African Americans, Organizing and the Transition Environmental Movement

Karen Washington, cofounder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS). (Image: Food Democracy Now)Karen Washington, cofounder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS), at the Farmer's Occupy Wall Street demonstration on December 10, 2011. (Image: Food Democracy Now)

Thursday, 28 January 2016 14:09 By Pamela Boyce Simms, Speakout | Op-Ed

I was at an environmental conference where no accommodation for the discussion of Black issues had been made. So, we found a room where we got together to talk about our concerns. As we were talking there was a knock on the door. A white woman standing in the doorway wanted to come in. Someone inthe room stood up and told her that this was a meeting for Black people, but she insisted that she neededto be part of the conversation because she understood and worked with Blacks. She was politely asked toleave. Ten minutes later, there was another knock on the door, and a white man who wanted to enter gave us another set of reasons why he should be part of the discussion. A brother stood up and firmly told him, 'This meeting is for Black people only.' Annoyed, the man turned and left. When whites come into the room, the conversation shuts down.

The Transition Towns environmental movement (Transition) has been critiqued by the Simplicity Institute for being run and populated by middle-aged, middle- and upper-middle-class, highly educated, post-materialist progressive white people. Since its inception, Transition has sought and failed to find ways to attract and retain people of color. The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) observes that people of color will stand with white people in the protest and march-in-the street varieties ofenvironmental movements. However, people of color show little or no enduring interest in the type of movements, like Transition, that require a long-term commitment to a group process working beside white people.

Yet African Americans are participating in the transition to a post-carbon future - on Afrocentric terms. A case in point is the nascent Mid-Atlantic Wellbeing Circle in Charlottesville, Virginia. MATH is borrowing a page from the playbook of Afrocentric environmental organizers to better serve a diverse population in the Mid-Atlantic regional Transition movement. MATH is creating the space for Black self-organizing that enhances autonomy and sovereignty. The Wellbeing Circle focuses on healing, self-care and training in herbalism and holistic practices. Participants cultivate herbs that treat illnesses andconditions from which African Americans suffer as a function of centuries of exposure to structural racism.

The Autonomous Self-Organizing Imperative

Agroecology educator Chris Bolden-Newsome observes that as Black high school students work in the African Diaspora section of Philadelphia's Bartram's Garden,* they inevitably start moaning what sounds to them like a mournful Negro-spiritual-slave song. Bolden-Newsome, designer of the Diaspora Garden, recognizes this as "the kids' humor wrapped in deep pain." These young people don't know thefull history of slavery's legacy, yet at some level they recognize that the unfathomable pain is part of who they are. It's the DNA of intergenerational oppression expressing itself as the students reconnect with the healing soil. Chris notes, "This intergenerational trauma is like an irritating grain of sand in a clam that creates something smooth and beautiful that one can live with. The pain yields a pearl."

Yet Chris has never seen this spontaneous, cathartic work-song phenomenon happen in the presence of white student peers:

Black behavior is extremely different under the gaze of whites. I'm conscious of the fact that we work better in our own spaces. Black people are less expressive around whites.

Transition "initiating groups" are the engines that move localities toward resilience. The "initiating grouporganizing model," executed well, requires trust-building among a core group of friends and neighbors who work together over the long haul. This requires ongoing meetings, socializing and deep collaboration.

Transitioners might consider what African Americans want rather than what white progressives want for Black people and for themselves in relation to people of color.

Activist Karen Washington encourages Black farmers to take back their narratives and stand in the truth of their own power:

We can't wait for whites to invite us to the table. We have to make our own table, take control of our food system and set our own agenda. We've been brainwashed to think that if what we start doesn't have white involvement and white approval, then it won't work. We've been 'whitewashed' to want validation from whites…. Whites have a need to think that they are the brains behind what Blacks do because we can't do it ourselves.

A distinct, robust Afrocentric agroecology movement is growing throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its emergence is parallel to the mainstream environmental and eco-justice movements. Karen Washington (in New York) and Chris Bolden-Newsome (in Pennsylvania) join Renard Turner, president of the Virginia Association of Biological Farming in central Virginia, and others in building the autonomous sovereignty of African-American growers. Turner recently inaugurated the African American Agrarian Association for Sustainability, which links Black farmers and promotes standalone, off-grid, sustainable Black intentional communities.

