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Transition Towns: Strawberries and Cream in the People’s Paradise?

Often (I’m told), a new convert to the Transition Movement will embrace it with the fervor of a religious zealot. The skeptic warns that crafting a vision of the future and trying to steer society towards that vision is an endeavor that is not only presumptuous but fraught with peril. The truth, says Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network and author of The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience, is that the right attitude lies somewhere in the middle.

No one knows what the future will bring. Transition adherents are no different. Like most people who have been awake at some point in the last couple of decades, they can make educated guesses. Finite, carbon-based resources are dwindling. Climate change is real and threatens the survival of our species and the planet. What the Transition Movement does is bring people in a community together to try to bring their separate expertise and experience together to map out a blueprint to prepare for just about any calamity or upheaval. There is no one-size-fits-all Transition plan, and their website readily—cheerfully, actually—acknowledges this:

The Cheerful Disclaimer!

Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact. We truly don’t know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale. What we are convinced of is this:

  • if we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late
  • if we act as individuals, it’ll be too little
  • but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

Everything that you read on this site is the result of real work undertaken in the real world with community engagement at its heart. There’s not an ivory tower in sight, no professors in musty oak-panelled studies churning out erudite papers, no slavish adherence to a model carved in stone.

This site, just like the transition model, is brought to you by people who are actively engaged in transition in a community. People who are learning by doing – and learning all the time. People who understand that we can’t sit back and wait for someone else to do the work. People like you, perhaps…

If you live in New England, you’ll have a chance to find out for yourself what it’s all about:

Luckily, there’s a chance Monday for everyone in the central Vermont area to find out more about Transition Towns and judge for themselves. Naresh Giangrande, co-founder of the first Transition Town, Totnes in the UK, will speak on “Transition Towns: From Oil Dependency to Resilient Communities.” The talk is Monday, November 24, 7 pm. Unitarian Church, Main Street, Montpelier. We’re being contacted by people as far away as Maine and Massachusetts who want to hear the talk, so come early!

Read more here.


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Olivia’s mom, Lola, is famous for her potato salad that seems so simple, but has a certain je ne sais quoi—the secret ingredient: chive-flower-infused vinegar. She recalls, “As a child I was enchanted by the apothecary bottles lined up on our kitchen shelves, stuffed with purple pompoms—I just knew there was magic happening inside.”This recipe […] Read More

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Despite the millions consumers spend on calcium pills and the number of prescriptions for bone loss drugs they fill, worldwide there is an osteoporotic fracture every three seconds.Drugs that claim to prevent or redress bone loss can actually cause bones to crumble and break. Calcium supplements, fortified processed food, and pasteurized dairy don’t work because […] Read More

Food & Drink Sale! Save 35% on all Food & Drink books through August 1st

Here at Chelsea Green Publishing, we believe that it matters where our food comes from and how it is grown because a healthy food system is key to ensuring a resilient, sustainable, and healthy future for all of us. We’ve put ALL ourfood & drink books on sale for 35% off — but hurry it […] Read More

Recipe: Ginger-Apricot Mead

With reader interest in Sandor Ellix Katz’s Ginger Beer recipe, here’s another ginger concoction for summertime sipping: Ginger-Apricot Mead. Jereme Zimmerman, author of Make Mead Like a Viking, shares his recipe below, along with tips on sourcing local honey to make mead. When Jereme was in North Carolina earlier this year to present at the […] Read More

How-To: Foraging for Flavors to Fire Up Your Grill

If you love grilling, you are certain to know that various woods impart delicious smoky flavors to grilled meat, fish, and vegetables. In this excerpt from The New Wildcrafted Cuisine, author and self-described culinary alchemist Pascal Baudar offers foraging tips for finding the best woods and barks to add flavor to anything you toss on […] Read More
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