What does a Transition initiative do? … an example: Jamaica Plain, Boston USA
Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition formed in 2009, after a Transition:Launch course. Following the training, they sat down to explore how they might set about doing Transition in their community of 40,000 people, an inner-city neighbourhood, where half the people are Asian, Latino or AfricanAmerican. They resolved to set about building resilience with a particular focus on livelihoods, but in a way that reflected the neighbourhood’s diversity. The group’s leaflets and events are all done in both English and Spanish. They present Transition in terms of local jobs, jobs of the future, ways to address rising energy costs, youth opportunity, decent wages, opportunities and livelihoods, and addressing both race and class inequality.
The range of projects they run includes:
The annual State of the Neighbourhood Forum: a huge event (between four and five hundred people) which invites people to reflect on the community’s needs and to problem solve creative ways forward. The elected city officials are invited, but as ‘keynote listeners’.
JP Yard sharing: a Garden Share scheme (these are run by many other Transition initiatives too).
Egleston Farmers’ Market: a community-led initiative to make fresh, healthy, locally-grown food accessible throughout the year, bring people from all parts of Jamaica Plain together, and support the local economy.
Supporting existing businesses in the community: For example, they worked with a local butcher’s shop to help him find a local supplier and then expanded his clientele by letting people in the JP NET network know that it was available.
Working with local businesses to reduce the health risk of their operations: in particular beauty parlours and dry cleaners – a Cancer-Free Economy.
Boston Food Forest: an ambitious plan to plant food-bearing trees across the community.
JP Resiliency Measures: researching indicators for measuring resilience in the community.
Egleston Community Orchard: a community orchard planted on the site of a former waste ground that was the site of a shooting. The garden has played a part in reducing crime in the area.
The Boston Bean: a local currency scheme currently being piloted. J
JP NET co-founder Chuck Collins told Rob Hopkins of Transition Network: “[In future] We are certainly not going to have the same energy resources. We have to adapt and make a shift. Austerity also makes us think about what really matters. What is real wealth? How do we organise so that the resources that the community needs are still there?”