and how to address a systemic change of the economy towards one which is more properly (locally) scaled, respects ecological boundaries and is community-driven. For Dutch speakers -- and those wanting to learn the language the hard way -- a full report can be found here (but the pictures there speak for themselves).
To South America now. The first Transition Launch Training in Uruguay takes place March 29 and 30th. In Argentina, a Transition talk went down very well in a school that embraces Transition in San Luis, Argentina. Here is a photo of both students and Transitioners:
And now to the first Transition Launch training in Mexico, with thanks for Raúl Vélez for the info. Transition Playa del Carmen celebrated The Week of Transition last September in Yucatan´s peninsula at Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. We had the opportunity of delivering the first of seven trainings planned for 2014 in our country (Southeast, Southwest, Oaxaca and the Valleys, Central Mexico, Bajio Region, Northeast and Nortwest regions).
During the two-day Launch Training we shared with 27 participants a lot of great experiences. It was incredible seeing groups of Cancún, Puerto Morelos, Valladolid, Tulum and Playa del Carmen sharing their next steps as initiatives planing further together in an atmosphere of trust and empathy.
Translating the Transition concept to Mexicos cultural diversity and complexity is a great challenge. I am pleased to participate in Transition Mexico's efforts to co-desing a process by which more initiatives may establish, nurturing the transition proces with Ancient Mexico's knowledge.
From Brazil, here is a short video on what Transition is (in Portugese):
In the US, in a few days, Transitioners and resilience-builders from across New Hampshire will be coming together for the New England Regional Transition Gathering in Keene. You can read more about it here. Transition initiatives in the US have been experiencing the impacts of climate change. As part of our monthly theme of 'living with climate change', Joanne Poyourow from LA and Karen Tracy from Joshua Tree shared their experiences.
Greyton Transition in South Africa tweeted the following photo asking, quite justifiably, "Are we building South Africa's first bottle brick building?"
April 3rd-4th sees the first Transition Launch training in Israel. Also, here is a video of a talk about Transition, in Hebrew, from Tivon in Israel. First Hebrew Transition talk we've come across thus far:
In Germany, two Spring Transition Launch trainings are coming up, one on 5-6th April in Horn Bad-Meinberg and the other on 10-11th May in Dresden. More information and registering to the training here.
Transition Regensburg has got a special visit in February. A group of some very enthusiastic people from Würzburg are going to set up Transition Würzburg, and visited the Bavarian town to gather information and practical advice on how to start a Transition initiative. According to their plan in summer they are going to open to the public with film events in Würzburg, starting with the film Voices of Transition.
In Australia, Transition Town Ranwick recently held an event with the great title "Assisting Each Other In Our Journey To Be Resilient, Self Sufficient and Compassionate Beings". Transition Newcastle recently held their AGM, and convenor Graeme Stuart wrote a great Convenor's Report which offers a great overview of what the group has been up to over the past year.
From Canada, Hassan Arif tweeted "Great mtg of Transition #Fredericton, environmental sustainability, amazing innovation in this city". Also, Transition Town Powell River (nice logo guys - right) were selling seed potatoes at their Seedy Saturday this year as a fundraiser, and have a few left. They write: "If you missed us at Seedy Saturday and would like to get some, here's what we have:
If you're interested, contact them via their website.
Finally, a new report from Forum for the Future described Transition as "a significant global social movement with a hard political edge". We can live with that.
Transition Communities Initiative Philippines (or Kaya Natin Magbago Pagsama Sama) in Nuevo Ecija (NE) province in the Philippines are in process of developing a Permaculture demonstration site, fish ponds, development of production of coconut products. During March they will also be advancing Transition with six to eight municipalities in NE to raise awareness of what is involved. Meanwhile they also have an urban project about which you can find the background on their revamped web site. Julie Viloria and Adrian Atkinson take up the story:
I (Julie) once worked for the National Housing Authority (NHA) and we still have an apartment built decades ago in what is now a housing estate of around 3,200 people in a state of decay but with much mature vegetation. Transition now means centre city action and we are just helping initiate what we hope will become a vibrant city farm in the interstices/balconies of the estate.
We held an initiating event and find we have enormous enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise in everything from GIS (inventory what is on the estate) to growing of herbs and vegetables – to complement the hundred plus mango and other fruit trees on the estate – and in the fun organization of events.
Quezon City (where we are) is the largest municipality in Metro Manila and the young Vice-Mayor is herself into urban farming, promoting this as a municipal policy, and will provide support as a ‘pilot project’ (though some residents are suspicious that this will get used as a ‘political’ project). Already there are many on the estate who are already balcony and small garden farmers who know what works and what doesn’t work and who are composting their own waste – which we will extend to an estate-wide practice. Only organic, and step-by step towards permaculture…
There is immense enthusiastic about ‘greening’ the estate (actually already quite green) and doing urban agriculture, at creating jobs (income and poverty are a big problem in the wider neighbourhood) and recreating what had over the years become a moribund community – adjacent to a huge shopping mall that became everyone’s inhuman place to shop-shop-shop, thence retreating to the isolation of the urban apartment…
On the 8th March we held something close to a Grand Unleashing. We brought in some associates from the provinces to do some clearing up and painting and the Municipality sent their staff and lots of seedlings and other materials to demonstrate what might be done. Not everyone was happy with how things were steamrollered in with inadequate previous discussion and after a day of presentations and food and generally involvement, in the evening hazardous negotiations took place with regard to ‘communication’ and ‘responsibility’ etc. A difficult take-off, but in the end a determination to work in new ways and to be active…
It is around this time that Transition Network often announces its annual UK conference. We've been having a think about how best we can connect to, and support, Transitioners in the UK and have decided that in 2014 we'll try something a little different. And we'll be inviting UK Transition Initiatives to help us shape what this looks like.
Our plan for this year is to offer a 'Transition Roadshow'. It will build on the success of last year's 'Transition Thursdays' which we ran with 6 UK initiatives, and on local/regional gatherings of Transitioners that TN supported last year. We will be running 4 or 5 regional events, hosted by Transition initiatives. They will provide a great opportunity to raise the profile of Transition in your area, to network with other local initiatives, to bring some of the expertise and resources of Transition Network to support your work, and create a great platform for better engaging with local organisations, policy makers and your wider community.
They will also be a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to celebrate all that you have achieved. There will be the possibility that they could be accompanied by a some tailored Transition Training support for your group, or a REconomy day focused on reviving your local economy. So, watch this space.
Over the next couple of months we'll be sharing more about the 2014 Roadshows, and inviting requests from Transition initiatives to host them. From an international perspective, we're very pleased to report that the National Hubs have agreed that they will meet in Copenhagen in September 2014. Big thanks to Transition Denmark for offering to host this gathering.
We know people have loved our big annual conferences and we certainly haven't abandoned the idea of future large-scale events. We'll be giving some thought to this a little later this year, so we can start planning early for 2015. Leave a comment if you have view about what sort of events Transition Network should be organising.
