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Money doesn't grow on treesMyrto wrote about Raising Funds for Transition.  Several months ago, here in Los Angeles, we were discussing similar issues.  But thoughts which began with "how do we get money" soon ventured into a different realm:  "What does a sustainable service organization look like in this powerdown era and time of economic contraction?"

Here in the Transition movement, we understand that with the end of cheap oil, we will experience an inevitable (and likely severe) economic contraction.  In our Transition Trainings we discuss the fallacies of the Industrial Growth Complex.  We know what lies ahead:  simpler times, less affluent times, less cash available, and necessarily more community participation in every single aspect of life.

Nonprofit organizations won't be immune.  Already, most nonprofits are struggling for funding, and the fun's just beginning.  Just like the energy surplus which is disappearing with the end of cheap oil, the cash surplus which used to fund nonprofits is disappearing with the credit/banking/economic crunch.  We have witnessed "peak nonprofit." 

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The enticing fragrance of fresh yeasty bread beckoned us into Jen Ownbey's converted-garage bakeshop in Olympia, Washington. A huge variety of loaves graced her shelves: yeast breads, regular and gluten-free; quick breads with mixtures of grains; sweet treats. While we chatted, she whipped up a batch of quick bread made with locally-grown zucchini — without using a recipe!

Ever feel like you're zipping through the fast-paced hours of your day, the crowded pages of your calendar, like you're on a swiftly moving sidewalk? 

Then you learn about alternative lifestyles, other ways of living and pacing one's life.  As you learn about the Transition movement, perhaps you get caught up in community events and activities within this other way of viewing life. 

It begins to feel like you've hopped off that swiftly moving business-as-usual sidewalk onto a second moving sidewalk -- one that isn't necessarily headed in the same direction as the first one.

This image of two moving sidewalks -- each headed in a different direction -- was posed by Sophy Banks in our Training for Transition in Los Angeles in December 2008.  The image has stuck with me, and come back to me many times since.

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August 24, 2010.

This coming weekend, one of our local Transition groups in Los Angeles will offer a Vegetable / Herb Seed Swap.  We've held several seed swaps before -- one each spring and one each autumn for our year-round Southern California growing season.

Seed swaps are lots of fun.  People gather to exchange seeds, but at the same time they swap garden stories, garden tips, and generally connect with each other around food gardening.

We call ours a VEGETABLE / HERB seed swap so that we are making it clear from the very start that this garden event isn't about ornamental flowers.  Our group sets out to encourage people to grow food.

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A conversation with three co-editors of Squat Birth Journal wasn't on my original taping schedule. But when they contacted me, I thought it'd be a great topic for a show. Natural child birth, birthing without interventions and drugs, is about as sustainable an alternative (to the medical system) as it gets.

What could Life After Oil possibly be like for our local area? 

That's the question nearly 50 people in Los Angeles studied this past weekend at a one-day mini-conference hosted by Transition Los Angeles.

The event brought together people from all over the vast Los Angeles and Southern California areas.  The event gained attention from established area environmental organizations including the Surfrider Foundation and LA EcoVillage.  Many of the participants were newcomers to the ideas of the Transition movement.

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"Wind up, up, up the road to the tippity top of the hill," read the directions, "and when it flattens out at the top, my house is a hop, skip and a jump away in the young alder woods."

imageRev. Terry Jones’ 9-11 threat to burn copies of the Koran violates fundamental values of religious freedom, religious diversity, and respect for all people. To many Muslim Americans, his threat is part of a pattern of growing intolerance in the U.S.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010. Natural builder Lydia Doleman of Flying Hammer Productions gave us plenty of stories about the urban neighborhood community that's evolving from two adjoining homes she purchased with friends. And she gave us a tour of the cob studio and recently-completed straw bale home.

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