Taking Practical Action Toward Resilience: Transition Mankato Community Conversation

By Monika Antonelli, member of Transition Mulling group, Mankato, MN

This post is part of a series called “Taking Practical Action Toward Resilience” highlighting inspiring actions that people and communities across the country are taking as part of this year's Transition Challenge.


On Saturday, May 4, 2013 approximately 70 people attended the first Transition Mankato Community Conversation.  This six-hour long event was held in the Lincoln Community Center’s upper gym.  Utilizing ceramic coffee cups, cloth napkins and real silverware, the event was organized to be a zero waste day; all of the waste was designated to be recycled or composted.

The Community Conversation was hosted by Transition Mankato and made possible through a grant from the Bush Foundation; additional sponsors included the Center for Earth Spirituality & Rural Ministry, and School District 77 Community Education & Recreation.  Responsible for facilitating the day’s activities were Katie Boone and Rhonda Redmond, from the Sowelu Institute,a local organization providing Art of Hosting discussion expertise.  A tasty lunch was provided by Flour Power Bakers' Cafe, a local Mankato establishment.

The energetic event started off with the question, “What would a resilient Mankato community look like in the year 2033?”  To assist in answering that question attendees were lead through an activity to imagine a positive future for Mankato in the year 2033, and then participated in creating a market place of conversation ideas.  A total of 22 community conversations were held. 


The spirited and thoughtful community conversations allowed Mankato to explore how to deal with the three challenges facing our world, energy depletion, climate change, and economic instability.  Throughout the day the event hosted a “newsroom” of laptop computers, where summaries of the community discussions were recorded.  This immediate capture of conversations allowed for the creation of a 38-page report just days after the event.  At the close of the program, attendees voted on the top three ideas they would like the community to begin to address.  The three community topics receiving the most votes for the day were 1) Transition to a Renewable / Local Energy System,2) Local Food Access, and 3) Urban Chickens.  Additional popular topics included creating a tool library, hosting wisdom circles, creating a free bike share / exchange, creating a year-round farmer’s market and honoring agriculture.  After voting on the different community topics, attendees were provided with an opportunity to sign up to collaborate further on areas of interest.

Click here to watch a video created from images of the event. For more information about Transition Mankato or to get involved visit https://www.facebook.com/TransitionMankatoMn


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