A Brief & Incomplete History of Transition Asheville Activity



Early attempt to build momentum in the area faltered, but laid groundwork for the current effort.



Presentation by Miriam McGillis about the universe’s story and the current global context of peak oil, climate change and economic instability. Lifted up as a hopeful approach was the Transition model.


Shortly thereafter, a group of 5 people came together to form a Transition Initiating Group in Asheville.


First public events were film showings (End of Suburbia and Power of Community) in November and December. Sale of the Transition Handbook began at those events (approximately 400 sold to date), plus an email list of interested persons was started.


A Potluck and Potlatch evening, with world café brainstorming


Handbook study groups began (approximately a dozen groups went through the study guide together).


Held an evening with Maggie Ullman, Asheville’s Sustainability Officer, to learn about the city’s plan for sustainability.



Orientation sessions began, about two per month, from the beginning of 2010.


Presentation at Jubilee! on climate change by Dr. John Brock of Warren Wilson College.


Internet presence through bi-weekly email and newsletter, Facebook, Ning, and our own Transition Asheville website (currently under development).


Professor Laura Lengnick presented two talks on peak oil, in Riceville and at Warren Wilson. Students from one of her classes developed an Energy Descent Action Plan for the campus, and their work was available as a model for Transition Asheville.


A picnic in West Asheville for people from different book study groups to meet one another.


Booth presence at the Earth Day fair at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, as well as succeeding Earth Day celebrations.


Sponsored an Edible Park tour and demonstration of tree planting and pruning.


Began contacts with local government officials, most now receiving TA’s newsletter.


Made connection with Asheville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE) and continue attendance at meetings.


Many Transition folks participated in (and led) the efforts of the 10-10-10 event initiated by 350.org


Held an Open Space event to get ideas from many of those who were in study groups or at awareness raising events.


Gave volunteer support to Hemp Awareness Week in Asheville.


Began relationship with Green Drinks, including offering an orientation to Transition.


Organized a weekend with Michael Brownlee of Transition US, featuring a public presentation to the community (150 attended) about the Transition movement, then a training event led by Michael and his partner, Lynette Marie, attended by more than 40 people from several southern states, the first such training in the South.


That event raised enough money for Transition Asheville to become “solvent,” meaning a checking account with a working balance, and application for non-profit status.


Organized a tour of Earth Haven, the eco-village near Old Fort, off the grid and organized on permaculture principles.


Held a “Potluck and Potlatch” at Jubilee! sharing food and quality items no longer being used, followed by another Open Space event that led to a couple of action groups.


Sponsored two sold out permaculture tours with Zev Friedman.


Organized a series of permaculture presentations at the West Asheville Library (two so far, two more to come).


Group study of the book Active Hope by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone.


TAIG visioning weekend to think about what happens to get to the Great Unleashing.


Ongoing informal sharing and getting acquainted with potential partners, similar minded groups and organizations, in the work of building local resilience.


Co-sponsored visits to a residential solar array with Sundance Power Systems.


Began movie nights in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Asheville.


Conducted a 5-part series on Clean Energy.


As a member of the GroWNC process, urged localities to factor in climate change as they do long-term planning.


Encouraged the work of Sherry Ingram’s Water Sustainability Initiative.


Put on a series of REALLY Scary Movies having to do with climate, resource depletion, and food.


Did a year-long series of Potluck and Permaculture evenings.


Ongoing monthly social gatherings that have featured presentations on topics including:


  • Community gardens
  • Water catchment projects
  • Alternative energy
  • Micro-organisms
  • Pollinators
  • Climate change awareness and initiatives
  • Time banking
  • Personal energy descent planning
  • Techniques for urban gardening
  • Electric vehicles
  • Alternative economic models
  • One outgrowth of the gatherings is the Asheville Time Bank, which now has more than 50 members and recently celebrated its first anniversary


What’s next? What do you suggest?