Due to a number of our Trustees coming to the end of their terms of office, we are looking for four new board members to fill their shoes. The board of Trustees are responsible for the strategic development and the good governance of the organisation. If you think you might have the time, the skills and the passion to support Transition Network in this way, we'd love to hear from you.
Being a Trustee is a voluntary position, although all reasonable expenses are paid. You will need to be committed to the aims and ethos of the organisation, bring skills and experience that add to the overall expertise of the board, and have the capacity to contribute 1-2 days per month to Transition Network business. Meetings are held alternately in Bristol, London and Totnes.
For more information about the role and the process of becoming a trustee, please download the information pack below. If you would like an informal chat about becoming a trustee, please email Sarah McAdam, TN Delivery Director on email@example.com.
Closing date for applications: 4 April 2014. Transition Network is a UK charity which works to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities across the world as they self-organise around the Transition model.PreviewAttachmentSize TN trustee information pack March 2014 revised.pdf197.13 KB
This month the newsletter includes an invitation to become a Trustee, the Conference, a new Funding Primer, and more about the Network Initiative Support, which ties in with the theme of Resoucing Your Initiative. Our Social Reporters explore communications in Transition and the Free Press introduces its new team. Researchers offer to help you find out whether what you are doing is working plus the Training team have dates for the Launch and Thrive courses.
Transition Network Conference News for 2014!
We've been having a think about how best we can connect to, and support, Transitioners in the UK and have decided that....
Become a Trustee of Transition Network
Due to a number of our Trustees coming to the end of their terms of office, we are looking for four new board members to fill their shoes.
Transition Initiative Support Coordinator
Meet Mike Thomas the Transition Initiative Support Coordinator and find out what he thinks of his new job and what he has planned.
The New Support Overview
Transition network has produced a new page on the website that puts all the support resources we currently have online in one place, making it easy for you to access all of them from one place, one to book mark for future reference.
Unveiling Transition Network's new Funding Primer!
The first version of our Funding Primer with tips, suggestions and advice for getting your Transition group’s projects funded is now online. We hope you find it useful.
New Directory of TN Webinars
Topics up so far include Getting Ready to Fundraise; Creating an Effective and Engaged Team; Building Personal Resilience; What is the Transition model of change?
NEWS FROM AROUND THE NETWORK
The theme for February on the Transition Network website was 'Resourcing your initiative'. It kicked off with a piece from Rob Hopkins which framed the month as looking at the resources that Transition needs in the widest sense of the word, not just funding. Interviews included Transition Trainer Tina Clarke, writer and comedian Rob Newman, author Paul Kingsnorth on the power of crowdfunding and engineer Zenrainman on the potential for rooftop agriculture in Banglalore. Sophy Banks, in her regular column, looked at creating Transition initiatives with staying power.The founding members of Transition Town Totnes came together to recreate BBC Radio 4's 'The Reunion' programme, reflecting on the resources that they drew on in order to get Transition under way in the town (Part One and Part Two). We heard the cautionary tale of the Transition initiative who went after a big funding opportunity only for it to go horribly wrong. We introduced StreetBank, a great new resource for sharing resources at the community level. We heard from Transition Town Peterborough in Ontario, Canada about the resources they need to do what they do. Transition Network also launched its Funding Primer, a great new resource for Transition initiatives. Throughout the month we also published a series of short pieces capturing people around the world's 'Stepping Up moments', the point when they decided to step across into being part of making Transition happen. By far the best read piece of the month (trebling traffic to the site in one day!) was our Open Letter to the BBC on Nigel Lawson's appearance on the BBC Today Programme. It certainly seemed to strike a chord, and was reposted in many places.
The February 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
Our tour includes a Swop Shop in South Africa, films in Germany, Urban Community Gardens in Bucharest, in the UK a bird garden in Honiton, a Sustainable Food Conference in Cambridge, the rain filled up Dorchester's pond, Westcliffe and Linlithgow ran a Potato Day, Seed Swap days, plus more countries and projects.
TRANSITION FREE PRESS
To get to that exhilirating front page moment requires hours and hours of invisible work put in by lots of talented, practical, dedicated people – people you don’t normally see. With the next issue coming out in May, meet the new editorial and production team.
OUR SOCIAL REPORTERS
Communications is an important part of Transition at every level, from the Transition Network down to the smallest initiative. It's necessary but it's difficult. What are the key messages? Who are the important audiences and how best to reach them? The Social Reporters look at these and other questions as they explore communications in Transition.
How Do We Communicate About Transition in our Neighborhoods?
The first sentence Sara Ayech says to someone about Transition, depends very much on whom she is talking to. Different messages for different audiences may sound obvious but it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because we are moved to act by a particular argument, request or piece of information, then others will be too.
Checking Out the Communication Strategy
For two years social reporters have been “telling it like it is” from the patchwork of allotment plots sometimes known as “initiatives” that form the grassroots of the Transition movement. Standing in our gardens, we’ve been shouting, to no-one in particular, “Hey, look, you gotta see this!” Caroline Jackson looks at her local Transition initiative websites to find their communications strategy.
The Free Press Gang
Voicing who we are and where we are in time is part of being human. For thousands of years artists and communicators have sung in the day, we've sung praises and lullabies, shared stories, and learned, through the art of writing, how to convey our thoughts and feelings across the globe. But equally as people we have been silenced. Charlotte Du Cann talks about why the newspaper reaches places other comms does not.
The Power of Communicating Stuff
Jumping in and 'doing stuff' works well for doing stuff, but not communications, at least not in the long run. A singular voice isn't enough says Jay Tompt. What's needed is a loud and boisterous orchestra.
Transition: a Year in Numbers
Is it possible to quantify the effect you are having as an initiative? We are usually so busy ‘just doing stuff’ that we forget to look up and take stock. And it’s not always easy to get a sense of how much difference our individual efforts are making until we look at the bigger picture. Grant Venner reflects on the fifth anniversary of Ealing Transition.
Launch online starts again on April 23rd. It has sold out every time so far, so if you are thinking of attending this or know anyone who is, then now is the time to get in early while there are still places.
We are starting to offer Thrive in Europe, with Spain, Belgium, and Sweden leading the way, and have a full programme of Launch trainings, and a few Effective group trainings too. More details:
There is a special and highly recommended workshop in Germany in April with Charles Eisenstein entitled, Transition Activists and Leadership Intensive with Charles Eisenstein.
How do you know whether what you are doing is working? Want help in finding out? The School of Geography and the Environment (University of Oxford), in partnership with Transition Network and the Low Carbon Communities Network, are hosting a series of free workshops in April and May this year to help low carbon/community groups monitor and evaluate the work they do. Currently the workshops are running in Oxford (12th April), Manchester (26th April) and Totnes (10 May,) and possibly one in Scotland. More information about the project can be found here:
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"If you want to be a rebel, be kind."
This month on the website we'll be asking people doing Transition around the world what climate change looks like where they live. How is it affecting their community, and are people noticing?