Turner and Bolden-Newsome are determined to reconnect Black growers to food ways and herbal medicine ways that are traditional to people of the African Diaspora. Newsome and Turner both grow organic okra, collard and mustard greens, fish peppers, sorghum, cabbage, marshmallow, eddoes, black peanuts, Moringa trees, black-eyed peas, field peas and Caribbean tomatoes.

With Bolden-Newsome's guidance, student members of ONYX, the University of Pennsylvania Black Honor Society helped fund, design, plan, till, weed and tell stories in the Diaspora Garden, which has become somewhat of a sacred space dedicated to the ancestors.

Owner of the 94-acre Vanguard Ranch and a proponent of Black intentional communities, Renard Turner asserts, "We have to reconnect with our own abilities, maintain our own communities and food systems. We need to own stores, the farms that supply those stores, and a lot more control over our destiny and lives."

The Mid-Atlantic Wellbeing Circle in Charlottesville is walking through the doorway opened by these pioneering Black environmentalists. Networked at several scales, MATH affirms the authentic andstrategic need to build strong homogenous local initiatives of color so that true egalitarian unity in diversity may be sought at a wider scale in the network.

In true Transition form, MATH is stepping out of the mainstream template to build an organizingalternative that meets the emerging needs of the people it serves.

The African Diaspora Garden is located at the Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bartram's Garden. The project is a partnership among Bartram's Garden, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the City of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park and the Agatson Urban Nutrition Initiative of theNetter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

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This Revolution Will Not Be Centralized


This Revolution Will Not Be Centralized: Mid-Atlantic Hub Creates 'Egalitarian Spokescouncil'


The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) recently formed a 'Spokescouncil of Egalitarian Resilience Networks' to cultivate a more "leaderful" movement.

Equality – an objective reality, or an intellectual aspiration?

Activists promote, post, and petition for equality. We demand egalitarian treatment of others, and for others. Yet, do our own daily actions indicate that we value each other’s humanity equally? Do the networks and organizations of those who advocate non-hierarchical, egalitarian relationship and governance, in fact reflect those practices? How does the Transition movement square with egalitarian, non-hierarchical practice? 

Cultivating a leaderful, egalitarian movement is fundamental to the Transition conversation in the Mid-Atlantic region, from New York to Virginia. A Spokescouncil of Egalitarian Resilience Networks has emerged within the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) constellation. The Spokescouncil is intended to hold the MATH network accountable to the Transition movement’s egalitarian, social permaculture roots.  

Networks for which the following practices form part of their operational core are invited to be part of the Spokescouncil. Those networks which: 1) vigilantly listen for and address the emergent need of the whole while honoring innate gifts of individuals,2) value and seek continual system transformation and refinement in service to the whole. The Spokescouncil’s primary goal is to continually support and challenge participants to deepen egalitarian, whole systems thinking and practices within their networks even as we foster social transformation through our work.

Joining the Mid-Atlantic Regional Hub in this journey are friends of Transition from:

  • The New England Regional Transition Hub (NERT), 
  • Permaculture Networks and Circles,
  • The Federation of Egalitarian Communities, (FEC),
  • New Economy - Timebank Network, 
  • Ecovillage Network (egalitarian subgroup,) 
  • Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) Networks in New England, NY, NJ, PA, DC, & MD,
  • The Mid-Atlantic “Work that Reconnects” (WTR) Network.

The Earth is the Model: Nowhere is the example of decentralized yet interconnected egalitarian “process” more obvious and seamless than in natural ecosystems. Economist David Korten identifies characteristics of nature’s systems as: 1) non-hierarchical, decentralized, cooperative and self-organizing; 2) diverse; 3) self-reliant, 4) locally adapted and, 5) balanced energy flows between individuals and the whole. In an ecosystem, trillions of organisms dance a ballet of interrelated exchange. Each organism contributes to the needs of its neighbors, to the equilibrium, and the resilience of the whole while maintaining its own identity.

MATH’s Mid-Atlantic network structure and operations, now reinforced by the Spokescouncil, are therefore patterned after egalitarian systems processes prevalent in nature. MATH’s assertion is that, thinking and behavior that mimics natural living systems can save us from ourselves. MATH’s approach to Transitioning is to foster a non-hierarchical human ecosystem that maintains a balance between a keen understanding of the climactic, economic and resource depletion triple crisis we face, AND, experiencing the joy of working in supportive community. MATH actively honors the permaculture origin of the Transition movement by cultivating a self-nourishing regional community-of-practice. That community mimics the dispassionate compassion of natural systems toward members, and the earth. That is, we seek to create and model an environment that fosters a non-attached, unconditional response to meet the needs of every part of the system; each of which is equally valued.

