Transition Towns are Preparing Now for Local Food Security and Community Support

Transition towns are communities that develop local sustainability projects. Ron Hopkins, the founder, was concerned about converging global crises, and decided to find like-minded people to review the problem, and come up with actions plans.

His vision grew out of years of experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building. He set up the first full-time course in the world on permaculture at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. He also coordinated the first eco-villages development in Ireland to be granted planning permission called Hollies.

What would your community do if there was a food supply disruption caused by energy supply problems. It could also be caused by natural and economic disasters, or nuclear meltdown?

Transition communities are the ultimate future trend and they are forming at record speeds. Many communities see their vulnerability to supply disruptions, and are acting to prepare. Transitions towns are not a fad, but a necessity. The model created by Transition Network can be used as a blueprint to build any community into a transition town initiative.

The focus of transition towns is in areas of local food, transportation, local energy, education, housing, waste, arts, community skill sets, and local economy.

These localities are taking control of their futures and not relying on the hope governments will save them in an emergency.

These transition town networks are changing the way they shop, and view their local world. The trend is now away from big business chain stores, and back towards the family farm and local businesses.

But, there's much more to it than just preparing for disaster. Transition towns are building community values, self-confidence, self-reliance, and unity.

"Transition initiatives, community by community, are actively and cooperatively creating happier, fairer and stronger communities, places that work for the people living in them and are far better suited to dealing with the shocks that'll accompany our economic and energy challenges and a climate in chaos." Transition Initiative

Transition towns realize that change is inevitable in our lifetimes...big changes that are occurring because of economic, as well as, earth changes. Earth changes This much we know for sure:

  1. Climate change and peak oil are inevitable and if we are to lessen the severity of these changes, we have to act now to prepare for them. Governements are looking out for big enery providers. It's time for the people to secure their energy future.
  2. Big businesses in all areas are not set up to deal with energy supply disruptions. Local economies will cope much better if ready to handle the necessities of life at the local level.
  3. There is a wealth of skill sets, abilities, and knowledge locally that could be harnessed now. During a supply disruption these people would be invaluable. But, it has to be set up before they are needed...and possibly too late.

"If you teach a person a skill they can take care of themselves and their families for a lifetime."

Most transition town networks have weekly or monthly meeting where they discuss and formulate plans for their communities. They do this is by working with the wealth of skills inherent in the community. Some of the groups that form are:

Community supported agriculture- in the form of community gardens, co-operative gardens, garden shares, adopting orchards or fruit trees that are neglected.

Seed swaps- Locally grown seeds are brought to meetings to be distributed amongst the group. Often a transition town initiative will create a large local seed bank where seeds are cataloged and filed, so they can be tapped into in case of emergencies.

Bee keeping - is fundamentally important for all forms of agriculture. The die off of bees has been linked to pesticides as well as certain GMO plants that were breed to kill insects that eat them. Many transition towns are enjoying the benefits of creating and enhancing their own local bee populations with increased yields now in their own produce.

Energy Conservation and Local Energy Sources - If there is a supply disruption in energy, a small community has to have options. Smaller communities will be at the bottom of the list for help in this area. The larger cities are going to receive preference in such a scenario.

Trader's Co-ops - In this model, people come together with skills, wares, produce, or whatever else for which they would like to barter for products or services from others. This is not a new model, but transition towns have brought back the basics of recycling of goods and services.

Medicinal and Culinary Plants - Edible wild plants Edible wild plants could make the difference between survival and starvation in a major food disruption. It wouldn't take long for the grocery shelves to be emptied. But, there is a catch...you have to know what you're looking for, or it could be fatal.

Food Preservation - In this category, local experts teach others how to preserve the bounty they enjoy from their own gardens and orchards, as well as the seasonal foods found locally. Preservation techniques include canning, fermenting, drying and freezing. Not only is this food better for you, but it could be there as survival food.

Local Currency - Again, this is not new, but it could become even more important if the country has a financial collapse. Even if it never happens, local currency gives people an easy way to buy local goods or services. This currency can only be used in the community.

It's important to create a structure to your transition town network. It's also important to encourage people from all age groups and walks of life. Everyone has something to offer. I lived in Mount Shasta, and was part of the core group for transition towns there. We had numerous garden shares and cooperatives in which, anyone could partake. Not only did these people gain fresh organic produce, they also gained some valuable friendships and skills.

So you feel you can't participate because you're not a home owner. Think again! People have created substantial food supplies for themselves with container gardens, garden coops. garden shares, and more. Buying in bulk packaging is another alternative.

Conclusion:

So where do you start? My first suggestion is to see if there is already a transition town group in your area. The key is to get involved now! Follow this link to the Transition Network website, and do a search in your area. Transition Network has already created useful guidelines, and has helped implement transition towns all over the world in ever growing numbers. Each community has to customize for their needs and situations.

If you have valuable skills...share them. Transition towns are about the synergistic effect of the whole working towards for the greater good of all. This is the new paradigm in line for the coming Age of Aquarius values. Everyone has something to share that is meaningful to another, especially your old grandmother. If the country suffers a supply disruption, these skills and efforts will be crucial.

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