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This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month.
Next newsletter 4th April 2014
Introducing Mike Thomas, Transition Network's Initiative Support Coordinator, and his new support overview page.
Hi everyone. My name is Mike and I am the new Transition Initiative Support Coordinator for Transition Network. I have in fact been around since August and may have already met some of you, in which case hello again. My role is to develop support systems for Transition initiatives throughout the UK and throughout the world. Writing that makes me feel slightly overwhelmed, that is until I remember all of the great people who are involved in making Transition happen on the ground throughout the world. So how do I see my role?
Well it would be impossible for me to personally support over 1,400 Transition initiatives so my job is to take the big picture view of support, in order to come up with systems of support that support as many people as possible. My big focus is to give groups the tools and information to be successful at Transition, which in turn makes them resilient and able to deal with problems that arise through finding their own solutions. I must admit this is slightly self interested because if I can make sure Transition initiatives are successful, it means I have less problems to help sort out. I can then focus on building more systems of support that help the Transition movement grow larger and stronger.A bit more about me
So a bit more about me and where I come from. I grew up in a small ex-mining town called Cinderford in the Forest of Dean in the UK. As I was born in the Forest of Dean local customs stipulate that if I worked down a coalmine for a year and a day I would be granted freeminers rights and could mine anywhere in the Forest of Dean and have free roaming sheep. I decided not to take up that line of work and ironically now work to help keep coal in the ground. Over the years I have worked for a range of community organisations mainly dealing with social problems and issues of poverty and housing, such as Unemployed Community Resource Centres, Glofysh a Support Service for Young People and Shelter the Homeless charity. As well as this, I have been involved with loads of campaigns, neighbourhood projects and alternative media projects as well as running websites such as Permanent Culture Now which I still do and making films.How I became interested in Transition
I have been interested in Transition and permaculture for a long time as well as radical politics, coming from the Forest of Dean which has quite a history of radicalism. I have for long time been interested in how to build the capacity of movements to succeed and have been involved in doing that for a long time. When I saw the Transition job advert for this role I thought now there is a job which I could really get my teeth into and make a real difference to the world, by supporting all these inspiring people to take Transition forward. I also love meeting new people, learning about them and hearing their life stories and experiences of Transition. It feels like a big job in front of me, but it also feels that I have thousands of experts on Transition who are willing to help me on this challenging journey that lies ahead.New Support Overview Page
One of the first things I have done is to make it a lot easier for you to find the existing support resources we have by producing a page that gives people an overview of what is available on the Transition Network website. I have structured the page around the categories of a new support pathway I am currently developing for Transition initiatives, which I will be blogging about soon. The page answers the following key questions:
1. How do I find out more about Transition and keep up to date with what's happening?
2. What advice and support is available to people setting up and developing Transition initiatives?
3. What training is available?
4. Our initiative is having problems, what help is available?
Each question has a section that highlights all the resources that are currently available to Initiatives. So, for example you can find out about all the blogs, newsletters and social media presence we have, see all the resources with have on how to develop your initiative, get an overview of all the training we offer and find some solutions to problems that your initiative maybe having. This page provides you with an overview that you can regularly revisit to easily find the resources you need. I hope you find this useful.
If you have any problems which aren't covered here you can contact me here by selecting the Project Support option.
Today we have a guest post from Transition Town Brixton's Sibylle Mansour.
Reused and remade – values and ideas for engaging and connecting
Blessed be serendipity! Upon starting to write the opening paragraph to this article, I read Rob’s Resourcing your Initiative blog post and was pleased to find that in the first few sentences he mentioned the key element of the story that I am going to tell. It is about the fact that the success of a group is much more about knowing how to connect people with one another and help them keep the connections dynamic and alive rather then being able to attract funding. We had many discussions about how to attract more funding at Transition Town Brixton (TTB) and I am not saying that we should stop looking for and finding it. However I wholeheartedly like to believe that in essence any creative success story is a story about continuity, consistency and authentic presence; it also is about trust, it’s about sharing and giving.
TTB - Urban transition in progress
We had a big birthday bash for TTB’s 5th birthday in October last year. It’s been an adventurous journey to grow the movement and I enjoy being part of it since February 2010. Many stories could be told, some more humorous and positive than others of course. And this one is about how we manage to continue our efforts to connect to the core transition values while working on TTB’s future and considering the aspirations of the people who come to our events.
Sharing space, sharing food – for thought
Our secret here is called SHARED SPACE; it is a monthly event that we first started in April 2010. The original idea came from the wish to open up the working/steering group forum to a wider audience. So we started to hire a hall in a community centre on a council estate. We offered the venue to our groups to utilise the space for open meetings while we organised short-film screenings, themed discussion groups and practice sessions in swapping and sowing seeds, draught proofing, introduction into carpentry and sewing, and we asked people to bring a home-made dish to share.
Well, now this is a concept that worked in the beginning because it offered something new to people, and Transition was quite new to Brixton in 2010 and it was also the time when we had a pop-up community shop in Brixton Village market. Shared Space was handy because when we started a conversation with people in the shop and they wanted to know how to do transition and how to get actively involved we directed them to Shared Space, ‘We’re always there on Loughborough Estate, every second Monday of the month from 6-9pm.’
Building social capital
We had very lively and buzzing events but there were also evenings when hardly anyone came. With our limited capacity we simply could not come up with a diverse and engaging programme every month. Let alone putting the necessary effort into publicizing it. So we sometimes ended there were maybe less than 10 of us; some were sewing, some were knitting, sharing food and thought enjoying the informal quality of the evening. No meeting aims, no formal outcomes, no feed back forms, no time keeping, no agenda. And we have patrons from the estate we could - and still can! - count on. Persevere.
Certainly it was not always easy to stick to it and on more than one occasion we discussed cancelling the event altogether. What kept us going though was that we were intuitively aware that this was the only thing we offered that had this kind of quality and consistency; and so we continued to be present!
Over the course of the last 6 months we were incredibly successful in theming our events. And what was the best thing was that we just had to contact the key stakeholders in the existing food, energy and enterprise project groups around our Borough to join in on the night. A lot of footwork towards creating connections had been done by working on the REconomy project over many months in 2013.
TTB plays a central role in a very strong urban community where people, organisations and enterprises support and act on building resilient alternatives and develop sustainable systems. Years ago we identified the need to facilitate exchange among these groups and signpost people to create useful links to grow their social capital. So in some way it seems as if recently Shared Space has started to reach its next potential.
Make a life – make a living
It was a decision made years ago to bring livelihoods and business to the centre of attention. We knew from hands- and heads-on practice that no one was going to be able to continue to make transition their life without constructing ways of making a living out of it.