The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH), a six state consortium of Transition towns and a regional network of self-identified “Transitioners,” cultivates a shared mindset shift to the new climate change, energy, and economic, “normal.” The MATH network is comprised of a: 

    >Stewardship Circle: Twelve, Specialized Environmentalist Transition Trailblazers

    >MATH Council: Transitioners’ Best Practices Sharing Group representing six states

    > Spokescouncil of Egalitarian Resilience Networks

    >Extensive network of “non-affiliated Transitioner friends.”

Transitioning happens at interconnected, hyper-local, local, water/foodshed, state, regional, national and international scales. MATH’s mission is to link hundreds of local Transition nodes throughout the Mid-Atlantic megacity corridor in a vital, living, interconnected web; providing an ongoing flow of support and communication among all of these levels. MATH’s objectives and approaches evolve to directly reflect the emergent resilience-building needs of the densely populated, highly diverse chain of metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

This Revolution Will Not be Centralized: Leaderful Egalitarian Movements If we are to build a leaderful movement we’d be wise to expand narrow, conventional definitions of leadership. We need to: 1) detach our understanding of leadership from an outworn hierarchical notion of a charismatic “personality,” and focus on leadership occurring as a practice, and as conscious, collaborative social interaction, 2) broaden our ideas about what constitutes a leader in order to appreciate a spectrum of innate talents in our colleagues. Leadership in this day and age is less about traits or behaviors of particular individuals, and more about the cooperative effort of participants who choose through their own ground rules to achieve a particular outcome. 

As Purvi Shah, Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights said of today’s social transformation movements, “This moment and movement is producing high-impact, low ego leaders in many sectors, all focused on a facilitative style of leadership, where sustainability and outcomes are more important than shine or visibility.”

Egalitarian, facilitative leadership is not about what one person thinks or does, and more about what people may accomplish together. How leadership emerges, unfolds progressively over time in accordance with the need of the hour. Supporting egalitarian participatory leadership will require a fundamental shift of lenses for those of us conditioned in the hyper-individualistic, stratified culture that drives the American system. Power-and-control, competitive and hierarchical habits in group work are hard to kick. 

Natural living-systems on the other hand, demonstrate no need for a centralized control structure. The power of a living-system is derived not from individual participants but from how participants are organized, and the interchange among them. So while the contributions of individuals are essential, the true power of systems emerges from their collective interdependence. 

The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub catalyzed by the Spokescouncil tasks its network to vigilantly self-observe and commit to ongoing self-transformation in service of the whole. The  Spokescouncil will demonstrate that leadership is generated through its activity rather than through the traits and heroics of any individual actor. Vigilant conscious practice of egalitarianism can head off seductive “power-&-control-think” at the pass. Full self-expression and listening deeply for emerging needs and courses of action give free reign to the creative force of the collective genius. 

Managing the energy and information flow among individuals and network circles to allow for the emergence of the new is MATH’s growing edge. This occurs seamlessly in nature where each entity maintains a balanced flow of energy within itself and in continuous exchange with its neighbors. However, this type of interchange challenges minds that are conditioned to focus on disconnection, separation and competition. 

The Spokescouncil of Egalitarian Resilience Networks emerged out of a shared desire among a group of Mid-Atlantic Transitioners and activists to move beyond advocating for equality, toward practicing egalitarianism. We are committing to ongoing observation of how we treat each other, and reorient our network compasses to deepen true egalitarian community-building. 

Transitioners acknowledge that the movement is an evolving experiment. We don’t have all of the answers. We aren’t intent on finding perfect solutions, but like living-systems we seek experimental pathways that meet the need of the hour and can be refined over time. When something doesn’t work, Transitioners embrace new behaviors and adapt to emergent circumstances. Each time we shift course, the complexity of our relationships is deepened and we become more adaptable—more resilient.

