Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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21 May 2014

The May 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition


Crystal Palace Transition Town’s market is celebrating its first birthday.  The market has been a huge success since its inception, with local paper the Croydon Advertiser reporting “Extremely strong winds caused havoc among stallholders at Crystal Palace food market on Saturday.  But despite forcing three traders to pack up and go home, the bad weather failed to mar the market’s first birthday celebrations”.  Congratulations from us too.  The market also appeared in the Guardian in a piece about the resurgence of markets.  Here are some of the CPTT organisers celebrating with a sing-song appropriate to the circumstances: 

And here are a few of the traders on what the market means to them: 

The group will also be celebrating their third birthday with an event on June 11th.  And they’ve been busy in the St John’s Community Garden too:


Crystal Palace Transition Town have been one of the groups behind the creation of the area’s Edible Bus Stop, which we’ve reported on previously here.  With the Spring and everything, it is now a riot of plants. “Is this London’s best bus stop?” they tweeted.  Here is a photo.  You wouldn’t mind a bus being a bit late if you got to spend time here would you? 

Edible bus stop


Transition Town Horncastle recently hosted an energy festival for people to learn more about the benefits of renewable energy.  Members of Transition Town Dorchester left inspired and ready to seek a suitable site for a forest garden after a visit to Martin Crawford’s site in Devon. In the rain (see right).  

Also in Dorset, members of Transition Town Bridport have helped prepare a new polytunnel garden at a local school as part of their HOME in Bridport initiative.  

Salisbury in Wiltshire is ready to launch Transition and have invited Rob Hopkins along to a public meeting at the local Guildhall to help catalyse and inspire people to get involved. 

Transition Langport recently tweeted that they are “very excited & proud to have been shortlisted for the #Westbourne100 for our #Plastic Bag free #Langport campaign”.  

Transition Town Worthing are busy too.  Two of their recent tweets give a sense of how things are going for them: 

We’re heading to @TTWorthing‘s pre-launch event for the #Worthing #farmdrop‘s producers. Such exciting times for @farmdrop! #foodpioneers  

We doubled our membership on facebook in just over two months – #transitiontowns #worthing is on the up!

They also partnered up with Brighton Permaculture Trust, Low Carbon Trust and Open Eco Homes for a weekend showcasing local eco homes in Worthing. A video and more info on the event in the Worthing Herald.  Transition Bristol are holding their ‘Small Green Sunday’ this Sunday (May 25th).  Here’s the flyer: 


We are all in deep admiration of the story this month of how the West Solent Solar Co-operative, formed by members of New Forest Transition, raised £2.46 million in local investment for a community solar farm.  The full story is here.   

Bucks Free Press reported how Transition Town Marlow had been given “Go-ahead to plant Marlow town orchard for community scrumping”.  It quoted Helen Dann from the group as saying: 

“When we plant orchards we can teach children where food comes from, and the importance of nature. Orchards help a town to maintain its local distinctiveness and identity as we group together to save vulnerable local varieties of apple, pear, cherry, plum and damson.

“In a similar way to community gardens, community orchards are a great opportunity for everyone to learn new skills, such as fencing, wildlife watching, horticultural skills gained from pruning and maintenance of the fruit trees, and jam, cider and fruit juice making skills, once the fruit is picked.”

From Transition Town Totnes, the April Skillshare newsletter, details of the CARD project (Community Action for Retrofit Delivery), funded by a grant from the Energy Saving Trust and starting with the nearby village of Harbertonford, the latest community consultation on the Transition Homes project which covered natural building materials, design constraints and project overview and finally, some inner nourishment in the form of a (weekly) Time to Breathe session, this one in honour of Earth Day. 

Now on to some local currency stories.  While we’re still in Totnes, Tuesday May 20th saw the relaunch of the Totnes Pound, with a great event to launch it into the world. There was a very good piece in the Guardian before hand which gave a good sense of the different schemes underway across the UK, and how they are boosting local economies.  Here is the poster for the Totnes launch event: 

Totnes Pound launch poster

New social enterprise Totnes-based brewery New Lion Brewery also brewed a special bottled beer available on the night called ‘The Totnes Pound’.  Here’s the label:

Beer label

According to South West Business, the city of Bath is considering a local currency, the ‘Bath Pound’.  Jay Risbridger, one of its founders, was quoted as saying: 

“They have seen the benefits to Bristol – it’s really a no brainer. It makes absolutely no difference to the local council if they get their business rates in local pounds or pound sterling. It will be a really crucial part of it and will make the businesses feel secure.” 

