Our readers will have to stop us if they get bored of hearing about Transition Towns because we find it hard to stop writing about them. While Oily Cassandra might be busy educating the world about peak oil in her own scantily-clad (and perhaps slightly pessimistic) way, the folks involved in the Transition movement are busy pioneering a path towards reduced fossil fuel dependence. So far we've interviewed Rob Hopkins, the founder of the movement, about peak oil and community resilience, we've seen how whole cities are stepping up to plan for power down, we've heard about the launch of the Transition Handbook, and we've celebrated as Transition Towns reach Australia. But the positive news from over the pond just keeps on coming. The latest transition-related initiative that's caught our eye is efforts by the Totnes group to make the town the 'Nut Tree Capital of Britain'. Much like Transition City Bristol's 'virtual orchard', the idea is to use town-wide plantings to create a stock of healthy, productive trees that can serve as a great source of local food, and a buffer in times of scarcity.
The reason that the group is concentrating on nut trees is their potential to outgrow cereal crops in terms of carbohydrates, and to utilise poorer soils with fewer inputs. The group has already planted hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds across the town, and is engaging the support of both the local authorities and the surrounding community for funding, people-power and protection from vandals. It also looks like the project is proving to be a great opportunity for community building:
"We had even more volunteers on this day, 35 or so, including several children, and people who had come from surrounding towns and villages to lend a hand. We realised what enthusiasm there is for this project, how many people's imaginations it is firing. During the planting at Bridgetown, we involved 3 boys playing nearby who undertook to be unofficial guardians of the trees. Good luck to them!. The trees at the edge of playing fields are most at the mercy of footballs and drunken revellers. We also had with us an extended family, of 4 generations, who brought with them a nut sapling they had grown from a walnut, and involved the youngest to the oldest in the planting."
Further Reading on Transition Towns
Interview with Rob Hopkins, founder of the movement
Transition City Bristol
The Transition Handbook
Transition Towns Reach Australia
The Virtual Orchard Project
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