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Transition Essentials: No.1 – Food

Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Towns movement, runs an active and informative blog about the movement called TransitionCulture. He’s just started a series exploring various ingredients of successful Transition towns, starting with food.

So here’s something we’ll try, and see if you find it useful.  I was in Clitheroe recently in Lancashire, and chatted with a couple of people involved in Transition Clitheroe.  I asked them what else Transition Network could do to support their work, were there materials we could produce that would help them?  They said that in fact Transition Network put out so much stuff that they struggled to keep up with it, and that perhaps some kind of a digest would be useful.  It reminded me of Lee Brain from Transition Prince Rupert telling me that in their group they have someone whose role is ‘keeping up with Transition’.  So I thought I would try today to do a digest of the key films, articles, projects and links out there, and see what you think of it and what’s missing.  I thought we’d start with food:

Some food background …

In terms of a good grounding in the wider issues around Transition and food, the book we published on the subject, ‘Local Food’ by Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins, is now unfortunately out of print, but can be bought as a download and for the Kindle here.  A great overview of the wider arguments in terms of peak oil, localisation and food is the very popular BBC programme called ‘A Farm for the Future’:

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

And this short film, from Transition Forest Row in Sussex, shows how one Transition initiative is rethinking food supply:

Transition ingredients about food

‘The Transition Companion’ included a number of ingredients that distilled out the learnings so far about food and Transition.  There’s Local food initiatives, which gives a sense of the breadth of projects that  Transition groups can get involved in.  Ensuring land access explores the diversity of ways in which Transition groups can find places to grow things.  Meaningful Maps explores how maps can be useful for local food initiatives.  Social enterprise and entrepreneurship suggests that we need to increasingly be thinking about how to turn food projects into livelihoods and Strategic thinking suggests we need to see food initiatives in a wider context of the intentional localisation of the place we live.  Community supported farms, bakeries and breweries is pretty self-explanatory really.  Then here is some of the nitty-gritty of what Transition groups get up to in practice:

Growing food in public spaces…

This is one of the places many Transition groups get started.  Here are some good examples:

In Bath, Transition Bath took over a part of a local public park, Hedgemead Park, and as this video so beautifully shows, turned it into ‘Vegmead Park’ instead:

…and in London, Transition Kensal to Kilburn are growing food on their local underground station:

The sky is the limit in terms of how and where your Transition initiative might think about growing food.  Some take inspiration from the Incredible Edible model that started in Todmorden, for example Saltash in Transition.  Others set up new community gardens, such as Transition Hythe‘sHere is a useful resource from Graham Burnett of Southend in Transition, a guide created with the NHS for novice gardeners.

Keep reading…


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