James Samuel's blog

The Big Dig for Food Freedom

Here's a "Practical Action, Positive Vision" response from Pete Russell at Ooooby, to the NZ Food Bill which is causing such an uproar...

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The Urban Farming Guys & Climate Reality Project

A couple of items for you... "The Urban Farming Guys" and "Climate Reality Project"


The Urban Farming Guys

Food hitting our plates with who knows what pumped into it and growing economic uncertainty. We took the seeds in our pockets and every square foot we owned and went about like mad scientists testing out innovative ideas from all around world and making them work in one of the most blighted neighborhoods in the US. Everything from urban fish farming to alternate energy. Now let's pass it on... to our neighborhoods and the nations. We believe you are part of the solution. http://theurbanfarmingguys.com/

Hang in there past the first 90 secs in this video, you'll be impressed...


The Climate Reality Project - Sep 15


“24 Hours of Reality will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us.”




I've been asked to present Transition Towns at the New Zealand portion of this worldwide event - in One Minute, using One Slide - a great challenge! :-)

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Transition Towns on Sustainable Lens Resilience on Radio

While down in Dunedin at the end of June, I was invited to have a conversational interview with Shane Gallagher and Samuel Mann, who interview people on the various aspects of sustainability. It was a relaxed and enjoyable format, engaging in conversation between the three of us.

James Samuel - Transition Towns [ 54:32 ]

In the show that started out being about frogs and metamorphosed into a show about transition, James Samuel talks about Transition Towns in New Zealand. James says that he aims to spend no more than 20% of his time talking about what needs to change, and instead focuses on demonstrating a more vibrant future. This is an inspiring story.

Original page: http://sustainablelens.org/?p=148

Stupermarket break out!

I found this, when browsing the blogs on www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs. I've often wondered what it would take to disconnect from the corporate food system...

Stupermarket break out!

by Rachel Lalchan

It's been over 13 months since we shopped in a large, intense, brightly lit, empire of grocery consumerism and I'm happy to report that life sans supermarket is not only viable but quite wonderful! With no intention of going back, I hope you will consider quitting too!

The thing about supermarkets is that there's really nothing super about them. Ripping off farmers and producers both here and abroad, selling cheap products at huge cost to suppliers, tricking us into buying far more than we need, producing tonnes of unrecyclable waste, filling our landfills, upping CO2 emissions, encouraging detrimental consumer habits, grabbing land from local ownership, promoting unhealthy over-processed crud disguised as 'food', destroying local communities and values as well as our own farming industry, I mean really, what's super about any of that?!

To ensure that farming can continue in the UK as part of our sustainable present and future and that we can feed ourselves instead of relying on other countries for our nutrition, we need to stop supporting supermarket shopping. It has proved to be an unhealthy, unsustainable and unethical method of putting food on our tables. » Read more

Starting a Transition Initiative

Here in Los Angeles, we currently have between seven and twelve local Transition groups (depending upon at what stage of development you wish to begin counting them).  And we're eager for more.  The nature of our greater L.A. area is that eventually we will need to have in place a vast network of local groups, each neighborhood working on this process.

I'm frequently being asked for tips on how to get a new local group started.  As I sat down this week to write it out yet again, it seemed like the kind of info that might be of interest to other groups (both Transition and not-yet-Transition groups).  So, I decided to post it here.  If you're contemplating beginning a Transition group in your local neighborhood ...

1.  Understand the nature of a Transition group.

A Transition group works to grow local resilience -- our ability to flex and adapt in the face of great change.  Three specific changes, actually:  peak oil, climate change, and economic contraction.  When taken separately, there are a lot of possible answers to these huge problems.  But when we consider the trio of crises together, the number of viable solutions gets a whole lot narrower; there really are only a few general avenues which will work.  Thus we try to measure everything do within the Transition movement against this sweeping trio.


Within that framework, we understand that we must take positive action.  Preparation for peak oil, climate change and economic contraction means we have to change many things in our physical world.  It's best to make these changes now, while we still have somewhat-cheap oil and some access to financial capital with which to do so.  Thus in our L.A. groups you'll find people working together to build food gardens, install water harvesting equipment, support bicycle transportation master plans, set up time banks/bartering, and much more.

Scanning the horizon

Some things I noticed this week...

Totnes Renewable Energy Society

I love the honesty in this article - but isn't this normal? We're simply learning how to do stuff an abundant energy society has allowed us to forget.. how to get along. » Read more

Love in a small town

The true heart of a community is its people - Go Lyttelton - you are a total inspiration!

Love in a Little Town from James Muir on Vimeo.

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Community Supported Agriculture

Transition Forest Row recently produced an excellent 20 minute film called ‘Growing food locally’ which looked at local food initiatives in the area.  It focuses on the impact of rising oil prices on food, the community supported agriculture model, allotments, garden share, schools and veg boxes.

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Free carpooling web page for your Transition Town

I spoke with Rod a few days ago. He's a New Zealander living in Sydney, and is offering free carpooling pages to all NZ TT communities. I'm delighted and excited at this genuine offering. Please do take advantage of it!



We're Jayride, NZ's biggest and best carpool matching website, with over 5,500 members and 80,000 rides shared. 

We help people connect to share their ride, to split the petrol cost and their co2 emissions. With enough use we reduce traffic in your town, and can help your community reclaim your streets from the automobile.

Now, we're offering your group a free dedicated page on Jayride. You can brand it, list rides on it, and use it to organise sustainable travel in your community.  » Read more

The forgotten future of the stationary bicycle

I couldn't pass up this article forwarded to me this morning, without sharing it in its entirety here...

Pedal powered farms and factories: the forgotten future of the stationary bicycle

by Kris De Decker

Pedal powered hydraulic log splitter

If we boost the research on pedal powered technology - trying to make up for seven decades of lost opportunities - and steer it in the right direction, pedals and cranks could make an important contribution to running a post-carbon society that maintains many of the comforts of a modern life. The possibilities of pedal power largely exceed the use of the bicycle.

One way to solve the large energy losses of pedal power generators is not to produce electricity at all but power devices mechanically, whenever possible. Another way - the only way for devices that cannot be powered via a direct mechanical connection because they do not rely on rotary motion - is to make the generation of electricity more efficient. This can be done by building a pedal powered generator from scratch instead of using a road bicycle, or by ditching one or several electronic components in the power transmission chain. All approaches can be combined, resulting in a pedal power unit that can power a multitude of mechanical devices and generate electricity comparatively efficiently. » Read more

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