I know that I have officially signed off for Christmas, but I can’t resist the temptation to post this now, think of it as my Christmas gift. About 3 weeks ago, I travelled to a snow-covered West Sussex to meet one of my heroes. Christopher Alexander, architect, thinker, designer, author of the seminal ‘A Pattern Language’ and of the more recent extraordinary ‘The Nature of Order’ series of books, has long been someone whose work I have admired greatly. It is sometimes said that it is generally best not to meet your heroes as they usually disappoint, but that wasn’t the case here. I met Chris and his wife Maggie in their beautiful old home (I’m starting to sound like a writer for Hello! magazine), and after lunch and a general chat about the Transition approach (about which Chris knew very little in advance of our conversation), we did the following interview. I am deeply grateful to them both for a fascinating and illuminating afternoon.
Training for Transition - Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: May 22-23 2010.
I am midway through doing one of final few remaining ‘ingredients of Transition’, this one on Transition Training, but it is all looking rather dry and boring and is rather bereft of your stories and anecdotes which are the things that bring them to life. So, I would love to hear your stories: why did your initiative organise a Transition Training? Why did you go on one? How did it help your initiative? What surprised you about it? How did it change your understanding of Transition? (Thanks to Transition US’s Flickr set for this pic).
Last week I posted one of the ‘Ingredients of Transition’ called ‘Transition Cakes’ which observed how many Transition initiatives make some kind of stunning centrepiece cake at certain key moments in their evolution. I has asked Julia Ponsonby, chef extraordinaire at Schumacher College, to give me a recipe for a good cake to make, and in the end she wrote me a whole guide to making celebratory cakes, including loads of decorating ideas too. In the Ingredient I could only use the actual cake recipe, but what she had written was far too good to waste, and she has kindly allowed me to turn it into the “Transition Network guide to making celebratory cakes” and to post it here for you to download. Happy baking.
A key consideration in SCALING UP to a more localised economy is addressing the fact that we have lost, or never learnt, many of the skills that such a shift would require. While fostering a culture of SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP and its role in creating a STRATEGIC LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE will be essential, its realisation will require a huge reskilling, a shift in the focus of existing education and training, not just in terms of LOCAL FOOD INITIATIVES, but across the board, particularly in terms of energy and construction.