Food Security Network – Update July 20, 2011

Email sent out to 90-some people today. If you’d like to be added to the State College Food Security Network email list, please send me an email at katherine_watt@hotmail.com.

Hi All –

This is a new list – so I’m going to do a quick recap. If you want to be removed from this list, please let me know. If you want people added who are not on it, feel free to forward this message to those people, and send me their addresses to add to this list for future messages. More information is available at the Transition Centre County blog.

Background

Transition Towns has an explanatory model for current global uncertainty – peak oil, climate change and economic contraction. They’ve also developed a response model centered on relocalization to reduce oil-dependent supply chains and help communities reskill local populations in traditional essentials like growing and preserving food, building and repairing structures and simple machines, and strengthening social networks. These relocalization strategies aren’t new, but since 2005, TT has been practicing and developing an effective organizing model, bringing the ideas to many communities around the world as the crises intensify. State College became an official Transition Town in April 2010.

Farmers, gardeners and environmentalists in the Centre region have been working toward a more sustainable community for decades. In July 2010, the Centre Daily Times launched a monthly Sustainable Centre County page, publishing columns by dozens of sustainability activists collectively possessing hundreds of years of experience in the field. In August 2010, I launched [this] blog – an electronic community bulletin board – to support the work of sustainability folks in and around Centre County through networking, calendar services, information sharing, and archiving of events. For the last six weeks or so, I’ve been sending a blog digest out once or twice a month to a list of about 450 people, compiled by members of Transition Town State College and stored in a ConstantContact account.

In December 2010, the CDT published a column about an alternative development plan for the vacant lot at Fraser Street and Beaver Ave, including a line drawing of the vision for a downtown indoor farmers market with community garden plots, a tool library, greenhouse, public meeting space and other features. Reader response was vigorous and small groups have been meeting monthly to explore the idea further.

After a June 24 meeting, it seemed like moving forward in a two-track way would be helpful, so two teams were created – one to focus on fundraising and building aspects of rebuilding our local food system, and one to focus on conducting needs assessment studies and mapping projects to create a fuller understanding of what we have already in place, and what infrastructure and distribution systems we need to develop. We’ve been using Doodle polls to schedule meetings.

NEXT STEPS

Last night (July 19) was the first meeting of the Building/Fundraising Team, and we discussed photos of vacant lots and a vacant building on North Barnard, taken by Charlie Kain and compiled into slide shows at the blog. The group decided our next step will be to arrange a meeting with Alan Sam and Courtney Hayden of the State College Borough government, with a view to identifying lots that the Borough is already interested in seeing converted to demonstration gardens, and preparing a budget for use during a Kickstarter fundraising campaign . Jackie Bonomo also passed along the following link -a Centre County vacant lot inventory.

In parallel, we’ll be working on an application for 501(c)3 status for the project, under the name Spring Creek Homesteading Fund, VeggieCommons, but our current understanding is that we can use the Kickstarter funding to do an introductory, foothold project and develop other pieces of the system gradually over the coming decade(s).

Nine people filled out the Doodle poll for the Needs Assessment/Mapping team (Bill Sharp, Jackie Bonomo, Sylvia Neely, Charlie Kain, Dave Cranage, Sandra Wyngaard, Courtney Hayden, Anna Kocherperger, Greta Righter), and the only date that worked for all nine was Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m. I’m happy to make my house and/or backyard canopy available for the meeting and participate in it, but would rather not facilitate – so if anyone’s interested in coordinating that team, please let me know. I’ve also reached out to the director of the GIS program at Penn State – my son is interested in assisting the mapping team with the computer-related aspects. Again, more information about food mapping is available at the blog.

Also, the next TTSC meeting is July 27 at 7 p.m. at the State College Borough building.

Thanks to everyone. Please continue to keep in touch by phone or email and send information to the blog if you’d like it shared with readers.

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3 Responses to Food Security Network – Update July 20, 2011

  1. Pingback: Food Security Update, Doodle Poll & Survey Link – July 27, 2011 | Transition Centre County

  2. Pingback: Food Security Project Update – August 5, 2011 | Transition Centre County

  3. Pingback: State College Food Security Update – Sept. 6, 2011 | Transition Centre County

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