Transition US is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as the official national hub for the Transition Movement here in the United States. Founded with great help from Post Carbon Institute in 2009 and governed by a Memorandum of Understanding with the international Transition Network. Our Board of Directors oversees the organization’s financial health and strategic development, while four part-time staff members run operations.

 

Vision

We envision a just world where humanity lives in harmony with nature and cultivates regenerative systems for all aspects of living. We envision communities (everywhere) who are co creating healthy, healing, and connected ways of thriving on (the) Earth.

Mission

The mission of Transition US is to catalyze, coordinate, and support a national network of grassroots groups who are actively cultivating just, resilient, and regenerative communities.

Values

Our Team

Executive Director

Jess Alvarez-Parfrey, (she/they), California

With a background in community organizing, nonprofit fundraising, and environmental activism (formerly with Greenpeace USA), Jessica Alvarez Parfrey finds joy in seeking transformative opportunities for radical collaboration and community co-creation. Having worked on food, housing, community health and wellness, and other issues; Jess is a life-long learner of all things that would allow us to reimagine our relationship to the earth and to one another. Jess is a nepantlera, mother, creative, caretaker of 44 acres of land, and a JEDI consultant working in service to the project of collective liberation. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara , and is driven to nurture opportunities for joy, healing, community-based strategy, and design informed by decolonized practice and methodologies.

Marissa Mommaerts, (she/her), Colorado

Marissa Mommaerts is an activist, organizer, grower, maker, entrepreneur & mother. After a brief career in international sustainable development policy, Marissa left Washington DC and began searching for systemic approaches to healing our ecological, economic, social and political systems – and that’s when she found Transition. She joined the Transition US team in 2013 and has served in various roles supporting all aspects of the organization. Currently she serves as National Network Organizer and focuses on strengthening relationships and organizing systems at all levels of the US Transition Movement. Marissa lives in rural Western Colorado, where she and her partner co-founded Cultivating Botanical Dreams, a regenerative family farm business specializing in handcrafted hemp and herbal wellness products. Marissa has a Master’s degree in International Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Network Organizer

Communications and Outreach Lead

Elvia Cruz-Garcia, (she/her), California

Elvia Cruz-Garcia is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies program. Through her time at UCSB, she has been inspired to reimagine how our communities can work together and build resilience in the face of climate change. Her work with Making Adventure Possible for All Students, a student organization that is committed to making the outdoors much more accessible, inspired her to look forward to a future we can collectively co-create. Her time serving as UCSB Environmental Justice Alliance’s co-chair taught her more about emergent strategy and spheres of influence. Through her work with Eco Vista, a Transition US initiative, she works with amazing folks on reenvisioning how a just transition can take place through various projects such as food forest, circular economy, and developing a community action plan. She looks forward to intergenerational community organizing that is possible and essential for our communities to thrive in late-stage capitalism.

Alex Zubia, (he/him), California

Alex Zubia, who goes by “Xef” is a Chef by trade. Born and raised in Fresno, CA (yokuts Land). Alex attended The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco (Ramaytush Ohlone land) in 2007. His passion for cooking came with his passion for eating. From 2008-2015 he worked at Community Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room as a Patient Liaison. During that time he witnessed people from his community dying from diet related issues. That realization led him to opening his food truck, which  focused on healthier, farm to fork versions of familiar foods. In 2015, Alex moved to Santa Barbara (Chumash Land) to further his skills as a chef. There, he discovered that so much of the beautiful produce he was cooking with came from Fresno. He wondered why he never saw all this produce available in Fresno. Alex moved back to his hometown in 2021 to fight for food justice as a Food Sovereignty Director at Fresno Barrios Unidos. Alex’s goal is to bring his community back to eating and cooking their indigenous foods which are so plentiful in the Central Valley. 

Network Organizer

Network Organizer

Gabriela Silva Hernandez, (they/she), California

Gabi (they/she) is deeply rooted in community, self-love, and practicing holistic sustainability. Growing up in alternative economy structures, they realized how pivotal community is in addressing and meeting the needs of one another through non-extractive exchanges. They have three years of experience in working with unions, founded a local community pantry in Isla Vista, and facilitated healing spaces for LGBTQ and misogyny-affected people. Through their work, they have brought attention to issues of gender-based violence that exists internationally, held space for mutual exchange of support, and fought the greediness of large corporations and institutions. 
They believe that the first step in creating a more equitable and regenerative future is imagination, because “para soñar es vivir”(in order to live, one must dream first). Having collaborated with people from all walks of life in political, healing, and creative spaces, they realize how vital storytelling is in understanding one another as well as envisioning transformative change. 
They aim to create intentional space that uplifts stories and ideas as to what a liberated future will be. 
In doing this work, they ground themselves through meditative practices such as yoga, meditation, and nourishing their body with what Earth graciously offers. 
With a B.A in Black Studies from UCSB, they have devoted themselves to a life-long commitment in dismantling oppressive systems and institutions whilst incorporating healing and joy going forward.

