James Samuel's blog

Harnessing the power of this Transition network for the benefit of all

If you are a registered member of this Transition Towns New Zealand Aotearoa site, you are one of almost 1300 members. Then there are the readers who visit and are not yet registered members, who in total make up over 50,000 unique visitors (mostly from inside NZ).

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Local Food is firmly on the agenda

I've been following this OpenIDEO challenge since it began a few weeks ago.



It's now in the refinement stage, with evaluation beginning in 5 days. The challenge received a record number of 600+ concept contributions. And below is a sampling. Clearly, building a regional food economy by better connecting food growers and consumers is a subject that is dear to growing numbers of people.


A growing list of growing ideas

I came across this site about a week ago, when researching for The Auckland Food Alliance.

This is a website devoted to collaboration to solve challenges, and has been designed very cleverly to maximise the interaction and sharing, as well as the ability to build on others ideas, and eventually rank them so that the best float to the top, through the wisdom of the crowd.


And here's a link to a growing list (431 at last count) of food related projects.actions to build the connection between growers and consumers. www.openideo.com/open/localfood/concepting I've added a couple of them: www.openideo.com/profiles/jmsinnz

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Kim Hill and James Samuel

The Kai Rakau Project

The Kai Rakau Project, currently being developed by Emma Williamson and Savannah Carter-Green, is a community based project with view to create a "Mother Orchard" of 3000 fruiting trees and native plantings, in Sanders Reserve, Paremoremo, Auckland New Zealand. » Read more

As seen on TV - Breakfast Show

A great opportunity came chasing after me yesterday, when Paul from TVNZ tracked me down to invited someone from Transition Towns to go on the Breakfast Show on Wednesday morning to talk about the Transition Towns response to rising fuel prices. I hesitated briefly. Here was a chance to raise the bar on the conversation, above simply rising fuel and food prices (which are intimately interlinked).

So in case you can't (or didn't) see the 7:10am breakfast show here's what I am hoping to bring to the conversation.

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Supermarkets are not resilient systems

It's not a new idea, but in the current circumstances it becomes more clear, that our industrialised, centralised, corporate food systems, do not represent a resilient system.

No doubt, they have done a remarkable job of facilitating bulk food to us for a few decades, however I can't imagine too many cabbages or lettuces fell over or went down cracks in the ground, so the food supply itself must surely still be there.

What this sign is pointing to I think (and I'm open to other views), is the vulnerability of a system where we take ourselves to central distribution points (big box stores), to get our daily bread, and fruit and veges and milk...

I saw this happen on Waiheke about a year ago, when the Supermarket was damaged by fire and closed for a few days.

It was a great opportunity to see where else we could buy or find food, and it highlighted our heavy dependence on a single system.

It's time to rebuild, but this time let's build it differently.

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Will Egypt Revolutionise Democracy Itself?

This post from Tom Atlee is veritable treasure chest of links, for anyone interested in new forms of democracy and public participation. It certainly appears that the landscape is changing.

Between the ability to share ideas in real-time via new media, and the pressures brought on by declining resources, we are at a crossroads. The old ways have shown themselves to be failing us, and we can no longer sit back idly and let the few make (often self-serving) decisions on behalf of the many. It's time to step up and play our part - to participate in building the new world that comes out of the growing chaos. It may not happen today, or tomorrow, but change is here, uncertainty is the nature of our world. Let's embrace it, and get excited at the possibilities.

Thomas Friedman suggests that the special strength of Egypt's youth-led revolutionary movement has been "the fact that it represented every political strain, every segment and class in Egyptian society." But then he turns around and says that diversity "is also its weakness. It still has no accepted political platform or leadership." » Read more

NZ Posters in next Transition Handbook - A note from Rob

Send me your posters!!

I'm heads down trying to get this new book done with a deadline of mid-March.

One of the things it will include is a few a pages of posters from Transition initiatives, showing the diversity of styles and the eclectic nature of the posters produced to promote Transition around the world.

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66 acre off-the-grid property with established gardens, river and more

My parents moved onto this property 31 years ago and have been refining it ever since. My mother is needing to move on now and the property is up for sale. If you're looking for a place to settle down and live a relatively self-sufficient life, this could be just the place. Have a look at the website I put together for her, it has ooodles of pictures, even a video (taken this month), maps, and property specifications.


Here's the video I took a couple of weeks ago, when we visited the farm over New Year...

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