A Look At Transition Town Activities Across the Nation

Transition Town Activities in Education

Transition U, Lehigh Valley, PA- The Alliance for Sustainable Communities offers Transition U, with workshops and lands-on learning opportunities that take place in community venues.

Transition University of New Mexico – This is a student group promoting sustainability through focused action. Past projects have included supporting LEED efforts on campus, attending conferences on sustainability, and open forum potlucks among many other things.

UC Transformative Education for Climate Action – Developed by the university of California as a resource for college teachers from all disciplines.

Transition Town Activities in Energy, Economy, Food and More

Transition Town groups can take many forms. If you are starting a group and looking for activities that your group could do, take a look at what has happened across the nation.

Sustainable Tucson, AZ takes an interesting approach to transition as a venue for sustainable development. Their “Hack Tucson” idea competitions source new and creative input from the community on what changes need to be made and how.

Transition Culver City, CA hosts interesting skillshare events, such as bike riding classes for adults, graywater workshops, and regular repair cafes.

Transition Laguna Beach, CA focuses on projects that make Laguna Beach both sustainable and liveable, such as new trolley lines, bike corridors, etc. The group has had a lot of success collaborating with the City of Laguna Beach on transit infrastructure projects.

Transition Berkeley, CA programs cover the entire city as the group hosts events and provides services in rotating locations. Activities include crop, clothing, and book swaps year round.

Transition Pasadena, CA started a repair cafe, a learning garden, and is working to make its local farmers market zero waste. It has started a number of spin-off actions:

  • Beautiful Swales works with the City of Pasadena Water and Power to promote swales and swale research with UAVSAR. Beautiful Swales has monthly meetings, field trips, site analysis and design charrettes.
  • Mulch for the People, a place where gardeners, arborists, and city planners make plans to mulch
  • Eco Breakfast: a bi-monthly breakfast gathering of local environmental advocates
  • Pasadena 100: A campaign to get Pasadena to 100% clean energy by 2035

Transition Sebastapol, CA runs an annual 10-day placemaking festival called the Village Building Convergence, in which people come together to collaborate on “commons-improving” projects such as installing community gardens, public art, and park benches. It also has a healthcare working group which analyzes how healthcare would look in a decarbonized world.

Sustainable Fairfax, CA hosts a “Take Back Day” where community members can bring in hard to recycle/dispose of products such as e-waste and pharmaceuticals to be properly processed. Sustainable Fairfax hosts group walks/bike rides to help familiarize people with foot and bike routes around the community.

Transition Palo Alto, CA hosts “Fourth Friday” events with a film or a lecture followed by community dialogue to discuss how the topic can be applied to the community.

Transition Joshua Tree, CA hosts a lot of events around food, from food growing to food justice, to community meals.  They also undertake practical improvements projects, such as a group buying program for households that want to install rain barrels for rainwater capture and emergency water storage.

Transition Aromas, CA hosts “gathering of the gardeners” events, workshops for gardeners to share skills and knowledge and a yearly celebration of local food, the Aromas Harvest Fair.

Cooperation Humboldt, CA has a lot of momentum with interesting programs in food, housing, arts and economy, including:

  • Installed a series of Little Free Pantries around Humboldt County, which are stocked with donated food
  • Food Not Lawns group that organizes volunteers to help transform community member’s yards from lawn to garden/food forest
  • Offers free fruit trees to any community member who agree to share the harvest
  • Education & advocacy projects for affordable, sustainable housing and advocates for housing cooperatives
  • Works with Artists Dismantling Capitalism, an annual symposium of artist-led workshops
  • Provides banking education and advocacy
  • Runs Wardrobe of Joy, a free community clothing closet
  • Advocates for participatory budgeting, where the public is directly involved in the budgeting of public funds

Coginchaug Area Transition, CT hosts practical skills workshops and community meals where people learn to cook native wild plants.

Transition Sarasota, FL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes the “Suncoast Gleaning Project” where volunteers recover unharvested crops from local farms for donation to food banks. It hosts an annual “Eat Local Week” festival.

Sustainable Berea (KY) has focused on innovative projects around food:

  • It publishes a bi-annual urban agriculture magazine
  • It helped establish an “urban agriculture district” to build community around food
  • It built a “harvesting hope” program to help women recovering from drug/alcohol addiction who gain job skills by working on the Berea Urban Farm

Transition Framingham, MA is starting a demonstration food forest. It operates a seed library in collaboration with its local library, and it provides practical assistance to people who want to start gardening.

Transition Newburyport, MA has a “Move Your Money” campaign advocating for community members to move their money out of big banks and into community banks.

Longmeadow Environmental Transition Group, MA organizes an annual giveaway of donated bikes

Greening Greenfield, MA hosted a community discussion about the book Drawdown, leading to a variety of proposals and recommendations. Greening Greenfield has a focus on youth, and partners with Greenfield Public Schools to promote environmental stewardship, communal resiliency, and sustainable living. GG also has a pollinator restoration campaign.

Transition Howard County, MD is working to build a Maryland Fibershed to encourage the creation and sale of goods produced from local fibers.

Transition Missoula, MT, in addition to traditional transition programming, hosts a rotating list of quick, online actions that community members can take, such as signing online petitions, calling representatives, etc.

Transition Town Bozeman, MT focuses on sustainable and innovative building techniques, such as earthships and cob houses.

Transition Town Glassboro, NJ is promoting the planting of more shade trees in its community in 2020.

Woodstock Transition, NY has a number of active working groups, including a Garden Share group that invites farmers, food businesses, composting businesses and more to talk and share food. They operate a repair café.

Kingston NY Transition has a community radio program dedicated to Transition, and a  database of local groups that exhibit “transition thinking” (see https://kingstonnytransition.org/examples/). They are active in city planning and housing issues, and lobby for more transition-minded development.

Phoenixville Area Transition, PA has a Sustainable School Districts working group focused on collaborating with area school districts to improve sustainability in their facilities and operations. Their Walkability Team is surveying foot routes around the Phoenixville area to identify areas for improvement in walking infrastructure.

Repair Cafe

Transition Media Repair Cafe

Transition Town Media, (PA) is a very active group operating:

Transition Cheltenham, PA (may be inactive) used their website to provide “guides” to their community – including a Flood Guide, a Greening Guide, and a Movie Guide.

Transition Pittsburgh, PA uses its platform to host transition activities like food swaps and skillshares, as well as spreading awareness of political actions that members can take to create larger scale political change.

Transition Houston, TX hosts a lot of hands-on events focused on design and building:

  • An annual Permablitz event where community members can work on installing new permaculture features at community gardens.
  • Partners with the local organization Cohousing Houston on housing issues

Transition Charlottesville Albemarle, VA This group partners with a local eco-village to host skillshare events on topics such as off-grid solar, hand tool woodworking, rope making, canning, biological pest control, etc.

Transition Town Charlotte, VT operates in a rural area and includes farming in its areas of focus. The group is conducting an online community asset survey.

Hardwick Area Transition Towns, VT hosts a lot of barter events where community members can swap or sell goods they have produced, whether fresh produce, prepared foodstuffs, or arts and crafts.

Local 20/20, Port Townsend, WA operates a Resiliency Education Action Group that hosts educational events to spread awareness of the need for resilience in a challenging future, as well as the reality of how resilience is cultivated.

  • The group hosts biking and walking events and created the PT Walking Times Map
  • Their Health and Wellness Action Group is advocating for the local healthcare provider, Jefferson Healthcare, to adopt measures such as a single payer system, as well as providing education on how to deal with medical debt
  • The Resiliency of Heart group works to build connections between community members. It hosts events such as intergenerational art builds, neighborhood gift circles, etc.
  • The Economic Localization team runs two prominent programs – a Local Investment Opportunities Network, and NOE, or North Olympic Exchange, a program to supplement the conventional economy with a facilitated barter exchange.

Transition Whatcom (WA) is a hub for 15 neighborhood Transition groups in the Bellingham area. It hosts a members section on its website so people can connect directly with one another and members can post their Transition-related activities. Among the unique groups that operate under this hub:

  • Community Living
  • Community Asks and Offers
  • Humanure (the Poop Group)
  • Food Security (many gleaning projects)
  • The Heart Squad

Sustainable NE Seattle, WA is a large and active group that operates:

Transition Lopez Island, WA runs a “Fossil Free by ‘33” campaign to eliminate the use of fossil fuels on the island by 2033 and has a “dime-a-gallon” voluntary carbon tax program.

Transition Fidalgo & Friends, WA is a large and very active group that produces an annual report. It operates:

  • A gleaning program where volunteers glean un-harvested fruit trees and donate to local food pantries/food banks
  • Fidalgo Forest Stewards, a citizen science group that monitors the local forests
  • A monthly presentation on environmental issues by a local expert. These talks are video recorded and available online.

Hay River Transition Initiative, WI

  • Hosts an annual Traditional and Green Skills event. Many of the workshops result in the participant actually producing something,
  • Wood gasification project building a gasification apparatus to process wood into biogas for heating/powering homes and running vehicles, as well as creating biochar, which is the byproduct of this project
  • Lending library for items such as canning equipment and table settings for parties and events