Transition Towns Offer a Collective Option for Real Growth in our Communities

Transition Towns are an outgrowth of the Transition Movement that started in England during the last decade or so and has already grown into 424+ official Transition Town Initiatives in 34 countries including 69 initiatives in Canada, 9 of those being in BC including one in the Powell River area. The main aim of the Transition Movement generally, and echoed by the towns including Powell River locally, is to raise awareness of sustainable living and creating community through information, wisdom and collective action.

Food is a key area that Transition Towns almost all focus on. Initiatives in many towns have included creating community gardens to grow food. Often starting with the simple aim of encouraging more sharing of seeds, plants, and produce. Many of the community gardens begin as overgrown vacant lots full of discarded trash that are either privately owned and contributed or owned by the municipality. Another group of projects often undertaken by Transition Town collectives involves working toward a Zero Waste future for the community by reusing the energy embedded in the waste stream to create green jobs and income. A third project often tackled by Transition Towns is creating a local currency.

Each group has developed unique solutions based on their local situation. One Transition group in Haxby and Wigginton inspired by York in Transition has done some neat things by starting small, like the seed-plant and produce swap mentioned above, and a fruit picking service serving that elderly people in particular who were not capable picking the fruit off their trees.  In 2011 13 volunteers picked 20 trees and managed to make at least two deliveries per week of fruit boxes to the Salvation Army kitchens.

Haxby and Wigginton made the decision not to be a formal legally registered Co-op or Society with bank accounts, minuted meetings, etc etc. consciously. Instead they chose to remain voluntary collective group. A collective can be horizontal in its organization, it is a group that shares a common issue or interest and works together to achieve a common objective. The strength of a collective organized horizontally is that it functions as a partnership of individuals, recognizing them as equals.

The next few Mud Reports will try to combine some of these ideas with the energetic community of Powell River's already widespread efforts in these areas.