Pamela Boyce Simms, KD2GUF, is a Certified Transition Trainer with Transition US, and Convener of the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH)

Mid-Atlantic Transitioning

 Meet the Transition Towns of the Mid-Atlantic Region


 Wilmington in Transition: How does the Transition Movement manifest in the First State? (Good Question!) Delaware is known as the US ‘Cayman Islands’ - home to more corporations than the state has citizens – and for its high violent crime rates. (It was also the site of the longest encamped ‘Occupy ’ group in the country).  We have the Dover Air Force Base (weigh station for all the nation’s military ‘casualties’) which dominates the otherwise rather provincial State Capital.  We have the Chesapeake Bay, blue crabs, sinking islands, proud locals, and the clash of rural conservatives with urban liberals.  We have an Uber-toxic ‘cancer map’ hot-spot, Delaware City, right at sea-level, home to a Bakaan shale oil refinery, complete with ‘bomb trains’ whirring twice daily through the nearby campus of the University of DE, in Newark – (ironically) a school nationally recognized for renewable energy research and development.  

Delaware’s average altitude is just 60 feet above sea level (the lowest in the country) and has hundreds of miles of fragile marsh-land coastline, and sandy hurricane prone beaches.  Delaware has the Mason-Dixon Line between the Urban sprawl of the North, and the sub-urban sprawl of the South.  We have ‘tax-free shopping’, most of the nation’s credit card debt holders and banking industry headquarters, and amongst all of these influences exists only about “1/6 of a degree of separation” (it seems everyone knows everyone)!  In Delaware, one gets the feeling that it’s the same 50 people doing all of the environmental / eco-justice activism, and coalescing a ‘Transition Town’ group is a lot like herding cats – all of the ‘activists’ and social-change makers just seem to be so darned busy all of the time – and, no wonder!  It sometimes feels like David (Transition) against Goliath (Corporate ‘status quo’) – larger than life, here in Delaware!


For Wilmington in Transition, Laura Philon Initiator, and MATH Council Member


Transition Howard County: Transition Howard County: We foster resilient and engaged communities by partnering with local groups that focus on different aspects of sustainability. We currently have active working groups in the following areas: ecosystem landscaping, energy, food, inner transition, knowledge, and outreach. We partnered with the Howard County Dept. of Recreation and Parks and other organizations for our Earth Day Bioblitz on April 26, 2014. We partner with Howard Community College (HCC) for a series of community forums on sustainability including Climate Change, Energy, and Health. Our next one will be on Land Use.

 We work with the Earth Forum of Howard County to organize and present a series of films on Food. We also worked with our local Time Bank to sponsor an event on gluten free foods. We plan to work with them to present a program on plant-based diets in the fall. We table at many county events to help spread the word about the importance of Transition including the annual community-wide GreenFest and 50+ Expo. We recently showed Doug Tallamy’s talk on “Bringing Nature Home. THC sponsors the Green Homes Now tour every October which showcases homes where people are living green and living well. This summer we will be working with the Columbia Families In Nature, a community oriented group for busy families to take the time to be together in nature, to help promote the development of National Wildlife Federation certified gardens. We send out a twice monthly newsletter and our email list continues to grow. We will soon hit 500 recipients. READ MORE……

For Transition Howard County, Margo Deusterhaus, Initiator and MATH Council Member

New Jersey

Transition Montclair -

Transition Newark     -

Transition Newton     -

Transition Redbank   -

New York

Transition Albany: continues to meet monthly, but our attendance has been low--around five people at each meeting. We formed in 2010 as a Capital District hub, and hived off into Albany and Troy initiatives a couple years ago. Our members, however, have been very active in two key initiatives. 

Initiator Sandy Steubing launched People of Albany United For Safe Energy, PAUSE, about 18 months ago, to stop the shipment of highly explosive Bakken crude oil into the Port of Albany. Presently, the Port receives two trains of 110 cars each every day, and the route runs right next to a low-income housing project in the South End. PAUSE has gotten a receptive response from city and county government officials.

Transitioner Dave Hochfelder has been active in a community solar project called Solarize Albany. This is a national model that has been tried out in various locations around the country, including six other locations in New York State. The Solarize model brings concerned citizens together to buy residential solar installations in bulk, generating out-of-pocket cost savings of about 20%. We are in process of selecting our chosen installer and we are set to do about 50 installations in 2015, with more to follow in 2016 and beyond.

For Transition Albany, Dave Hochfelder, Initiator

Transition Catskills: "Last summer, Transition Catskills hosted two outreach events where we screened the documentary "Transition 1.0."  Each screening was attended by about 30 people and was followed by an open discussion on the subject of making our region more self-reliant and resilient. 