So we called for a Shared Space solely dedicated to livelihoods and scheduled it right in the beginning of the year when people are keen and inspired to make a change. - And honestly for one reason or another we certainly touched on a hot subject: we never had more people attend until that day a few weeks ago. The burning question of how to live within the boundaries of our urban built, social and natural environment and make a living by doing exactly that without having to ‘go and get a job’ is central to the transition theme. Over the course of the last few years many at and around TTB have started to grow a small local business, gone self employed and do things differently in the face of a changing economy; and led by one’s own desire to do what they wanted to do. But was it going to be sustainable?
The overarching theme of the evening was to explore the questions
- What is a Transition livelihood?
- What is our understanding of making a living?
- How does transition livelihoods affect existing systems and how do we create new ones?
- How do these changes impact on my life?
- What is the implication to work with the planet?
To get people into the right set of mind we started the programme with the premiere screening of the short film ‘Make a Life – Make a Living’ (it’s open source please use it!). After the 4min film we had a number of 4min short talks where people described their experiences and journeys in building their ‘Transition livelihood’. Here's that film:
Finally we asked everybody to join the sector based discussion groups. It was intriguing that quite a few people said that they wanted to join more than one group. The presence of so many interesting and interested people had created an amazing energy. People came with mixed expectations and especially in order to meet the needs of people who were new to TTB more guidance and signposting would have helped direct them. The atmosphere was vibrant and it was not easy to get people to stop talking. During the sector based group discussions more facilitating and guidance may have helped to minimise the chaos that was created by the wealth of human resources and initiatives that were available that night.
Conclusively it is probably hard to capture what will happen with this energy in the future. We will keep it present at next Shared Space events and include the issues brought up. We will see how it flows and continue the conversations to find out what wants to happen and hear what people are doing with the focus of the event.
It’s time to continue – ‘Make a Life – Make a Living part 2’. Soon to follow!
Fuel poverty and potential solutions for residents of the Marlborough area were some of the hot topics debated at a meeting with energy minister Greg Barker, at Marlborough’s Conservative Club. Dr Sam Page of Transition Marlborough, along with Marlborough area residents with ‘hard-to-treat homes’, attended a constituency meeting with MP Claire Perry - who chaired the debate - and the government minister. Dr Page told the minister that Marlborough has, in common with other rural areas, twice as many children in fuel poverty as in urban areas.
However, Marlborough has not been able to access the funding known as the Carbon Saving Communities Obligation which available to improve the energy efficiency of rural homes, as this funding only targets areas with high levels of crime, low levels of education and high numbers of benefit claimants.
Mr Barker, minister of state for energy and climate change, responded that a “minimum of fifteen per cent goes to the rural fuel-poor” and social housing associations in particular are taking advantage of the funding available.
Later, Dr Page shared with Marlborough News Online later, that her main point - that funding for rural areas is instead being used in Swindon, Salisbury and Trowbridge - was not addressed. Mayor Guy Loosemore secured agreement from the minister to support a project for Marlborough which needs to be led by Wiltshire Council. The council has previously identified 1,000 homes that need retrofitting under current legislation but has, as yet, done nothing about.
“Unfortunately the Wiltshire Council portfolio holder, Toby Sturgis (strategic planning, development management, strategic housing, property and waste), couldn’t make the meeting,” said Dr Page later.
"Further, Wiltshire Council has not applied for any of the funding offered by DECC which could help to implement a retrofitting project, we hope they will be more proactive in future."
And demonstrating just how confusing is still the array of funding and legislation around energy saving home improvements, Mr Barker himself talked about accessing a funding pot that actually ran out last year.
“This proposal would be taken to an energy company to implement it, under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to reduce carbon emissions.”
Dr Page said: "The take home message is that Transition Marlborough is willing to work with Marlborough Town Council and Wiltshire Council to help access funding from one of the big energy suppliers so that fuel poverty can be eliminated in Marlborough Community Area".
She prepared for the minister’s visit with a report featuring eight hard-to-treat Marlborough area homes off the gas grid with oil costs up to £4,000 a year.
St John’s School student Jake Seaward, who undertook thermal imaging of the homes, was also present at the meeting.
You can download Transition Marlborough's A report on eight case studies of Hard-to-Treat homes in Marlborough Community Area here.
Written by Louisa Davison and originally published at Marlborough News Online on 11 February 2014.
We start February's packed roundup in South Africa, where Greyton Transition Town have just set up a Swap Shop in a local school. Candice Mostert from the group writes:
Swop Shop is a space where people can bring clean, dry, recyclable waste and receive vouchers, which they can exchange at an on-site shop, to purchase essentials such as clothes, toiletries, blankets and school clothing.
In Germany, the film In Transition 2.0 was presented in Potsdam following by a talk and discussion organised by Transition Brandenburg. Still in Brandenburg - at the beginning of February, Transition initiatives from Berlin and Brandenburg had a common meeting in Wedding to strengthen their network. The regional network was set up one year ago.
Transition Town Witzenhausen has been taking part in the regional event-series about climate-justice, setting up an exhibition for raising awareness about environmental and social justice and development in the context of climate change.
Transition Warburg has been part of a film series presenting the film Slow Food Story, about the story of the slow food movement started in North-Italy 25 years ago. The gastronomic fight against fast food and globalisation of food industry was pretty successful, as today has initiatives in more than 150 countries all around the world.
To the UK now. Transition Town Berkhamsted organised an evening in February with Polly Higgins. Polly was talking about ‘Dare to Be Great: Eradicating Ecocide’. Polly is lobbying the UN to make Ecocide an international crime and campaigns globally.
Chris and Hilary Handel of Transition HKD (that's Hassocks Hurst and Ditchling to you and I) appeared in the Guardian in a piece about the energy efficiency measures he has put in place in his home. The work of Crystal Palace Transition Town and the photographs of Jonathan Goldberg recently made an appearance in a Korean magazine. No idea what it says, but it looks good:
The only distinguishable words to the English eye are 'Rob Hopkins'. Ealing Transition initiative and University of West London got together recently to produce a video capturing what the group has been up. Spoiler alert: lots.
The group also wrote a great post for the Social Reporters' blog which put some numbers to their recent work, great practice for any Transition group really. The team behind Transition Dorking's Golden Ticket (or the 'Golden Girls' as they are known locally) were recently invited to present and to share their experiences at the NEC Retail Spring Fair, an experience they wrote up here.
Transition Honiton recently installed a bird garden in the garden of their local library. The local paper, the Midweek Herald, reported how they were joined by Steven Henry from the RSPB for the official launch of the garden, who was quoted as saying:
“This project is exactly the kind of thing we’d love to see happen across the country. Transition Town Honiton had the vision to do this and worked hard to see it through. It is really inspiring to see what can be done when people work together. Of course, it really brightens up the area but it is also part of something much bigger. Gardens like this and gardens that people have at home, when put together, create the biggest nature reserve in the country, so even a little help will go a long way to giving nature a home".
Transition Cambridge were one of the hosts of a recent Sustainable Food Conference in the city and will also be holding a Renewable Energy Forum this month. The recent floods have also been impacting on communities with active Transition groups. Transition St. Albans tweeted:
St Albans allotment holders on Cottonmill site were shocked today by the site of their land completely flooded over...
