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Living like it's 2050: Transition Farm in North Carolina

By 2050 we will probably use about double the amount of energy we use today, that is if we keep on doing things as we always have.”- First report of the UK Industry Task Force on Peak Oil & Energy Security (ITPOES).

The Transition Towns movement was started in Ireland, and has since spread worldwide, as communities attempt to deal with climate change and peak oil on a local level. It can be a complicated subject to describe in a few paragraphs, but its organizers sum it up as a way for communities to “unleash the collective genius of their own people to find the answers to this big question:

   How are we going to:

  • significantly rebuild resilience (in response to peak oil)
  • drastically reduce carbon emissions (in response to climate change)?

International organizers don’t provide concrete answers- that’s up to local groups-, but they do acknowledge that “some flavor of relocalisation” will be involved (e.g. the slogan “Food feet, not food miles!”).

The town of Chapel Hill/Carrboro, North Carolina became a Transition Town in 2009. While the community has always been highly involved in local food, sustainable housing and renewable energy initiatives, local organizers like Margaret Krome-Lukens hopes the official status will help inspire people to action.

Krome-Lukens also happens to be the farm manager for an organic farm
and learning center called the Pickens Mountain Eco-Institute. While
the institute isn’t officially involved in the Transition Town
movement, when we visited, owner Tim Toben explained how he founded the
farm with his wife as a way to help prepare us all for a more
sustainable future.

“Our work is rooted in the belief that the fate of
future generations
will depend on their connections with the land,”
explains their website. “When the fossil fuels are scarce, they will
have to find ways to supply their food and energy in local, renewable
and sustainable ways.”

In this video, we visit the Eco-Institute to talk to Toben and Krome-Lukens about the farm, the future, transitioning by 2050, life and death of non-CAFO pigs, local building materials, downsizing, and why a focus on transition shouldn’t be doom and gloom, but an opportunity to improve our lives.