Jay Risbridger, a director of Bath Currency CIC and owner of the Green Stationery Company on Walcot Street,

Meanwhile, the neighbouring Bristol Pound is going from strength to strength, now launching Real Economy Pop-Up Markets across the city, making local food available affordably to people in different communities.  They write: 

Real Economy pop-up markets will have a range of fresh produce stalls, cooking demos, music, makers and bakers. With a focus on home-grown Bristolian enterprise, each market is unique and will showcase the delights that the local community has to offer.

And the Bristol Pound will be, one assumes, most welcome at all of them. 

Peterborough in Transition have got together with the folks at the Green Backyard to open a new shop!  Here’s a short video about the Green Backyard: 

So the shop is called Backyard Food, and sells local food, and some other stuff too.  Here’s a couple of photos: 



We wish them all the very best.  Abbots Langley Transition held their Community Market again recently and Transition Town Kinsale recently held their Springamagig, their annual benefit fundraiser in the amphitheatre at Kinsale Further Education College.  Here’s the poster: 

Transition Loughborough tweeted: 

Wednesday evening work parties start again at the community allotment from 5pm tonight. Sowing, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting!

As part of the St Albans Film Festival, Transition St. Albans ran a screening of the film Trashed.  They are also doing a survey, so if you live locally and have the time to answer 10 quick questions, click here

There has been the usual outpouring of Transition initiative newsletters too recently.  Here’s a selection: Transition LinlithgowTransition LetchworthTransition StroudTransition CambridgeTransition KW, Crystal Palace Transition TownTransition Town Totnes and Transition Town West Kirby.

Transition Stourbridge have been out cleaning up along the banks of the River Stour.  Here’s a photo (left).    

In Bedfordshire, the different groups from across the county got together for a day to share experiences and to enthuse and inspire each other.  It was an event that John Bell very kindly wrote up for us here.  

Transition Town Tooting have already started thinking about their Foodival event for this year.  Here’s a link, and they posted the following photo too: 


Ealing Transition announced recently:

“Just up the Uxbridge Road, our new neighbours in Transition, Southall Transition, are holding their first public event on Friday this week.  Formed by a diverse group from the Southall community, they are certainly off to a flying start!”

You can read more about what they are up to in Southall here.  Transition Dorchester tweeted:  

Come to our AGM Saturday 3rd May 4.00pm. Bonfire and barbie to celebrate the spring. Wood to burn, convivial chat, bring something to cook. 

Transition Town Wivenhoe have started a Bike Kitchen, helping people fix their bikes every Monday and some Sundays.  Here are a couple of photos:

Bike kitchen


Transition Usk are now up and running, and held their launch event on May 14th, with members of Abergaveny Transition coming along to share their experiences.  Transition West Bridgford just held their Open EcoHomes weekend.  Transition Kentish Town in London held a public meeting to discuss the idea of setting up a community energy company.  They wrote the following which I thought was rather beautiful: 

We set up Transition Kentish Town four years ago. We’ve done all kinds of things together – film showings, marmalade making, nettle and elderflower workshops, gardening adventures, apple pressing, draught busting, seed swaps, talks and films.

One of our bigger projects was setting up our community-led veg box scheme in 2012. The idea was to start something that went beyond volunteering, something that could generate income and jobs, build an alternative food supply chain outside the supermarket economy, and lock in social change.

We’re coming together today with our neighbouring Transition Initiatives in Dartmouth Park and Tufnell Park to see if we can create another ambitious social enterprise: a community-owned energy company.

Good luck folks. The meeting was described later on Twitter by one person who attended as “awesome”. Back in Totnes, one of the recent highlights was the Totnes Entrepreneurs Forum.  It had a plug in the local paper, and in the Totnes REconomy newsletter, and the actual day was amazing.  


The day featured a setting out of the Circular Economy at the local scale, getting people to interact as much as possible, and ended with the ‘Community of Dragons’ event which was quite extraordinary.  Five businesses pitched and received all kinds of support from people across the community.  Here’s a photo of the pitching event: 


Transition Homes, the project in Totnes seeking to build 25 affordable homes on the edge of the town, just held their public consultation event.  Here’s a short film about it: 

Rob will go to Germany in the summer and speak at 19h on July 2 in Berlin and on July 3 in Bielefeld to present the German version Einfach.Jetzt.Machen! of his latest book (together with the co-translator and contributor Gerd Wessling and fellow Transition activists from all over Germany).  There will also be networking and sharing possibilities for all German & Transition Initiativen in Bielefeld that day; starting from 16h on July 3rd in the University of Bielefeld.

