Well, as a small group with multiple years of experience we set off on a journey through 2015. Here we go!!! I hope you join us for the fun.
This next fun event offered by Transition Venice will be facilitated by Ann McAvoy, coordinator of the Growing Together Community Garden. The demonstration will be held at the Venice Holistic Community Center, 714 Shamrock Blvd., (across from Herman’s Meats) Venice, from 6-8pm on Tuesday, May 13. We will have several dishes to sample as well as a demonstration of one or two dishes you can create with garden produce. There will be copies of recipes to take home so you can create your own delicious food with produce from your garden. Bring your appetite and come prepared to become an inspired garden chef!
For the above event, Ann is looking for a few more volunteers each to bring an already prepared dish containing at least one garden fresh ingredient (preferably from yours or a friend’s garden). She would also like 1 or 2 or those volunteers to demonstrate how to make their dish at the event. Volunteers will need to bring about 20 copies of their recipe. All dishes and recipes will be shared with people who come to the workshop. Please email Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org for details if you would like to volunteer for this event. Transition Venice is also thinking of creating a garden cookbook in the future so if you can’t be one of the volunteers, please bring a copy of your favorite garden recipe.
A documentary film that examines the role of urban farming in America and asks how much power it has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat.
In their search for answers, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time.
Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too.
The film was released in Fall 2013 at film festivals and is beginning community screenings in Spring 2014. Transition Venice is hosting a FREE screening at 6 pm Tuesday April 8th in the Venice Library meeting room, 300 Nokomis Ave. S., to kickoff the gardening season and support the Growing Cities journey to an America that believes in a more sustainable, just, and healthy future for all!
Tuesday April 8th at 6 pm
Venice Library, 300 Nokomis Ave. S. in the Meeting Room
All my electricity, hot water, and fuel for transportation are supplied by the sunshine that falls on my roof. This is easily done with off the shelf technology and has a good return on investment. Let me speak about living with solar electricity and choices and lifestyle and abundance.
First, there are two types of commonly used systems. Both use photovoltaic panels on the roof. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight to electricity. The other type of solar panel heats water. Photovoltaic panels produce DC (direct current), which is the type of electricity that batteries, electronics, and our bodies use. But the appliances in our homes run on AC (alternating current) because it is possible to send it long distances with less power loss.
There is an appliance that converts the DC the photovoltaic panels produce to the AC that the house uses called an “inverter.” There are two types of inverter systems. One connects to the grid and uses the grid as a backup. If you need more power than your panels produce, the grid supplies it. The grid also powers your house at night. If you make more power than you use, FPL cuts you a check.
The other inverter system uses batteries. In the day the batteries are charged; at night the batteries power your house. If your batteries run low you must conserve until they are charged or charge them using the grid or a generator. The system you choose usually is based on your readiness to change your lifestyle.
Lifestyle change? How much of your current lifestyle (meaning comfort and convenience) are you willing to give up to reduce your contribution to global warming? One end of the spectrum is those who will not change anything. They must have AC all night and must always have very hot water. They must use an electric dryer, a dishwasher, and drive a car everywhere. The other end is those who would gladly walk everywhere and live in a tent without electricity to save their Planet. Most of us, including me, fall somewhere in between.
If you are closer to the no change side you should use a grid tie system. It allows you to keep all the conveniences which we westerners take for granted; electric clothes dryer, electric oven, central AC, unlimited energy consumption any time of day or night.
I was more concerned about not using any fossil fuel and a grid tie system uses fossil fuel at night. It may have a net zero energy use, but it still uses fossil fuel. So I chose a battery powered system and learned to sail my house on the solar energy stream.
What’s it like? My lifestyle changed. My electric oven became propane, my electric water heater became solar, and the dryer became a clothesline. Disliking gas powered stink I bought a push mower and electric weed eater. So far, not bad! And my partner Leslie was more than willing to adapt.
But the changes went deeper. I have limited batteries and they are expensive. So we also store the day’s energy in the form of ice, pressure, and heat. In the evening after the sun sets, to minimize battery discharge, we move two liter jugs of frozen water from the freezer to the fridge, then turn off the fridge. In the morning when the sun comes up, we wait until the system is waking up and producing a few hundred watts, then move the jugs back up to the freezer. We are on a well and turn off the pump at night, using just the pressure in the tank. Our water heater tank is filled with the days hot water and is not heated at night, so the early evening is the right time to take a hot shower.
So there are conservation lifestyle changes – that was to be expected. But wait, there are also abundance lifestyle changes!
When the sun is up, the system produces 4,000 watts an hour. Now the goal is to use all the power the panels make. We come up with creative ways to burn the free clean energy. I weld and run my shop tools. We water the garden, running the well pump. I charge my electric bicycle which has replaced my car.