Transition Hertford posted the photo below and wrote:
Hartham common looking towards McMullens now river Beane has burst. Forget hydro, we can use wave power now
Transition Town Letchworth were quoted in their local paper, under the headline "Extreme weather to become more common warns environmental group after floods", with Joanna Jefferson from the group saying:
“Whilst we clearly rely on national and local goverment strategy to deal with this, it’s worth remembering that all of our small actions add up. There’s also plenty we can do individually and as a community to reduce our contribution to what is a global climate problem".
For Transition Town Dorchester, the deluge of rain arrived at just the right time! They celebrated the recent rain by finishing their pond, just in time for it to fill up (see right). The pond has been a long time in the making. Early last year it was staked it out in the middle of the Poundbury orchard, next to the community farm, and digging was started.
Transition Town members are now putting the finishing touches to the pond – more overlay will be put over the liner to encourage plant growth in the pond, the edges will be anchored and a fence put up around it so that the geese do not dirty the water. Workdays are held most weekends, with shared lunches and frequent cups of tea, and everyone is welcome to come and join in!
Transition Kentish Town held a screening of 'In Transition 2.0', which has been available to watch free online now for just 6 weeks but has already been viewed over 21,000 times. Transition Town Totnes recently reflected on its early days when 5 of its founders sat down to do their version of Radio 4's programme 'The Reunion'. Here it is:
The programme 'Town' which focused on Totnes and contained a fair bit about Transition, recently appeared on YouTube with Chinese, or is it Korean (?) subtitles:
This month, TTT launched a Crowd Funding Campaign to pay farmers for locally grown staple foods such as grains and legumes. The success of any Crowd Funding Campaign is down to the level of personal interaction with potential donors. The workshop was based on 'Dragon Dreaming', a fun tool used for the implementation of creative, collaborative, projects.
The group is also working with Totnes Caring and South Hams CAB on a project to help older and vulnerable people in fuel poverty with advice, support and practical assistance to reduce their energy bills and increase the energy efficiency of their homes. What is offered is tailored to the needs of householders involved but could include checking that they are on the most advantageous energy tariffs, assisting to manage energy debts; carrying out simple, but effective energy efficiency measure such as draught-proofing; assistance accessing grants for further measures such a boiler replacement and cavity wall insulation and income maximisation. The project is funded through a small grant from the Devon Community Foundation with some additional support from the Feed-in Tariff income from the solar panels on the Civic Hall.
It is the season of Potato Days and Seed Swaps. Everyone's been at it. Transition Westcliffe ran their Potato Day, writing:
With over 30 varieties of seed potato, some organic, sold individually at 15p per tuber, SE Essex Seed Potato Day onSaturday 22 February gives local gardeners the chance to buy seed potatoes by the tuber, meaning anyone with enough space for a potato grow-bag, or an entire allotment plot, can get started as soon as the weather improves!
Transition Chichester didn't just hold a Seed Swap, they were swapping anything and everything, toys, clothes, seeds, you name it... Here's the poster...
Transition Town Totnes have their Seedy Saturday this weekend. Transition Loughborough held theirs. As well as the seeds, they also had other interesting stalls:
A Master Composter will be on hand to help you with any problems and advice you might need with your back garden composting. If you are looking to save a few pennies and find something productive to do on the dark Winter nights we will have some people on hand to demonstrate how to “make do and mend” repairing clothes and how to make small needlecraft items such as lavender bags. For those wanting to exercise their woodworking skills we’ll also be talking about making bird boxes.
They had their displays out...
Their event also contained a 'Make Do and Mend' stall with sewing machines on the go...
... and plenty of seeds changing hands too...
Transition Town Worthing held their Seed Swap day, and the local Mayor, Bob Smytherman, dropped in to help out too:
Transition Worthing also have some exciting community energy projects in the pipeline, so at the Seed Swap event they got together to tell the world that they support community energy (although you may have had your suspicions previously):
Transition Linlithgow held their annual Potato Day, of which they wrote:
Linlithgow and District Allotment Society, Transition Linlithgow, Burgh Beautiful & St.Michael's Church (Empowered Project) will be working together to make this our 2nd Potato sale in Linlithgow. Last year was packed and a sell-out, so we expect this year to be the same. We might have some yummy bead from the Bread Club too.
They also held a screening of the new film Local Food Roots, which we reviewed here. Transition Stroud held their Potato Day, here's a short video Philip Booth made about it:
Transition Town Tenterden's Seed Swap has yet to take place, but here is their poster, which is, frankly, bordering on the psychedelic:
Transition Town Worcester are turning their hands to 'swishing'. They write:
Come along to the Eco Hub in Lychgate, Cathedral Plaza on Saturday 22nd February for the first of two Textile Repair events! The second event will be held at the Pump House Environment Centre (Gheluvelt Park) on Saturday 22nd March. Please bring any clothes which you want to learn how to repair, and any clothes which you would like to swap for something new – the swapping of textiles such as clothes is called ‘swishing’!
A number of Transition initiatives have published their newsletters: Transitions Chepstow, Houston, Totnes, HW (Herriot-Watt University), and Kentish Town to name but a few. Transition Long Ashton's Community Orchard and cider making appeared on the BBC but didn't mention the Transition group (unfortunately the clip is no longer available)!
Holmfirth Transition Town appeared in an article in their local paper about their new project to make cycling to work easier and more enjoyable for Holme Valley commuters. It said:
"Despite the popularity of recreational cycling in the Holme Valley South ward, the area has approximately 80 cycle commuters among its population of 18,000. Following a £300 Kirklees Council grant, HoTT’s transport group aims to find out what is discouraging non-recreational cycling in the valley".
The Kingston Pound continues to move towards being launched. Here's a video update from the group...
They also tweeted:
Traders signing up to accept Kingston Pound @SurbitonFoodFes £1,400 pledged from 66 individuals can spend their K£ with at least 17 traders!
The Bristol Pound recently published the gorgeous-looking Bristol Pound Directory 2014 (see right), stating:
The Spark and Bristol Pound C.I.C are pleased to present the first printed Bristol Pound Directory. With over 600 locally-owned businesses listed, you'll never struggle to find a place to spend your £Bs again! Copies are now available for collection from businesses all over Bristol.
Members of Transition Town Tooting also recently visited Lewes on a kind of 'Transition Exchange', sharing thoughts and experiences with each other. Here's a photo collage they made of their visit.
Thank you for Mihai Abagief for this update from Transition Towns in Romania, where all sorts of Transition stuff is happening.
"We’re organizing our first Permaculture Design Course on 7-20 of April with Permaculture Teacher Rakesh Rootsman Rak. Rakesh has good experience with Romania as this is the second year visiting, in 2013 being a PDC organized with him. We hope it will be a big success and we look forward to having participants from all over Europe as the course will be held in English language (with translation into Romanian, if needed). It will be one of the cheapest PDCs in Europe this year, in order to make it accessible to as many people from the continent as possible.
