Since having begun to meet as a group in June of 2010 at the Albany Public Library, and continuing to hold monthly meetings ever since, the 2011 year has proved to be one of two major events and a host of smaller ones that have spurred interest and growth in our organization and the Transition Town concept.
The first big event grew out of several of our members’ attendance at the first locally run Training for Transition (T4T) training in Greenwich this past March. All told, about 9 of our members participated in the T4T, and this resulted in the folks in Troy realizing they had probably enough people and energy to begin forming their own Transition Town effort. At the May meeting of CDTN, the decision was reached for Troy, Albany and Schenectady each to put together their own Transition Town groups and proceed on their own, with the entire network coming together quarterly for a general meeting.
Sandy Steubing led practically a one-woman effort to spearhead the first ever Agriculture Career Day at Albany High School in March. The event was covered by Metroland, the Times-Union and Channel 13. Cornell Cooperative Extension, SUNY Cobleskill and several local farmers participated in our attempt to lift up the agricultural sector in the eyes of our youth.
In April, CDTN co-sponsored a reskilling event with the Permaculture Guild and Troy Bike Rescue at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. Dave Hochfelder coordinated this event with folks from the other organizations.
Also in the spring, CDTN tabled at a talk with Congressman Tonko at the First Unitarian-Universalist Society of Albany (FUUSA) with Sharon Astyk as facilitator. They had quite a discussion, and some sparks flew around the issue of biofuels. The event received some coverage from the local press.
CDTN also sponsored the Earth Day bike ride from City Hall on a three-mile journey that ended up in Washington Park, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Energy and Sustainability and Capital District Transit Authority. Doug Melnick of the Mayor’s Office gave a talk at the event. Mr. Melnick later spoke to our group in the fall about Albany 2030 and a speaker from CDTA offered a demo on how to put a bicycle on the front of a bus. Again Sandy Steubing took the reins of organizing this event.
The other big event of the 2011 was the second training that Transition Troy sponsored with CDTN participation. Several of us were on hand as staff to make sure the event ran smoothly. We had 23 attendees and was well received by those who came. Dave Hochfelder, David Yarrow, Emily Rossier, Liz Pohlmann, Margaret Stoner, myself, and others from Transition Troy organized the event and Rebekah Rice provided the food for the meals during the Training. I also put together a talk between local clergy and Transition Trainer Tina Clarke at FUUSA about Transition Congregations.
A lot of the energy in the fall went into planning for Transition Albany’s Garden Exchange project of attempting to connect landless local gardeners with property owners with available land they would like to see used for productive efforts, and partner that land with gardeners to create more local gardens in the region. The fall also saw much discussion and individual involvement in the Occupy Albany actions across from the Capital.
Transition Troy has been meeting monthly on first Sunday nights in various Troy locations, and is now working on projects involving municipal composting. I attended one of their summer meetings, when there was a gift circle and an attempt to utilize one of the tools we learned at our Training in March, with middling results. The first meeting of 2012 was to involve newly elected local politicians, to introduce them to the Transition Town concept.
Our newest local initiative, Transition Schenectady, met for the first time in January 2012. They are already discussing projects like mushroom growing, building supers for honey bees, wood-lot working parties.
Richard Morell is one of the founders and active participant of the Transition Albany. He can be reached through Member email.