I realize that I have still more power to burn! So I bake bread in the toaster oven, find things to dehydrate in the electric dehydrator, run the window AC’s, leave lights and fans on, use all the free hot water. On a sunny day I am truly wealthy in free, non polluting power.
On cloudy days we must reign in our consumption. I watch the power being generated and limit my welding and bread baking. But what has surprised me is how much power we get even then. Even on dark rainy days the panels are making electricity, enough for the fridge, to run the lights, and charge the batteries.
If you perceive living this way to be annoying, you should choose a grid tie system. If being connected to the days energy flows and sailing your house on the solar wind appeals to you, choose a battery system.
The most interesting change for me is switching between a lifestyle of conservation at night to one of almost unlimited energy consumption during the day. If I was on a grid tie system, I would always be conserving, hoping to generate more than I used. That would feel very different. Personally I like the connectedness of observing the changing sunlight and matching my consumption. I like how power wealthy I become each day and then battening down the hatches at night.
These lifestyle changes bring me face to face with my sense of entitlement. Entitlement is the feeling that all these things, comforts, and conveniences in our lives are our birthrights. Despite living with more comforts and conveniences than kings of old, most of us aspire to more abundance. To most, generating one’s own power, heating one’s own water, using a vehicle powered by the sun, and attempting to raise your own food is a lifestyle of poverty and hassle.
But surprise! Abundance awaits here. I feel abundance from using profligately that which is free and environmentally benign. Like having more fresh tomatoes and mangoes and greens than I can eat, relaxing in a 72 degree bedroom while the Florida sun is blazing, and taking a very long hot shower because the water is heated by the sun. My abundance is not taxed, I have no environmental guilt over my excesses, and my neighbors feel sorry for me, not jealous!
Creating a more sustainable lifestyle gives you Stealth Wealth!
1. Positive Visioning
Transition Initiatives are based on a dedication to the creation of tangible, clearly expressed and practical visions of the community in question beyond its present-day dependence on fossil fuel. Our primary focus is not campaigning against things, but rather on creating positive, empowering possibilities and opportunities. The generation of new stories and myths are central to this visioning work.
2. Help People Access Good Information and Trust Them to Make Good Decisions
Transition initiatives dedicate themselves, through all aspects of their work, to raising awareness of peak oil and climate change and related issues such as critiquing economic growth. In doing so they recognize the responsibility to present this information in ways which are playful, articulate, accessible and engaging, and which enable people to feel enthused and empowered rather than powerless.
Transition initiatives focus on telling people the closest version of the truth that we know in times when the information available is deeply contradictory. The messages are non-directive, respecting each person’s ability to make a response that is appropriate to their situation.
3. Inclusion and Openness
Successful Transition Initiatives need an unprecedented coming together of the broad diversity of society. They dedicate themselves to ensuring that their decision making processes and their working groups embody principles of openness and inclusion. This principle also refers to the principle of each initiative reaching the community in its entirety, and endeavoring, from an early stage, to engage their local business community, the diversity of community groups and local government authorities. It makes explicit the principle that there is no room for ‘them and us’ thinking in the challenge of energy descent planning.
4. Enable Sharing and Networking
Transition Initiatives dedicate themselves to sharing their successes, failures, insights and connections at the various scales across the Transition network, so as to more widely build up a collective body of experience.
5. Build Resilience
This stresses the fundamental importance of building resilience i.e. the capacity of our businesses, communities and settlements to withstand shock. Transition initiatives commit to building resilience across a wide range of areas (food, economics, energy etc) and also on a range of scales (from the local to the national) as seems appropriate and to setting them within an overall context of the need to do everything we can to ensure environmental resilience.
6. Inner and Outer Transition
The challenges we face are not just caused by a mistake in our technologies but are a direct result of our world view and belief system. The impact of the information about the state of our planet can generate fear and grief which may underlie the state of denial that many people are caught in. Psychological models can help us understand what is really happening andavoid unconscious processes sabotaging change. E.g. addictions models, models for behavioral change. This principle also honors the fact that Transition thrives because it enables and supports people to do what they are passionate about, what they feel called to do.
7. Subsidiarity: self organization and decision making at the appropriate level
This final principle embodies the idea that the intention of the Transition model is not to centralize or control decision making, but rather to work with everyone so that it is practiced at the most appropriate, practical and empowering level, and in such a way that it models the ability of natural systems to self organize.
Article courtesy of Transition US
Transition Venice is part of the global Transition Movement, a catalyst for rebuilding local community resilience and self-reliance in the face of peak oil, climate change and economic crisis. Through community dialogues, educational programs and innovative projects, Transition Venice seeks to revitalize local agriculture, strengthen our local economy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and cultivate a new vision for the future of Venice.