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.... 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:
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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 aft..., 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 groupcreated 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.
Finally, from the US, here's a short video from Transition Denver: