Food and agriculture impacts of the Transition movement
Food and agriculture projects demonstrate a variety of ways that Transition groups are engaging their wider community. 79% of the 2020 survey respondents reporting that they had some or meaningful or significant impact with these activities.
By celebrating local and cultural aspects of food, projects can broaden and diversify engagement, and can foster community cohesiveness through practical activities that enable people to work together. Regenerative agriculture projects demonstrate social innovation, and community gardens have provided accessible nature connection and green spaces during COVID lockdowns. Transition groups have provided practical action in response to COVID. This has included enabling the collection and delivery of food from local businesses; promoting local food and markets; edible gardens; produce and seed swaps; and providing practical solidarity and mutual aid approaches such as community fridges and larders. Below are some examples shared from the Transition 2020 Survey.
From Transition Town Bridport, England: “The "Edible Garden" at a local primary school has been particularly successful and has introduced the concept and joy of growing and eating fresh veg to one of the most deprived areas of the town. It has encouraged ownership of allotments, and provided a little employment (funds raised by TTB) to keep it going. The veg from the school garden is cooked for school lunches and during summer holidays was taken to a local food bank”.
Promoting local food
Trudering im Wandel, Germany: “We have replaced our market meeting with exclusively regional and "unpackaged" organic food by an order and pick-up option.” [also picture]
An apple day in South Wales: "Establishing one of [the towns] highest profile family events - 'our Apple Day'"
Food belts in France: "The food belt project, even if it no longer exists, has made it possible to put food sovereignty issues on the agenda."
From Transition Town Tuebingen, Germany: "The established projects such as CSA are running stably and have increasing demand [because of covid]"
Some Transition groups established online markets during COVID:
"In Valsamoggia [add link], the local Municipalities in Transition team created an online map of local businesses and services which offered support to the community."
Transition groups in Japan and Brazil have been creating and supporting local growers and markets:
"We have been supporting local organic small business farmers by building a once a month local market. Since we have very good organic farmers, we created a place for consumers and farmers have direct contact"(Japan).
"EcoFeira was one of the great achievements of Transition Granja and is increasingly valued in the region. Encouraging organic agriculture and local producers. The Exchange Market also helps to raise environmental awareness, to reuse instead of buying new ones" (Transition Granja Viana, Brazil).
Transition Town Telford, England: “Our home grown projects have been an increasing success with usually 3 events a year. A Seedy Saturday Seed Swap, a Grow Local Plant Share event, and last year a Harvest Local for the first time. These are well received”
Some Transition group are using developing innovative forms of regenerative agriculture. For example, from Göttingen im Wandel, Germany:
"the development of our SoHuWi, the world's first humus economy based on solidarity. We build humus and do this in the long term and within the framework of a community that functions according to the principles of solidarity agriculture. And it works and it will continue for the next 20 years and, who knows, maybe beyond. And it is a model project and will initiate further initiatives of this kind. I build on it! And humus, living earth, is one of the most powerful CO2 stores and CO2 sinks".
Other groups are sharing knowledge and skills with other farmers, for example groups in Japan are sharing “technical guidance project for natural farming in the Philippines”
Justice and access to food and agriculture
Food and agriculture projects are also opportunities to address food justice through mutual aid and access to land. For example, Transição São Luís, Portugal: “We initiated a local farmers “Extra Row” program- extra crops are grown by the farm, then our transition group provides the volunteers to harvest and distribute the produce to people in need.”
In the UK Community Fridges have been established, and some groups have "Helped set up a ‘Landshare' community allotment with a local farmer. This site now houses approximately 20 growers".