This past weekend, one of the Transition groups in our greater Los Angeles area offered a Cluck Trek: a tour of local chicken coops.
Chickens are the happening thing in the city -- as evidenced by the fact that the event was highlighted by the Los Angeles Times (none of our Transition events have ever made it past the editors of this giant paper before). There aren't too many people who have chickens here, but there is LOTS of interest.
Tuesday August 17, 2010. Dignity Village is the most colorful intentional community we've visited, not just for the murals and vibrant colors painted on the buildings. But also for its story. It is a community of about sixty homeless people.
Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP) is a grassroots gleaning organization with a social conscience. Not only do volunteers share in the harvest, but half of the harvest goes to food banks and other agencies serving low-income people.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010. When Daniel Lerch said we just had to get a tour of Free Geek, I wasn't sure this was Peak Moment show material. After the tour, I was sure.
Local currencies are, in effect, "mindful money." - Rob Hopkins, from the Foreward
I was very excited to get a copy of Peter North’s new book, Local Money. Here in Los Angeles our local Transition group just piloted a LETSystem, so the financial and currency discussions were fresh in my mind. I wish I had Peter North’s book back in January when we were trying to figure all these things out!
Local Money: How To Make it Happen in Your Community takes a panoramic view of noteworthy local money from around the world (including some historical systems) and provides a vignette of each one. There are also vignettes of LETS and time banking, even though these aren’t technically money.
Along the way, Local Money teaches about the lack of resilience in our national currency, regardless of whether that be pound, dollar, or peso. The book gives a basic introduction to “what is money” – helpful since most of us really don’t understand this. North briefly touches on alternative financial institutions, and –oh yes-- he does mention how to set up a local currency.
The 12 Ingredients for Transition encourage us to "build a bridge to local government." I used to think that "building bridges" was lovely British poetic language, but recently I'm learning how that pretty phrase brings with it some fairly serious guidance.
Building a bridge across a river is quite different than trying to merge the two banks. That pretty British poetry reminds us that Transition Initiatives need to be lead by the people, the citizens, the neighbors -- not by politicians, government, or any political party.
In the Transition Primer, (page 36-38 of Version 26 currently online) there is a nice piece on "the role of local government." This piece gives some of what has worked/didn't work about Transition Initiatives and government. It offers the idea that the role of local government should best be "supporting, not driving."
In our local neighborhood in Los Angeles, for the third year running, we are hosting a group purchase of bare root fruit trees. It started on a whim. I was ordering bare root fruit trees for my own yard, and thought perhaps a few others might wish to piggyback on my order. I posted it on our local Transition email loops and suddenly my order had exploded to 21 trees! We qualified for extra volume discounts at the supplier, and the box that arrived on my doorstep the following January was so big that it could easily have contained one of the Lakers basketball players!
We repeated the fruit tree group purchase project a year later, and brought 28 additional fruit trees to our neighborhood (TWO Lakers-size boxes!). It was such a successful model that we subsequently did a group purchase of rain water harvesting barrels.