Transition Town Middletown: Thinking Globally and Acting Locally
-by Rebecca Rees, Transition Lake County
The Transition Movement for local resilience, which originated in 2005 in an Irish college permaculture course, is one of the fastest-growing grassroots movements on the planet. And Middletown, the last little town (population 1,000, elevation 1,110 the sign says) you come through on your way to Harbin Hot Springs, just took its first step to joining the global Transition Network, with a screening at Middletown Methodist Church of the film “The Turning Point.”
“As you watch this film of Transition Towns in Scotland, we invite you to consider these two essential Transition questions: What do you envision for our community? And what are you willing to create?” said the speaker introducing the Transition Town film to the Middletown audience.
The film features an international conference at the Findhorn Community Eco-Village. Long time lovers of intentional community will remember this now-venerable New Age community, founded on a trailer park off a windswept Scottish beach and famous for its magnificent Findhorn Garden nourished by seaweed and co-operation with the “nature devas” of each plant. The Middletown Methodist church sanctuary was packed, and members of the audience included, of course, many Harbinites, who have been practicing ecological living and building local community for decades.
In fact, the first Re-Skilling class for Transition Lake County was a home workshop offered back in December by a Harbina: a class on acorn-gathering and preparation taught by “Acorn Annie,” Harbin Quarterly Editor Ann Prehn. “I just want to teach people not to be afraid of acorns!” Ann said at the workshop, her face beaming as she served up her savory hot acorn loaf made from the Valley Oak acorns which were once the winter staple of the local Pomo people.In the Transition film, the Findhorn Eco-Village embodies the movement vision of “Going Local” to build community resilience in the face of the three challenges of our time: Peak Oil, disastrous climate change, and a failing global economy. Set against a background of green Scottish hills, this inspiring film shows a windmill park producing all the community’s energy, local businesses of bakery and dairy producing yummy-looking bread and great wheels of cheese, local currency, car clubs, greywater processing, Community- Supported-Agriculture farms plowed by massive draft horses, and a permaculture garden foraged by a self-described “Feral Elder.” The film is enhanced by interviews with pink-cheeked locals speaking with a strong Scottish burr, as well as with Buddhist activist Joanna Macy and Transition founder Rob Hopkins.
After the film the Middletown audience was addressed by representatives of local workgroups: Local Food Middletown, Re-Skilling, and the Lake County Energy Co-op, as well as by a local Grange president, also a Transitioner. Members of the Harbin community joined our Transition workgroups. The face of one Harbina lit up as she described her investigation into local energy co-ops and offered to share her knowledge with our Local Energy group. Watch out, PG&E! Here comes LCEC!
More information about the local and national Transition movement may be found at www.transitionlakecounty.org and www.transitionus.org. Find or found your local Transition Town!