On Monday, October 22, Jericho homesteader Chris Sims presented “Feeding the Neighborhood” in which she discussed the many ways she and her husband have worked to improve food security for their household.
From foraging to gardening to food preservation to raising livestock, and bartering with neighbors and building relationships with local farmers, her audience got plenty of ideas as to where to begin or to branch out in their own quest for self-sufficiency.
We were reminded that it’s been just 10 years since the Transition Handbook was published by Rob Hopkins. While he focused on developing skills and resilience in the face of Peak Oil, today’s readers foresee new disasters looming for which smart communities need to prepare.
Chris shared real-life examples of how she’s gently introduced neighbors, friends, and schoolchildren to resources that might otherwise go to waste.
She talked about carbon sequestration, composting, permaculture and acquiring healthy foods (from every food group) without a trip to the market.
Eating with the seasons was another theme; so was eating differently: wild mushrooms, baked insects, foraged acorns anyone?
Prime agricultural soils are at risk everywhere, including Jericho’s planned commercial district. How might we act to save such precious resources so that they’re available toward their highest and best use?
All in all, a richly informative and inspiring talk. Thank you, Chris and husband Reed!
Peter Duval, here:
Ruah Swennerfelt (TT Charlotte), Marcy Kass (TT Williston), and Laura Markowitz (TT Jericho) headlined our discussion: "Why Transition Towns, and why now?" at our Sept. 24th meeting.
Marcy described her motivation. She is involved with 350.org and distributed a brochure with 39 small sustainable habits. TT is an appealing, positive way of dealing with the problem. She cited Donna Haraway's "Staying with the Trouble" book. The flip side of hope is disappointment.
Ruah has written her own book, Rising to the Challenge: The Transition Movement and People of Faith. She noted the world is in trouble, in many ways. Everything needs to happen all at once, and it is difficult to work at a big scale, but the TT scale of community is manageable and effective. She joined the Grange, too, which strengthened her involvement in her town.
Laura has narrowed her activism to TT Jericho. Her expectations of participation have been relaxed, and she is going to keep on doing what she thinks is important. Critical mass can happen, and Transition Towns are about a vision.
The panel and audience discussed hope versus despair, duty and what would compel people to act. Is there something to be learned from war? What happened during World War II, with the Greatest Generation rising to the challenge? Today there is little broad adversity, and a climate disavowal to go along with denial. Norse mythology accepts that evil will triumph, but still people are expected to do the right thing.
Scale matters and so does collective impact and addressing the problem in multiple dimensions to shift culture. There are many little things that people do that changes culture. Emergency preparedness is an aspect of TT, but not for doomsday. Instead, the emphasis is on mutual support. Ruah recommended David Fleming's "Surviving the Future". A number of activities were discussed: weekly potluck parties, no electricity nights, email newsletter, repair cafes, asset mapping and skills inventories. Transition Towns is the container for action.
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