Why Transition: Taking the Pressure Off

A friend came by today to pick up straw bales for his garden  (I also gave him the quince atchar he supplied the quinces for, and my infamous apple peel jelly). He asked me why I am trying Transition again. I couldn’t quite answer clearly. I’m not clear in my head about the many causes and reasons and motivators. But one, I just realized, is that I want the pressure off myself.

I have always thought I want to grow as much food as I can for my family. I still want this, but two gardening seasons in my garden have changed my idea of “as I can”.

For one, the garden itself – the soil, the amount of sunlight, the presence of peckish critters – is not yet up to growing as much as I want it to. This will change in the future as I work on the soil fertility and judiciously take more pine trees down to replace them with fruit and nut trees, but that’ll be a long haul. And secondly, the gardener too will need some improving. That’s me, yes.

Then there are issues of livestock (no chickens yet) and food storage  (no root cellar yet, did very little canning this year) and even food preparation (no cob oven yet).

I know, the “yet”s say it all: have patience, these things take time!

But I am in a rush, and in the time that I feel I might have, I can’t get it all done. Not on my own.

And so, there it is: Transition, a whole community moving towards one big garden and food pantry.

You might say, hold on, that’s exchanging one kind of pressure for another. Just April 2011 will be a lot of work and worry for me, and that’s supposed to be only the beginning!

But here’s something that also contributed to my starting up again: I have changed my expectations for Transition in my community. I’m no longer expecting my whole town to go Transition like these towns in the UK have done. I remember at the Transition Training, a year ago, watching those UK success stories and thinking “I can’t make that happen!” I’ve accepted that now. I can’t make that happen because America is a very different place from the UK, and as a European who has lived here for over a decade, I should know.

But to find just a few people interested in a few topics of Transition, like growing more food, keeping chickens and bees, canning and foraging for herbs together, skillsharing, etc. would be enough already.

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  1. Very insightful post. It’s hard not to be impatient. I often regret our late start. We’ve had the desire and a modest amount of know-how, but not the wherewithal to get started. I’m learning to accept that this is a process, though it often feels like a race. But then, one of the reasons I want this lifestyle is to get away from the hectic pace of life. I have high hopes that every year will get better and better.

    I will be interested in how Transition works for you this time around. I hope it’s the beginning of at least a small sense of community.

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