A two days seminar Intro to Permaculture seminar is also set-up for this winter (15-16 of February) being held by two members of Transition Bucharest who are preparing to become permaculture teachers. It’s a free economy format with main purpose to create cultural awareness for permaculture as an instrument of social change besides the usual offering the basics of permaculture, its principles and design components.
Claudian, our Transition Towns Trainer and Filipa held last week-end in Oradea a Deep Ecology workshop (based on the "Work that Reconnects" by Joanna Macy), the third in this series (see left). Some 20+ participants joined the event with visitors from Portugal and South Africa as well. The Deep Ecology workshop format proves so far a good tool for making deep connection and starting up transition groups and will be used much more in the future.
As we’ve people that always look after the day of tomorrow, we’ve started to build a yurt. The 1st meeting took place, we’ve are looking for the best materials, built a mock-up and as soon as spring comes, the yurt will come to live in small steps. More info on our website.
A new project is starting to take shape in Bucharest, namely Urban Community Gardens. We’ve had our first meetings about the project and we’ve in the process of finding locations in the city, making communication materials for the project and so on.
Free Seeds developed spontaneously in mid January as a peer-to-peer Seeds Swap system was put in place by Adina, the coordinator of Alba in Tranzitie initiative. There is already a big buzz on the Facebook group created and seed are being sent all over the country, information on seeds saving best practices. Emphasis is on local organic and/or heirloom vegetable seeds non-native seeds that can increase diversity of Romanian veggie gardens.
Permaculture Moara Vlasiei is a new project started last year, as a permaculture demonstrative site 30 kilometers distance from Bucharest. The project public announcement and preparations for 1st meeting for permaculture design were made, but the winter weather made us postpone until the sun is on our site.
The place will also be used for experimenting with land share/allotment, a project dear to our hearts that we are keen on making it real.
Last but not least, we welcome in our team a new member, Milli who will be doing volunteer work as communication specialist, besides Oana. Milli has a corporate background and formal education in media and communication, will be making some of the fine posters you see on our website, managing our Facebook page, reviewing our presentations and writing copyright and articles for anything she’ll get her hands on.
As for school gardening project, the main project for Transition Towns Romania, we’re working right now on getting financing to extend project to 5 schools and we’re right now writing financing document for an ecology financing line opened by a company and an NGO (for green urban spaces and natural habitats protection). Securing financing is a slow process, but 2014 seems to have all ingredients for moving forward with this important ingredient.
Josué Dusoulier in Belgium sent us the following:
"In Ath (Belgium), after the launch of our new website in January, we celebrated in February the first anniversary of our repair Cafe. Once a month since February 2013, volunteers are repairing stuffs (appliances, clothing, bicycles, toys, shoes, computers ...) in conviviality. Two free market (Gratiferia) were also organized. For 2014 the concept will be expanded with new workshops : once a month our sewing experts will offer an opportunity to meet over a cup of coffee and help you to find a solution to your problems about sewing, knitting ... Everybody's welcome!!
Here are a couple of photos:
Finally, from the US, here's a short video from Transition Denver:
We are delighted to announce that The Power of Just Doing Stuff has just been published in German. It is now available via Transition Germany/DACH (the German-speaking countries), and they have done a beautiful job of translating the book, as well as adding a new section which covers Transition activities underway in those countries (a French edition is also coming soon). We are very grateful to the translating team, especially to Gerd Wessling, for making this happen. Given that it is unlikely you need to know more, unless you can read and understand German, at this point we'll switch over to the German press release.„Einfach. Jetzt. Machen!“ – Buchneuerscheinung von Rob Hopkins, dem Begründer der Transition-Town-Bewegung
Rob Hopkins: Einfach. Jetzt. Machen! Wie wir unsere Zukunft selbst in die Hand nehmen
oekom verlag, 24.02.2014, 192 S.
12.95 EUR, 13.40 (A)
Wir befinden uns im Jahre 2014 n.Chr. Der ganze Erdball steht Peak Oil und dem Klimawandel ohnmächtig gegenüber. Der ganze Erdball? Nein! Mehr als 1000 engagierte Kommunen und Initiativen haben begonnen, vor Ort Widerstand zu leisten. Die Bewegung, die sie eint, ist die der Transition Towns. Ihre Ziele: Krisenfestigkeit sowie ein CO2-armes Leben und damit der Übergang in eine postfossile, relokalisierte Wirtschaft. Ihr Begründer, der britische Umweltaktivist Rob Hopkins, legt mit "Einfach. Jetzt. Machen! Wie wir unsere Zukunft selbst in die Hand nehmen", das am 24.02. im oekom verlag erscheint, eine leidenschaftliche Einladung vor, sich der Bewegung anzuschließen – und liefert die Anleitung und viele anregende Beispiele gleich mit.
Ob der jährliche "Kartoffeltag" in Chesterfield, eine "Tool Library" in Seattle, eine Solaranlage auf einem Kirchendach in Melbourne, eine Getreidemühle im argentinischen El Bosón oder der Palettengarten in Hannover: rund um den Globus tut sich was! Die Idee von Transition begann als Experiment in Hopkins' englischer Heimatstadt Totnes und expandierte von dort in alle Welt. Die Vision dahinter: Durch die Stärkung der lokalen Wirtschaft und nachbarschaftliche Initiativen können Abhängigkeiten reduziert und Gemeinschaften widerstandsfähiger gegenüber ökonomischen und ökologischen Krisen gemacht werden. Anders als Regierungen und große NGOs unterliegen die kommunalen Aktivitäten weniger Handlungszwängen und bürokratischen Vorschriften und können so schnelle, individuelle und nachhaltige Lösungen ermöglichen.
"Dieses Buch ist eine Einladung", schreibt Hopkins, "einen neuen Ansatz dafür zu entdecken, wie unsere Wirtschaft funktionieren kann, wie wir Beschäftigung und Wohlstand schaffen, und dafür, wie wir in unseren lokalen Gemeinschaften leben und arbeiten." Anhand vieler konkreter Beispiele des Gelingens wird geschildert, wie man Probleme vor Ort identifiziert, Lösungen entwickelt, Mitmenschen mobilisiert und am Ball bleibt. Hopkins baut Hemmschwellen ab und macht Lust, die Ärmel hochzukrempeln und selbst anzupacken, denn "durch lokales Handeln kann man die Welt verändern".
"Der neue Hopkins ist so inspirierend wie sein zum Klassiker avanciertes Transition-Handbook. "Einfach.Jetzt.Machen!" liefert eine fundierte und zugleich verständliche Perspektive für eine Welt ohne Wachstum." Niko Paech
Rob Hopkins ist ein britischer Umweltaktivist, der als Begründer der Transition-Bewegung bekannt wurde. Für den Independent ist er einer der wichtigsten Umweltschützer Großbritanniens. Von seiner Heimatstadt Totnes aus expandierte die Idee der Transition Towns in alle Welt. Die deutsche Fassung des Buchs wurde von Gerd Wessling und Aktiven des deutschsprachigen Transition Netzwerks inhaltlich um Transition-Aktivitäten im deutschsprachigen Raum ergänzt.
