The annual Transition Challenge is in motion! This month, thousands of people across the country are taking action to build community resilience, enhance local food systems, and reduce energy and water consumption. Over 3,000 actions have already been registered, bringing us one step closer to our goal of 5,000 actions.
For those of you that have yet to take the plunge and sign up your action(s), what are you waiting for? If you missed the recent Transition Challenge Tools and Tips teleseminar, you can listen to it online and find out what Challenge action organizers are doing in their communities. Below are some highlights from the call, which was led by Trathen Heckman, the Executive Director of Daily Acts, backyard farmer, and board president of Transition US. Trathen helped launch the original 350 Challenge (which was the inspiration for the National Transition Challenge) in 2010 in Sonoma County, CA.
1) Some examples of Challenge Actions that have already been registered with Transition US:
- A new home owner in High Point N. Caroline signed up 10 actions to do at their new home, with lots of fun ideas including converting lawn to grow food, setting up composting system and rainwater harvesting system, hanging a clothes line, mailing vegetable seeds to his/her 7 nieces and nephews, stopping using electricity for 24 hours once a month on a full moon night, etc.
- Transition Town Charlotte in Vermont: last year they planted a potato garden on the Library lawn, had a public harvest, followed by a “Spud Fest”. The excess potatoes were given to the local food shelf. This year they are expanding the project to include pole beans and tomatoes as well as potatoes. They will again have a Spud Fest again, inviting all townspeople to share favorite recipes, and celebrating the harvest. Also they are removing some invasive ornamentals and replacing them with blueberries, other to-be-decided edibles, and some plants that attract wildlife.
- Bellingham, WA: is accepting proposals for 3 grants up to $350 to support neighborhood Transition projects. Previous projects they’ve supported include: a community orchard on Lummi Island; a neighborhood garden and orchard specifically to support people in a supported living situation; food bank gardens. They have a work day in May to gather together to implement the projects selected.
2) Trathen’s tips for organizing Challenge actions:
- Start where you are: find out what you’re excited about and have an action related to that.
- Be ambitious: set a goal for the number of actions that you want to meet, and aim high.
- Find common ground: connect with people already doing actions in the community and invite them to register their actions; “stand up and be counted”
- Collaborate! Cities are good potential partners – you may find that they have funding to support your action projects. Some ideas for other partners: compost companies, landscapers, nurseries
- Engage media and social media
3) Tips from Tina King Neuhausel of Sustainable Contra Costa:
- Paper pledge forms work well for registering people’s actions at community events
- Reach out to local businesses to provide incentives to people who sign up action (like free compost gift certificates)
- Make sure people know about easy actions they can take if they’re not quite ready to take on a big action just yet (for example, turning off the ignition while waiting to pick up your child from school)
4) Tips from Victory V. Lee of The Victory Garden Foundation:
- Use social media to highlight actions that people have registered to encourage more people to register their own actions
- Partner with organizations that are already doing work with community gardens
- Partner with Transition groups in your region
Now it’s YOUR turn! Click here to register one or more actions that you or your group will do as part of the Challenge this month. By joining the Challenge, you’ll not only see the benefits to your own home and community, but you’ll be counted as part of a bigger movement toward community resilience in the face of climate change and peak oil.
— Maggie Fleming, Transition US via Transition Voice