Don Hall (him/he), Colorado

Don Hall has had the good fortune to participate in the international Transition Towns Movement in a variety of capacities over the past 12 years. Initially serving for two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Transition Colorado, he went on to found and direct Transition Sarasota (Florida) from 2010 to 2016. A certified Transition Trainer and experienced facilitator, Don was named Co-Director of Transition US in 2017 and became its Interim Executive Director in 2020. Don holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University, a certification in Permaculture Design from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, and currently lives in a multigenerational housing cooperative in Boulder, Colorado. In 2019, he edited and published 10 Stories of Transition in the US: Inspiring Examples of Community Resilience-Building.

Training Director

Network Organizer

Anthony (Tony) Barbero (he/him), California

Anthony (Tony) Barbero is a UCSB alumni, horticulturist, restoration ecologist, and environmental activist from San Francisco, California.  He has worked in regenerative agriculture, environmental education, and the solar energy field, both as an installer and energy efficiency analyst.  He currently lives in Isla Vista, where he founded the Isla Vista Food Forest.

Board of Directors

Ayako Nagano (she/her), California

Ayako Nagano is Managing Attorney at Midori Law Group in Berkeley, CA. She serves on the Boards of Transition Berkeley and Common Vision, which installs school gardens. Aya sits on the steering committees of the Green Leadership Trust, a coalition of board members of color promoting equity within the Green movement, and the NorCal Resilience Network. Aya is also co-chair of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition in California, working to build widespread levels of psycho-social-spiritual resilience in the age of climate change; serves on the Social Justice Working Group for Transition US; and organizes the Plastic Reduction Working Group at the Ecology Center. She was also recently appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.

Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino, California

Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino is the newest member of our Transition US board. She is the Executive Director for One Step A La Vez, an organization that helps youth take their first step toward a more positive future. Ana Rosa graduated from UC Santa Barbara and has worked locally, statewide and nationally on many social justice efforts such as language justice, educational access, governmental transparency, support for working families and environmental justice issues, like ensuring everyone has clean drinking water. Ana Rosa continues this work through her involvement in developing a Central Coast Grassroots Green New Deal, her position on The City of Santa Barbara Creeks Commission, her role as vice president of the Santa Barbara (SB) County Outreach and Equity Commission for the SB countywide climate action plan, her radio show called ¡Que Madre! on KZAA 96.5fm, her roles on several non-profit boards, such as SB CAN and La Casa de la Raza, as well as her involvement in the steering committee of the Central Coast Climate Justice Network. She also serves as the president of the Central Coast Environmental Voters (formerly CCLCV). Last, but definitely not least, she is the proud mami of two daughters: Adela Susana & Gloria Jin-Ni.

Nathan Lou, California

Nathan was born and raised in San Diego and has completed an AS in Agriculture from Yuba College, and BS in Natural Resources, with special emphasis in Fish and Wildlife Conservation, from Oregon State University. With over 15 years of cultivation experience, Nathan has developed a passion for agro-ecology and agro-forestry. Nathan is the co-founder and executive director of Mongol Tribe, a community and capacity building 501c3 focused on bridging health and wellness with civic ecology. With pillars in co-operative development, regenerative practices, and education, Mongol Tribe is cultivating urban food forests and seed libraries for its Food & Medicine Sovereignty Program. Mongol Tribe is in the process of developing an edible urban forest that will host an apprenticeship program with an emphasis on traditional ecological knowledge and regenerative agriculture practices. Nathan is currently working on Palomar Mountain performing vegetative surveying for forest health, primarily studying the oak trees and relevant ethnobotanicals as part of Mongol Tribe’s Natural Land Management Program.

Ruah Swennerfelt, Vermont

Ruah Swennerfelt, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, is a founding member of Sustainable Charlotte Vermont, (a Transition Initiative), where she serves as president. She is an active member of the Charlotte Grange, the Charlotte Community Partners, and the Middlebury Friends Meeting (Quakers).

She served as General Secretary for Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) for 17 years. During her tenure with QEW she helped Friends and Friends Meeting to become aware of the spiritual relationship that humans have with Earth and to make changes in their lives that would bring them more in harmony with that relationship.
 
With Transition US she has served on the Collaborative Design Council during its first few years, was a volunteer organizer for the first national conference, and was a co-coordinator for the recent Regenerative Communities Summit. Over the years she has inspired several groups to become Transition Initiatives.
 
She has written numerous articles, led workshops, and was a keynote speaker at various events, all related to care for Earth. In 2016 she wrote the book, Rising to the Challenge: The Transition Movement and People of Faith.
 
With her husband, Louis Cox, Ruah lives in rural Vermont where they grow most of their vegetables and fruits, make their own electricity from the sun, and attempt to live lives that are simple, rich, and meaningful.
 

Rueben Elias Canedo, California

Growing up in a mixed status and binational family with a disabled body introduced me at an early age to harm, trauma, injustice, and oppression. Most importantly, it taught me how brilliant, resilient, loving, and transformative our family and community relationships are. I survived and am here today because of family and community. Growing up, everyone would take care of each other to make sure folx had food, shelter, and community. I believe in a world that will learn and heal beyond its current white-supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, and ableism. The way I can contribute to that direction is through our basic needs efforts. I’m humbled and privileged to share this community journey of belonging and justice.

 

Partners