This month new strategies are unveiled by the Transition Network and the Government. REconomy launch a series of webinars. Lots of discussion about scaling up and the Social Reporters explore Permaculture and disasters. Plus the regular world of Transition round up, and books, films and new resources and some more nuggets for you to dig for.
NEWS AROUND THE NETWORK
The Transition Network Draft Strategy - What Do You Think?
Transition Network has been going through its own change process recently. We've reviewed and made changes to our staff structure and, over the last eight months, we've been asking ourselves lots of questions about the purpose and direction of our organisation. So here is the result of our enquiry - a draft strategy which describes our vision and purpose and the way we work and sets out our priorities for the next three years. We've talked to quite a few Transitioners about this along the way, but this is an opportunity for any and all of you to have your say. Please have a look at the strategy and respond to the questions below. The Transition Board will review and agree the strategy at the end of this month taking account of comments received by 26 February. Write as much or as little as you want - we'd just love to hear from you!
UK Government's Community Energy Strategy unveiled!
The Community Energy Strategy which had a lot of input from Transition Network and other initiatives, is a fascinating example of what it looks like when Transition is able to start influencing (along with a range of other community organisations) national energy policy.
We know that many Transition groups would like to secure more resources (money, people, skills and other things) to help them meet their aims. The REconomy Project is offering 2 things to help you get started, wherever you live...
1) Helping your Transition group ‘Get ready to fundraise’ - a free webinar
Want to know what’s behind successful fundraising? Come to this webinar with 2 expert Transition fundraisers, and learn how to get ready to raise funds.
One of these experts, Tina Clarke of Transition US is interviewed here talking about some of the fundraising challenges:
2) REsourcing REconomy - 6 session online course
Do you have a REconomy project idea, but need funding to make it happen? With the help of our trainer and fundraiser, this course will help you create a real bid and find potential funders. To assess if you are ready for this, you can do the ‘Get ready to fundraise’ webinar first.
The January 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
It includes a video from Stroud, a Bramble Bash in Crystal Palace, community gardens in Wandsworth and Cobham, a TREEmendous Fruit Tree Project in Southampton and Transition Haddenham held a cider competition while in Portugal reflections on closing a community garden, plus a Repair Cafe in Canada and news from Germany, Australia and USA.
Transition US 2013:A Year in Review
From adding new team members to rolling out advanced leadership trainings and hosting Rob Hopkins' whirlwind US tour, 2013 was a big year for Transition US.
The directions Transition US will take in 2014.
Our theme for January was Scaling Up which generated a lot of content and discussion. It was framed by Rob’s opening piece, which set out the 5 factors that will enable Transition to scale up. We heard from Doria Robinson about the challenges of trying to scale up urban agriculture in the shadow of a Chevron refinery, from Nick Temple about scaling up social innovations, from Andy Lipkis, the man taking on LA’s water system, from Rosie Boycott on Capital Growth and scaling up urban agriculture in London and from Les Robinson on insights from his book Changeology.
Transition Network’s Ben Brangwyn shared how Transition is scaling up internationally, Sophy Banks discussed the risks of going for growth, and other ways to make an impact, and Josue Dusoulier looked at how the Belgian national hub is scaling up. We reviewed the rather good new film Local Food Roots.
Rob Hopkins offered some thoughts on David Holmgren’s recent paper Crash on Demand which he followed up with a post called ‘Reflections on being a Cultural Optimist’. He also explored “6 reasons why there’s no community in fracking”. We delved into what we might be able to learn from the potential, or not, of earthen building to scale up, through a trip to Kevin McCabes’s new ‘cob citadel’, hearing about a new clay plasters enterprise, and Robert Alcock’s story of building his own cob house in Spain.
Lastly, in our “how to discuss Transition with…” series, we looked at tips for discussing Transition with Conservatives/Republicans, MPs and civil servants, young people, local government and church groups. Our theme for February is 'Resourcing your Initiative'. If you have anything you would like to share around that theme, do get in touch.
Permaculture and disasters were the two themes explored last month. The theme of Disasters great and small and looking at the potential for learning about ourselves, our worlds, great and small and how they may point the way to a different future. Caroline starts the week by looking at the most painful human disaster of the twentieth century, the Holocaust, followed by Diana taking an ecopoetic look at storms and two guest bloggers, Jo on the Workington floods and Chris on how Transitioners can fall into initiative disasters. For permaculture week, Ann prods at some Permaculture myths while Kerry sees how well it complements Transition plus Chris reports from Cuba and from an exciting housing development in the UK.
The disastrous state of being human
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, anniversary of the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, time and place for us to remember millions who died or suffered in the Nazi concentration camps. It’s a moment to ponder the disaster of genocide and commit ourselves to creating a safer future.
The Strong Pull of Transition Disaster
Transition initiatives are started by groups of individuals who are committed, informed, high minded and aware of the needs of their own and wider communities. So why do they end in disaster, often after quite short lives and amidst such pain and acrimony that people are harmed and lost to Transition?
Researching Resilience: Workington after the flood
On November 20th 2009, while the eyes of the media were focused on the flooding upstream at Cockermouth, Workington suffered a different kind of disaster. All its bridges, apart from the railway bridge, were destroyed or so badly damaged they had to be closed.
An Ecopoetic take on the power of Storms
Ecopoetry goes several steps further than traditional nature poetry by recognising the interdependence of all life on earth and the irresponsibility of our attempts to tame and plunder nature in a modern world ruled by technology, self-interest and economic power.
Permaculture Gathering in Cuba
The rain is torrential and after just a few minutes roads become small streams and in low-lying streets there are cars with water up to their windows. For some unknown reason a policeman stands resolute at his post, water above his knees and dripping from his cap.
The Trouble with Permaculture
I’m not surprised that Permaculture hasn’t caught on with mainstream food growers. When I first encountered it about twenty years ago, I found it off putting, to say the least.
Transition Homes - a permaculture designed housing project in Totnes
I'm standing at the top of a gently sloping 7 acre field with wonderful views across the lush green countryside outside Totnes and over the Dartington Hall Estate - okay, actually I'm sat in front of a laptop in my kitchen but in my head I'm in that field!.
Transition and Permaculture should get together more often
Two movements working towards the same positive, resilient future using the same principles, why are they not more integrated? Why do those involved in them only vaguely know about the other? Why are we not reaping the benefits that each could gain from closer involvement? I am, if you were wondering, talking about the Transition movement and the Permaculture movement.
Thanks to some great responses from Transition Free Press readers, distributors, and some key start-up funding from Transition Network, the next issue will be coming out in May. Although they continue to work raising funds for core costs, the nationwide communications enterprise really depends on maintaining the vibrant distribution network of Transition initiatives, community groups and small businesses that they built up during the pilot. Plus individual subscribers really make a difference. Also could you be the new Food and Drink Editor?
