Tag Archives: local

Small-Scale Farmers Creating a New Profit Model – NYTimes.com

2 Jul

…beyond the familiar mantras about nutrition or reduced fossil fuel use, the movement toward local food is creating a vibrant new economic laboratory for American agriculture. The result, with its growing army of small-scale local farmers, is as much about dollars as dinner: a reworking of old models about how food gets sold and farms get financed, and who gets dirt under their fingernails doing the work.

“The future is local,” said Narendra Varma, 43, a former manager at Microsoft who invested $2 million of his own money last year in a 58-acre project of small plots and new-farmer training near Portland, Ore. The first four farmers arrived this spring alongside Mr. Varma and his family, aiming to create an economy of scale — tiny players banded in collective organic clout. He had to interrupt a telephone interview to move some goats.

via Small-Scale Farmers Creating a New Profit Model – NYTimes.com.


What’s Resilience Look Like?

4 Mar

[From an older edition of the Transition Primer. You can find the latest edition here.]

So how might you be able to tell that the resilience of your community is increasing? Resilience indicators might look at the following:

  • percentage of food grown locally
  • amount of local currency in circulation as a percentage of total money in circulation
  • number of businesses locally owned
  • average commuting distances for workers in the town
  • average commuting distance for people living in the town but working outside it
  • percentage of energy produced locally
  • quantity of renewable building materials
  • proportion of essential goods being manufactured within the community of within a given distance
  • proportion of compostable “waste” that is actually composted
  • percentage of local trade carried out in local currency
  • ratio of car parking space to productive land use
  • amount of traffic on local roads
  • percentage of medicine prescribed locally that have been produced within a given radius.
  • amount of 16 year olds able to grow 10 different varieties of vegetables to a given degree of competency
  • percentage of local building materials used in new housing developments

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Now's the Time, the Lakeville Story

24 Feb
imperfect  beauty

Imperfect Beauty, How Gorgeous!

A Letter from Charlie

The Great Transition is being made as we speak. In Lakeville, Connecticut the Great Transition to sustainability, permacultures, resilience in everything that matters (highest standards of humor, musicality, plenty of mighty trees to admire, excess energy in the local grid, etc,) has been ongoing for over a century!

150 years ago all the trees had been turned to charcoal for local iron making furnaces (and then the first Bessemer steel?), smoke, soot, grey skies everywhere, desolation, fires burning 24-7 in the hills making the last piles of charcoal. Then it went to Pittsburgh and Lakevillians began to make a long, slow, recovery that has culminated in recent decades with the reappearance of all the animals, pileated woodpeckers, too many geese, too many turkeys, too many deer, bear, a moose came through our yard a few weeks after my father died and took a swim in Lakeville’s lake. We have a sawmill in Falls Village, for local timber. My wife Angie calls them Potempkin forests but they are real enough, old growth enough, for those giant pileated woodpeckers.

We just need to tap the streams with “small hydro” put up some old fashioned windmills, use the “factory brook” again, inventory and expand orchards, greenhouses, permaculture some stands of nut trees. We can be an exemplary “transition town” very quickly because we have been in recovery from Western civilization since before the early 1900s.

As it got prettier in mid 20th century Wanda Landowska, the world’s best harpsichordist came to live here. And so did the world’s most productive writer, eventually the world’s most profitable writer, Georges Simenon, spent the 5 happiest years of his life here. We’ve been chock full of well-being pace setters since the 1950s. More recently the reincarnation of Tromboncino gave us a lakeside recital.

And so it goes in Lakeville, once known as Furnace Village, and now an emerging leader of The Great Transition.

If a town of less than 2000 people, most big houses empty most of the year, can do it, then so can your town, neighborhood, or block of a city.

Peace, Charlie