We began to compile an email list, which came in handy for our third event, a potluck featuring locally sourced food, with entertainment provided by local musicians. At the potluck, we created a timeline on which attendees could write their vision for our region in years to come.

In October, we planted the first public orchard in Delaware County, which consists of 8 apple trees installed next to the community garden in Fleischmanns. And we began compiling a video that will introduce the concept of Transition, and will also feature relocalizing efforts not only by our group, but will acknowledge the work of others.

We have designed our Catskill currency, and will be contacting local businesses to garner support before its debut. We have many more projects launching in the coming months, including Transition Streets, which we feel will be a good fit with our community." 

For Catskills in Transition, Kristina Zill, Initiator.

Hamptons in Transition: “Hamptons in Transition has several new members and is working on a bus/cash mob to support local businesses and promote public transportation usage. We’re revamping our brochure, producing a series of speaking engagements, and exploring cohousing. Teamed with the Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery Project” 

For Hamptons in Transition, Bobbie Cohen, Initiator.

Kingston Transition:Kingston Transition is still small in terms of the initiating group and at our monthly meetings we have agreed that our current role should be one of supporting and encouraging the many grassroots initiatives already happening in Kingston that are in line with the Transition philosophy and community building.  Our Facebook page has more than tripled in followers and serves as a hub of information about local events and movements. We were active in the opposition to a water bottling plant development proposal that has since been withdrawn and in supporting Rosendale Transition’s initiative for Citizens for Local Power among other projects. We have started our own Repair Café in midtown, where people can get broken items fixed for free, which is proving to be both a community builder and a practical help as well as a basic education in sustainability. As our visibility grows we expect to attract more creative initiatives, and to continue to support many of those already in existence.

For Kingston Transition, Gai Galitzine, Initiator.

Lower Hudson Valley Transition Hub: the successor of the Westchester Transition Hub is in hiatus.

Transition Marbletown: “Transition Marbletown originated and co-sponsors the annual Common Ground Celebration ( which brings people together to recognize our common ground and celebrate our shared vision for the Rondout Valley as a healthy, creative, regenerative and sustainable community. Signs of Sustainability awards local citizens who have contributed significantly to our sustainability and our community are featured.”

For Transition Marbletown, Cornelia Wathen, Initiator.

The Mid-Hudson Valley Transition Hub: is an online news, events and information clearinghouse.

NYC Metro in Transition:Motivated clusters of residents who live in the same New York City (NYC) neighborhoods and have attended NYC Transition Hub meetings, have started to form in Manhattan's Upper West Side and Lower East Side, and in Brooklyn's Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Flatbush communities. Excitement is building within a newly emerging Transition Neighborhoods network in New York City convened by the NYC Transition hub.  NYC Hub and MATH are supporting New Yorker's first steps toward organizing Transition Neighborhoods groups.

The NYC Hub, MATH, and area permaculturists are also partnering with the residents of Sandy-devastated Far Rockaway, Queens to build local resilience. The partners have come together to organize the Rockaway 4th Annual Health Festival and Transition Convergence with Battalion Pentecostal Assembly Church and networks of neighbors in the surrounding area.  The festival will take place on the weekend of June 26 - 28, and will be promoted throughout the Rockaways, and the NY metro area.  

Leading up to the festival Rockaway neighbors are offering their backyards and empty lots for permaculture installations, with location details and photos on The NYC Hub will put out a request for proposed designs for these locations, and has secured several senior permaculture designers to review submissions.  We will work with selected designers to arrange volunteer workshop days to install the designs and teach skills this spring. The Hub has also contacted other Rockaway community groups about the event, and will be seeking aligned groups and workshop presenters for the weekend. 

On March 7, Dr. Mikey Tomkins, who specializes in creating "edible maps" to promote urban agriculture, toured Arverne, Rockaway and selected Brooklyn neighborhoods to estimate food growing potential of those communities. NYC Transition Hub upcoming events include Transition Neighborhoods Workshop Intensives in Manhattan on March 22, and on the Rockaways in April.

For the New York City Transition Hub, Dan Miner, Convener and MATH Steward

Transition Ossining:  “We have supported the formation of a community garden on the grounds of a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. We also supported a change in the laws of the Village of Ossining to allow beekeeping.  Due to its Rivertown location on the Hudson, the initiative has been evaluating opportunities to revitalize its waterfront as part of the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) waterways project.  We are planning to restart in the spring after the loss of several core members.  For Transition Ossining, John Bell, Initiator.

