Monthly Archives: January 2010

Connecting with Transition Workers (who may not even know that they are)

I recently received the latest in the Transition series of guides (following The Transition Handbook and The Transition Timeline); this one is called Local Food–How to Make It Happen in Your Community.  Written from a primarily UK perspective, the book still resonates for this US reader as it builds the case for local food as a cornerstone for community resilience, documents the fragility of current industrial agriculture systems, and provides examples of approaches individuals, groups, and communities have taken to rebuild sustainable local food production.
I haven’t ventured very far into the book, and am just now starting Chapter Four: Allotment Provisioning and Gardening for Community Groups.  You may be aware of the allotment model, wherein local authorities provide a space for residents of their community to grow food.  By chance (or is it synchronicity?) my reading was interrupted by the arrival of our local free weekly newspaper, in which I learned about the great progress Ray Sher and his Westbury community are making with their community garden (see for the January 26 issue, and look on page 2).  Here something very like allotments are being developed with a Houston flavor, and the Westbury community will be richer and more resilient for it.
Transition Houston had no role in Ray’s work and the formation of the Westbury community garden, but it is a great example of Transition thinking nonetheless.  If you look around you will find many examples of such Transition work in our communities, done by groups and individuals not necessarily connected with Transition Houston.  During the coming year we intend to connect with those groups and individuals, help out where we can, and do our own complementary work where the need exists.
We took the first step toward these connections and work at our last Transition Houston meeting on January 11, where we brainstormed and established Transition Houston Work Action Groups.  Many of these groups are already at work, planning how they can best support Transition Houston and initiate Transition projects.  The groups created–so far–are:
Government Policy
Health and Wellness
Heart and Soul
Introduction to Transition
Local Economy
Meaningful Work
Urban Design

We hope you will join us at our February Transition Houston meeting on Monday, February 1, where we will continue to flesh out these Action Groups, and report on other Transition Houston events and activities.  The meeting will start promptly at 7PM in room 124 at Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal Street.  Details about the event, including directions and agenda, can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you there, and joining with you in community and conversation!

Update:  I received this  note from Ray Sher inviting Transition Houston members to join in the Westbury Community Garden build-outs.  Sounds like rewarding fun!

We would be very glad to have any Transition Houston folks join in the phase 1 build days for the Westbury community garden, and to see the potential that exists for this project. The first day is Saturday, March 6th and the second day is Wednesday, March 10th. In the afternoon of the 10th, there will be a media event about 3:30 or 4 p.m. for sponsors, partners, public officials, etc., with lots of elementary school children, teachers and principals. On the 6th and 10th, we will mainly build garden beds, with habit, compost, handicapped beds, chicken coops, learning center, driveway, etc. to come later.


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2010 is here (lets get to work!)

We are reminded by Houston’s current cool weather of our planet’s seasonal cycles. We’ve passed the shortest day of the winter solstice, but cold days remain as the warmth of lengthening days fills the deficit in the northern hemisphere’s heat budget. While the New Year is upon us Spring is weeks or even months away. Still we know that the Sun and orbital mechanics are doing their work, and the season will change when the cumulative effects of almost unnoticed incremental changes reach a tipping point and the good earth responds.

In a similar manner we do our incremental work for Transition in Houston, our region, and globally: to raise awareness of the significant issues and challenges that we face, to connect and work in concert with other aligned organizations towards building a vision of a truly sustainable world, to demonstrate and model what such a world might look like through the lifestyle changes we make, and by finding joy, happiness, and contentment through the connections we develop within our communities. We hope that our cumulative efforts to shift perceptions of what constitutes a good life will ultimately lead to an effective response to carbon constraints and economic distress.

We have accomplished much in our inaugural year 2009, but we are only just beginning. In 2010 we will continue our awareness efforts, build networks with other organizations, form working groups to address the many aspects of an post-carbon economy, begin reskilling workshops and education, and work toward the Great Unleashing of Transition within our communities.

Our first Transition Houston meeting of 2010 will be on January 11, 7-9PM, at Urban Harvest (2311 Canal Street). The event listing for the meeting can be found here. We hope you will join us as we map out the organizations with which we can work for community sustainability and resilience, and identify and initiate the working groups that will focus our activities.

In preparation for the meeting we ask you to:

  • Think of what organizations we should be connecting with (if you are a member of such organization so much the better!)
  • Think of what aspect(s) of our Transition response is of greatest interest and importance to you (such as Food, Energy, Transportation, Health and Medicine, Local Economy, Awareness, Media and Outreach, etc.)

See you at the meeting!

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