Friday, October 8, 2010

Transition Barrie’s Grand Unleashing Event and Family Harvest Festival

Written for Root Issues in the Barrie Examiner, published under the title "Transition Barrie's unleashing at harvest fest"

During the 2010 municipal elections in which I am running for school board trustee, guest authors Ruth Blaicher and Karen Fox are taking over my column.

Climate change, depleting fossil fuels, and economic instability are daunting issues for a local volunteer group to tackle but these topics are attracting a diverse and growing group of participants to “Transition Barrie”.

Growing very quickly from a UK initiative in 2006, the Transition movement has circled the globe engaging communities at the grassroots level to talk, learn and take action on building resilience through re-localization of the services and resources we will need to survive and thrive in a world of depletion and increasing instability.

In “What can communities do?” Transition Movement founder Rob Hopkins says, “Community matters when we are looking for responses to Peak Oil and Climate Change because of the power that emerges from working together and creating meaningful change through shared action … If we see these issues as purely environmental and something that someone else will fix, we give away our potential to create change and end up feeling powerless.”

That feeling of powerlessness in the face of big change brought a group of Barrie residents together in the spring of 2009 to explore local Transition opportunities. Through awareness-raising events such as Eco-fest, presentations to local groups, open space forums, informal meet-ups and film screenings Transition Barrie is moving toward the next stage of community engagement, developing hands-on projects. Local focus groups are working on diverse topics such as urban food production, seed saving, food preservation & root cellars, local & alternative energy sources, electric cars, car-sharing, and housing alternatives, all of these to culminate in the grand vision of an “Energy Descent Action Plan” for Barrie.

To celebrate this development of a shared vision, festivities are in order. It’s our Grand Unleashing, a coming-out party in the timely form of a Family Harvest Festival at Chappell Farms on Saturday, Sept. 25th, from 1 pm to 7:30. There will be fun farm activities such as wagon rides, corn maze, pick your own pumpkin and a Haunted Barn for the kids.

The event features presentations on the following topics: Barrie’s Energy and Greenhouse Gas Mapping Project; Economic Relocation, Strengthening your Local Economy; Orion O3, Transition Ontario’s Collaborative Project; “Growing Hope” Farm Share & Biodiesel Co-Op; and Building Bridges to Local Government. These talks will be followed by an Open Forum round-table discussion and corn roast & chili dinner.

This is an Ontario-wide event open to all Transition initiatives in the province and allows these diverse groups to interact and catch up on all of the great projects underway.

For more information call Karen Fox at 705-721-6867 or visit

Founding members of Transition Barrie, Ruth Blaicher and Karen Fox are local Realtors with a passion for Green issues and are directors of Living Green.

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