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Transition Albany Meeting 21 May 2013 Minutes

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Welcome to new attendee Kevin Johnson!

1. Announcements.

Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City will be at the University Club on Wednesday, 22 May.

The regional Mid Atlantic Transition Hub summit will take place Wednesday, 22 May at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck. Dave Hochfelder is attending (see his report below). (Geo and Maddy from Transition Troy were there also…)

Frank will split two currant bushes from Ann and I with Lan Ying. (We dropped them off on Memorial Day.

2. Garden Exchange. Ryan is sharing his space with Jessica and Isak and is composting in his yard. Frank and Lan Ying are working together also.

Possible follow on projects include a tool library and a group discount/shopping day at a local nursery.

The Garden Exchange got good publicity through channel 13 in April. Transition US learned of it and used the video clip as one of its highlights on projects.

3. Other projects.

We are working with the sailing ship Ceres, from Vermont, to secure a landing spot in Albany in about September. Sandy is working on this.

The NY State League of Conservation Voters is working with us and other Albany groups to put together a public forum for the mayoral candidates on the issue of sustainability. Dave, Mark Schaeffer and Kevin Johnson formed a working group to review their outline and propose changes/additions.

As a possible add-on or extension of this, we might consider sending out a Transition Albany questionnaire to local candidates for mayor and city council. Of course, we will not endorse candidates, but we could make their responses public.

4. Frank Sullivan took over from Dave Hochfelder for the remainder of the meeting and facilitated a great discussion of the Garden Exchange and how to grow it and expand it. Ideas included:

  • David Epstein suggested a well designed lawn sign advertising the Garden Exchange. Though this will cost us about $150, the consensus was that it was worth doing if everyone chips in $10 or so.
  • Craigslist may be another way to get more participants.
  • An end of the year harvest party, featuring some of the shared produce. Obviously we would need to supplement.
  • Dennis Karius suggested the public access cable station as a way to raise awareness.
  • A skill share at someplace like the Furnace.
  • Working with NORC—a local community of retirees.
  • Participating in the Hidden City Garden Tour or doing a garden tour of our own.
  • Flyering at farmers markets.
  • PR through All Over Albany.
  • Working with a non-profit like Parsons, Homeless Action and Travelers Aid, or Equinox. Other social service agencies. They may be able to provide the land and labor to some degree.
  • Presenting at churches.

Mid Atlantic Transition Hub meeting, Omega Institute, 22 May 2013. Dave Hochfelder attended this. Geo, Maddy, and their son Brandon from Transition Troy attended also.

The morning consisted of presentations by Tama Jackson of AppleSeed Permaculture LLC and Gregg Swanzey, city of Kingston director of Economic Development.

Swanzey’s presentation was useful and sobering. He presented on the costs of mitigating flooding over the remainder of the century for his town, as well as showing the damage done by Sandy, which occurred at high tide. He suggested that we find out whether Albany has a Climate Action Plan, which it should as part of the Regional Sustainability
Plan run out of DEC as well as the regional Economic Development Council. Also a Conservation Advisory Council.

The afternoon consisted of small group discussions about best practices, successes, challenges, and strategies. There were a variety of Transition initiatives present, ranging from small cities like Albany to village-sized entities and rural communities.

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