Rosendale Transition: “Rosendale won't sit on its hands watching with heartbreak as the earth becomes less hospitable to life. We are retraining hands to play music, grow food, repair tools, take care of our neighbors, and provide energy locally. And our hearts are into it!” For Rosendale Transition, Amy Trompetter, Initiator and MATH Steward

Sustainable Saugerties Transition: (Featured initiative-

For Sustainable Saugerties Transition Town, Karuna Foudriat, Initiator.

Transition Schenectady: Although the core group is currently in hiatus, Transition Schenectady has, and can be a potential catalyst for change with the Vale Urban Farm and the Electric City Bike Rescue (ECBR) which meets weekly. These are potentially powerful vehicles to carry us into a better tomorrow. ECBR has been recycling and donating bikes, and sharing skills for almost a year in space donated by The Edison Tech Center. Transition initiated, ECBC is now in the competent hands of bike enthusiasts from the community and other groups, one of which helping with storage in an area that would make bikes more accessible to economically challenged youth of Schenectady. With help the Edison Tech Center building could be a new home for ECBR but at present many upgrades are needed before the public can be invited in.

For Transition Schenectady, Clarence (Rennie) Fountain, Initiator.

Transition Troy:  In addition to robust ongoing projects such as a community timebank, composting with Troy’s City Council, a Farmer’s Market, and Community Gardens, Transition Troy is propelled by solar power. Its two distinguished projects in this domain are Solar [powered] Sal, a solar boat and, Solarize Troy

Solar (Powered) Sal: Awareness raising is a pivotal Transition ingredient. Demonstration that stretches minds to envision what is possible in a "Transitioned" future in a physical, tangible form is a tremendously powerful and inspirational form of public awareness raising. To that end, Transition Troy supports initiators bracketed on bridging from the here and now to renewables through projects like Solarize Troy, as well as visionaries like David Borton who demonstratively bring the future right into the present.

Sol, a 25 ft solar powered boat featured at MATH’s 2013 Waterways Reskilling Conference, is retired Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor David Borton’s third solar electric boat. Sol can carry 2 tons and goes 6 knots.  Her daytime range is not limited, she can go 50 miles at night.

Fast forward two years. David Borton remarks that, “Some folks thought that the 25 ft Sol looked small on the Hudson River, so solar must only work for small boats.” So, David and a crew of students and volunteers are currently building a 40 foot solar electric cargo boat, Solar Sal, by hand in Schodack School district’s bus garage. Forty-feet, 39 feet 3 inches actually, is not a small boat. Solar Sal is a prototype "commercial boat" that will be able to carry 12 tons on the Erie Canal, no gas, no oil, no noise.   READ MORE……

For Transition Troy, David Borton, Initiator.

Tricounty NY Transition:  The Tricounty Transition Town Initiative is a grassroots coalition of leaders, educators, farmers, scientists, doctors, small business owners, and area residents  in the Glens Falls, Queensbury NY area. We all share urgent concerns about the impact, waste, and over use of fossil fuels in all aspects of our lives.

Our main role is to spark action around the many issues related to fossil fuel dependency and to disseminate information via talks, seminars, movie events and actions. We are presently actively involved with a "Bring Your Own Bag" campaign, working locally with residents, markets and city/town officials to eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags. We are also very involved with our local schools and college around issues of farm to school, farm to table, farm to market.

We reflect the values of the international Transition Town movement while continuing to remain an "Initiating Hub" with rotating leadership. Our mailing list has grown tremendously over the past few years. You can find us online at

For Tri-County-NY Transition, Lisa Adamson, Initiator.

Woodstock NY Transition (WNYT) is evolving organically with a solid core of committed, connected members.  WNYT consists of eleven self-organized working groups of various sizes and levels of activity.  Representatives from each working group meet monthly to celebrate successes and support each other in challenges.  

