Category Archives: Transition

Thoughts after my Permaculture Design Course

It’s interesting watching yourself have your own world view changed.

As I drove to Steve and Fiona Hansons “Permaculture Eden” for my two week design course, I was wondering if after two weeks I’d finally know what to plant with what. I guess I had permaculture fixated in my head as “hippy gardening”, and the only reason I was really going was because the Transition Handbook strongly suggested it was a good thing to do.

I’ve always liked nature – I enjoy hiking on mountains and in forests, but I guess I viewed it as a kind of nice to have thing. Great to get into, but nothing to do with the real world of people. Then came the two week immersion, with a fantastic group of intelligent people, coming at the whole topic from different angles. We had different cultures, ate different foods (I am not, and almost certainly never will be by choice, a Vegan), spoke different native tounges, and came from different backgrounds. A mix of practical and hopeless (I’m still working on my tree and herb identification), but all with a great desire to learn about the subject.

On day one, I was sceptical. All this talk about the people that started it. By the end of day two I was hooked. This wasn’t hippy, this was really design science! I was in my element. By the end of day seven, we were due a break. I needed it, pleading “my head’s full”. But we kept discussing, and kept learning. By the end of the course, we’d learned all sorts of things, some new, some not so, and could piece it all together. We were so pleased with our design, and all of us wanted to stay on and build it, and see if it could really be done. I’m sure we’ll all build part of it somewhere.

Before we all left, we held a party, and I drove to the supermarket for beer. It seemed so strange going into this enormous shop and buying things that we could just grow.

The following day, driving home, I realised that I would never see the world in the same way again. What had been nice pretty hedges on the way in, had become fabulous edges, full of interaction, co-operation and competition. What had been nice fields became lifeless deserts, with a monoculture crop standing in a lifeless dead ex-soil supported by pesticides and fertilisers. And the trees! Not just satisfying to look at but a source of so much, capable, if managed properly, of sustaining many of our needs.

When I got back to Ferney-Voltaire, my pensive mood continued. Who knew there was so much food lying around growing in the town already? I had thought growing food in town would be really difficult, but now I know that by working with nature, rather than against it, it’ll be much easier than we think.

Transition France

The 5th of June, in Trieves, was the first physical meeting of French Transitioners.  We were somewhere between 60 & 70, from all over France.

I car-sharedwith Nicolas from the Tiocan and  Yves from Transition Ville-La-Grande  in Annemasse.   We were also there for saturday’s Great Unleashing of Trieves en Transition.

There is a report on the Transition Network blog which even mentions Transition Ferney-Voltaire!

And a very good summary in French here

During the meeting, they explained the site  wiserearth, where they have created a   social network for French Transitioners.

And now, on the site you can see the 36 transition towns in France, without mentioning (yet) the new towns which are being formed…

Open meeting on Transition, 24th June


we will have an open forum meeting on Transition Ferney-Voltaire, Friday evening, the 24th of June, at the Salle des Associations at the swimming pool.

We’ll start at  19h30 with an explanation of Transition Ferney-Voltaire, more for people who have not seen the presentations from the last meetings.

From  20h00 we’ll do an open forum, on subjects you want to discuss, starting with a progress report on what has happened since last time.

We’ve had a proposal from the “SEL du Pays du Gex” to work on a local currency.  A group has started looking at what we can do in the field of energy.  On top of this, the agenda 21 programme is starting.

On thing we’d like that you bring to the meeting: the addresses of producers, shops, associations, and any other ecological things that happen in the Pays de Gex.  We’re trying to find things we don’t yet know.

Until Friday night!

Organic Market, Sunday 29th May

The Ferney-Voltaire in Transition team  will be at the Organic Market on Sunday the 29th May from 9am to 5 pm.
If you’d like to know why prices keep rising, why pollution keeps increasing; if you prefer quality over quantity, come and meet us to discover what we can do here in Ferney-Voltaire.

We’ll be showing :

  • Practical examples of comfortable, lower carbon lifestyles .
  • Information on using the recycleing containers with the help of  SIDEFAGE
  • The new association for cyclists and pedestrians

and we will hosting 3 film-debates at La Comedie

  • 10.30-12.30    The end of suburbia (77’) + debate ” Peak Oil and transport “
  • 14.30-17.00    The power of Community (53’) + debate ” Food – local and/or bio “
  • 17.00-19.00    In transition (50’) + debate ” How to change things in and around Ferney-Voltaire “

All three film-debates are free entry