Also from Germany, this is quite fun.  Rob Hopkins’ recent article ‘Why I closed my Amazon account’ has been translated into German and then read out on YouTube with accompanying images by a woman there who is campaigning against the expansion of Amazon in her community:


Also in Germany, Transition Bielefeld recently appeared on local radio to discuss their Repair Cafe:


TotnesIn France 14  journalists and writers of the association JNE ( les Journalistes-écrivains pour la nature et l’écologie, the jounalists-writers for nature and ecology) decided to visit Totnes, the heart of the Transition movement. To pay their travel they decided to get money from crowdfunding via Before the end deadline they raised 113 % of the required money to cover their travel costs.

The people who decided to fund them had in return the choice of different packages of their stories, including some issues of publications in other related magazines. They made a first report of their journey at the end of may. You can read their story with a lot of nice pictures of Totnes, Ben Brangwyn, the local market and other locations ; just take a look in this article (in French)

Here’s some great news from Belgium.  The Transition Streets project from Ath en Transition, inspired by the ones from Totnes and Newcastle (Australia), is now ready to make it’s debut in the French language!!  This project was developed by a group of five volunteers. They wanted to give a place in Transition for people who don’t come to awareness raising activities or other projects, but are ok to begin their transition at home, with their neighbors. To help us, we received a little funding from the Cultural Centre and the Town in 2012, and this project is now under way. 

But this story has taken on a greater importance recently… As we felt that this project had a big potential and needed more time and energy than volunteers can give, we tried to find some funding here and there. And now we’re happy to announce that our project was received a prize of “Sustainable development 2013” from the national Lottery of Belgium. That was possible with the support of our regional hub and Friends of the Earth Belgium. That means that we will have around 45.000€ for a two year project: the first phase will be a pilot project in the Town of Ath (28000 inhabitants). After evaluation and improvements, we’ll propose to three other towns or Cities to be part of the second phase of the programme.  Transition Streets Belgium, here we go!!

Tracey Wheatley of Transition Wekerle in Hungary just sent the following:

… just spent a beautiful May weekend on a permaculture course at the experimental community in “Nagyszékely'”. The‘Körte’ community living there is an initiative of 8-12 families committed to living life inspired by permaculture in the mid-south county of Tolna in Hungary. The families are working towards self-sufficiency with their own woodland, vineries, animals and forest-gardens. They are encouraging other communities to take responsibility for maintaining heritage seed diversity through the Civil Seed Bank initiative, and are experimenting with no-fossil grain-growing, home-built masonary stoves, resilient plant varieties, grafting heritage fruit trees, among many other inspiring things. The pictures give an idea of just how well this is all working (below is our favourite of them…)


On the Transition Network site we heard from Aveiro em Transição in Portugal, when various members of their Core Group were asked to share their thoughts on the impact the group has been having.  It makes for fascinating reading.  In Australia, Mundaring in Transition recently had their launch event, which was captured in this article.  Transition Network’s Rob Hopkins also made a short video for the event.  Here it is… 

From Brazil we heard recently from Monica Picavea about Transition Brasilandia’s Sustainable Health Fair, a fascinating look at what Transition looks like in that setting, and when Transition meets public health.   

In the US, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition were the subject of a great article on the REconomy blog.  Here is a map of the food forest they are planning to plant soon, but the whole piece is very inspiring.  

Food forest

Also in the US, Transition Town Media (PA) celebrates International Happiness Week and here Dr. Joni Carley, who initiated and helped orchestrate the event, reports on the successful outcomes of Happiness Week which involved collaborating with over 30 local organisations.  Finally, Transition Town Manchester (VT) are busy getting new recruits to their Community & Educational Garden and also held a Wild Edible Walk and Talk.

Then there’s this, which is just frankly the kind of random thing one comes across sometimes when you type ‘Transition Town’ into YouTube as a search.  I can offer little explanation other than it appears to be Transition Missoula.  And a kazoo. 

Lastly, but by no means leastly, Transition Network’s Sophy Banks recently gave a webinar for Transition US which explored the ideas around Inner Transition.  It’s an inspiring immersion in the subject, which will give you plenty to reflect upon before we meet again next month. 

That’s it for this month!  Do send us your stories, and see you in a few weeks…