Garden Share has hosted, over the last year, lively, well-attended monthly meetings chock full of presentations and skill sharing.  Now they are focusing their attention to community outreach oriented programs. Their first project is a commitment to participate to the Hudson Valley Seed Freedom Zone If you go to that part of the Hudson Valley Seed Library’s website, you can sign up to receive information.  In their efforts to contribute, a Seed Share Library with the motto “Take, Grow, Give”, in a box containing packages of seeds, envelopes, provided by Lala Montoya and Jared Williams and seed sharing information booklets, created by Sabrina Asch, is now “planted” in the gardening/food section of the Woodstock Library.  It is the first of several that they hope to place around town. READ MORE……

For Woodstock (NY) Transition, Polly Howells, Initiator.


Transition Town Media:Transition Town Media was birthed in January 2009, formed in April, became official in August, and put on its first public event in September of that year.

Our initial primary goals were to put on monthly awareness-raising events and become acquainted with as many of the local “players” in Media and environs as possible. This included the local non-profits, the Business Authority, the Arts Council, the schools and churches, and local government.

        We were able to put on events nearly every month, and in the last couple of years, more than once a month. These events ranged from talks about Transition Towns and how we envisioned our future, to movies (Power of Community, Economics of Happiness, Fresh, Garbage Warrior, Occupy Love, and others), to Reskilling workshops, to talks & classes on Permaculture, home & community veggie gardens, rain barrels & rain gardens, home energy conservation & weatherization, local alternative economies, and so on. We’ve also staged Free Markets, a TimeBanking weekend (featuring Edgar Cahn and Charles Eisenstein), Gift Circles, a screening of the documentary Fixing the Future (featuring the producer, David Brancaccio), Transition Jams, Garbage Art contests, Holiday Fairs (Green Sundays featuring all handmade goods by local artists) and a Happiness Week (a week-long celebration of what really makes us happy).


For Transition Town Media, Sari Steuber, Initiator.

Transition Town State College (TTSC) had its genesis when the cost of gasoline soared to $4.00 per gallon and more (2008) with which came the realization that we have a challenged energy economy.  The impact of Hurricane Katrina (2005) was in the background when it became evident that even a small reduction in petroleum production capacity, and collaterally, political uncertainty regarding the availability of petroleum from unstable parts of the world, markedly affected cost.  It became clear that we needed to reduce energy dependence and to develop alternative energy resources.  We had learned little from the oil crisis of the 1970s.

Searching for options we found and joined the Relocalization Network (Post Carbon Institute).  This provided an excellent model for a local and grassroots response to economic and energy uncertainties.  Local and grassroots seemed the best scale and context of response to an increasingly unstable world economy.

In 2008 came the publication of The Transition Handbook and the transformation of the Relocalization Network into Transition US.  A group formed in Centre County, PA around discussions of The Transition Handbook in 2009. 

For Transition Town State College, Bill Sharp, Initiator.


Transition Charlottesville AlbemarleCharlottesville folks started a peak oil group that became Transition Blue Ridge, which lasted from Jan. 2009 to Dec. 2009. There was a lot of focus on community growing food. After Transition Blue Ridge dispersed, there was no activity until Jan. 2011. Erik and Lindsay Curren from Transition Staunton Augusta came to speak, and 15 folks were ready to start up again. We began to meet and plan next steps. The planning group hosted Training 4 Transition (T4T) in February 2012. We were very concerned about having the training participants be reflective of the diverse population in the community. We filled a large community space with 40+ locals that fulfilled that goal of diversity. There were folks that came from other Va. locations and out of state too.

After the T4T training, Transition Charlottesville Albemarle ( began to hold monthly potluck community meetings at the downtown library. We've shown educational films to heighten awareness, held panel discussions with local groups specializing on topics of local concerns, and we held several meetings to spotlight other groups doing transition type activities. We held 2 meetings of a world cafe style on visioning Charlottesville and Albemarle County being a transition town. We became an official Transition Initiative. READ MORE……

For Transition Charlottesville Ablemarle, Ann Marie Honenberger, Initiator

Transition Staunton Augusta

Erik and Lindsay Curren founded Transition Staunton Augusta in January 2010 as the 61st Transition group in the United States.  Later that same year they launched, an online magazine covering peak oil, climate change and the economy. The initial launch included an interview with Transition movement co-founder Rob Hopkins, and since then the site has featured original interviews with other leading figures in the peak oil and the resilience movements, including Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler and John Michael Greer as well as reviews of books and films and commentary on important developments. Erik ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia legislature in 2009 and was subsequently elected to the city council of Staunton, VA, population 24,000, in 2012.

For Transition Staunton Augusta, Erik Curren, Initiator