The first Transition Launch training is happening in Israel, and the first Transition Thrive trainings are happening in Spain and Belgium, and Sweden. See here for details:
The next Launch onLine starts on April 23rd at 19.00 GMT for 8 consecutive weeks. For more information and to book:
Green Open Homes Events
Advice and support on running Green Open Homes events is available here
Building Thriving, Resilient Communities
A collection of books and online resources
The Power of Just Doing Stuff - German edition
The German title will be "Einfach.Jetzt.Machen!" and will be the first time since 2008 that a book about Transition will be published in German! It includes an extra chapter about Transition in Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Orders (in German) through TT Bielefeld can be placed here:
Two short films about food have been added plus you can now add comments to all the films listed.
How is your Transition Initiative doing? What some support to help you find out? Transition Initiatives are invited to participate and trial evaluation resources. See for more details:
Not Just My Cup of Tea – Teapot on Tour 2014
Mark Watson from Sustainable Bungay will traveling around the UK visiting people and places demonstrating how to connect to the plants growing locally and the kinds of teas you can prepare from them. If you’d like to host a teapot session with an accompanying Talk, Walk or Workshop find out more here
Grow Heathrow 4th Birthday Party
1pm Saturday 1 March
They will be breaking last year's record of over 100 pizzas in our wood-fired clay oven, with a bigger feast, more face painting, seed sowing, arts, live music and, of course, the famous bike-powered sound system.
Your Step Up moment. In February on the website we'll be speaking to people from across the Transition movement and asking them about the moment they stepped across from observing Transition to helping make it happen.
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This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month.
Next newsletter 7th March 2014
Transition Dorking’s Golden Ticket team took centre stage at the NEC Retail Spring Fair last weekend. Invited to speak as part of the ‘Trends’ programme the Golden Girls shared their experiences of setting up an initiative aimed at increasing footfall on the high street – the highs and the lows!
‘This was a great opportunity to share what was learnt with others thinking about doing something similar as well as retailers interested in connecting with their community groups,’ said Sally Elias. ‘Small independent retailers have so little time to spend on promotion so it makes sense to work smarter and share expertise, energy and experience with others.’
We did a big ‘shout out’ for the Transition Towns movement as many people still haven’t heard about it! We had a chance to share other initiatives with people we connected with on the day.
Bringing Dorking Together is a new group that has emerged from the November event to support the high street across the next year. Originally drawn together as the ‘meet and greet’ party for Mary Portas it has decided to continue and focus on projects such as re-launching the Visit Dorking website, improving co-ordination of events and improving and enhancing signage in the town centre.
For their part the Transition Dorking members of this team are holding a surgery for retailers and members of the public to share ideas about how to enhance the town centre on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of February running from 10 until 4, both days. The venue, to be in the town centre, is to be decided.
Today sees the release of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Community Energy Strategy, the first such strategy by a British government, and a powerful recognition of the growth and potential of community renewables. The strategy was, in part, shaped by members of the Community Energy Contact Group (CECG) which, included representatives of Transition Network and community energy projects with roots in Transition initiatives. It's a fascinating example of what it looks like when Transition is able to start influencing (along with a range of other community organisations) national energy policy. As Ed Davey writes in his Foreword, "we want to tap into the enthusiasm and commitment that’s so evident in community groups across the country".
- A new Community Energy Unit in DECC will work with communities and local authorities to provide a step-change in the support offered to community energy projects.
- A new £10m Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF).
- A doubling of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) maximum capacity ceiling from 5MW to 10MW for community projects
- A ‘One Stop Shop’ information resource for community energy, developed with community energy groups using seed funding from government
- The quadrupling of the Green Deal Communities Scheme to £80 million.
Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:
“We’re at the turning point in developing true community energy. The cost of energy is now a major consideration for household budgets, and I want to encourage groups of people across the country to participate in a community energy movement and take real control of their energy bills. Community led action, such as collective switching, gives people the power to bring down bills and encourage competition within the energy market.”
TransitionNetwork.org asked Agamemnon Otero of Brixton Energy, who was part of the Contact Ggroup that produced the report, for his thoughts on the final Strategy:
The Community Energy Strategy provides tangible examples and guidance to people, institutions and local government on how community owned renewable energy can flourish to create sustainable environmental, social and financial returns in the UK. The Community Energy Strategy demonstrates communities are already coming together to generate electricity and heat, reduce energy use, save money on the energy they buy, and balance supply and demand. It brings together existing policies and initiatives with new actions to provide a coherent package of support across the spectrum of community energy.Asked what, for him, is the single most important commitment in the Strategy, Agamemon pointed to Section 349, which is supplemented with a personal letter from Secretary of State, Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, to all local authorities, and which reads:"Local Authorities must back community energy projects in their areas. Their support can make a big difference to the success of community energy projects by providing them with support at key stages in their development. There are several examples of supportive Local Authorities in this strategy, and we want this to be the norm, which is why the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has written to all Local Authorities in England." With Transition Town Totnes, Brixton Energy and Bath & West Community Energy cited as case studies, this is a clear acknowledgement of the power of bottom-up action to begin influencing policy. Roll on the Commuity Food Strategy, the Community Economies Strategy, and perhaps even the Community Local Building Materials Strategy. It can only be a matter of time. Transition Network would like to thank everyone involved in making this important Strategy a reality.
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:
"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.
- 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!"
Our thanks to Noemi and Filipa in the preparation of this round up.
A guest post from Naresh Giangrande on an exciting new research opportunity:
I recently had an email exchange with Katherine from Transition Montmorency, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. She wants to be part of the ‘Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities’ (MESC) project we are running. I asked her what had happened in Monty over the last year, and she and others took some time to just list what they had done. She came back with a surprisingly long list – it surprised even her. This is typical of my experience with Transition groups, and my own experience. We just don’t give ourselves time to look back and see what we have done.
If we don’t look back then don’t celebrate our achievements, it can lead to discouragement and burn out. We also fail to learn and we can then can’t build an evidence base; two of The 5 factors that will enable Transition to scale up.
What are you really achieving? How do you know? Maybe you are having more of an effect than you think? Would you like to trial a range of resources that will enable your group to self-monitor and evaluate your activities?
The answers to all of these questions can be found by participating in a unique and valuable new project to discover ways to evaluate your work. ‘Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities’ (MESC) is a 12-month Knowledge Exchange project running from 1st December 2013 until 30th November 2014, and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. MESC brings together researchers from the University of Oxford, members of UK low carbon community groups, Transition Network, and Low Carbon Communities Network, to co-produce and trial monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools.
We are now inviting up to 25 UK-based Transition Initiatives, local energy groups, and low carbon community groups to trial selected monitoring and evaluation resources and tools over a six month period in 2014, with support from the project team. This means you will get both hands on support and also the financial support needed to participate in this project.