Transition Town Montpelier September Newsletter

Transition Town Montpelier Events

Regenerative Agriculture for Vermont: Grazing and Agroforestry
6:00 PM, Thursday, September 15, Kellogg Hubbard Library, Montpelier
with Graham Unangst-Rufenacht and Aaron Guman

Together Graham and Aaron co-own a regenerative grazing operation – raising 100% grassfed beef – and home-to-farm scale agroecology design / build. This talk will focus on grazing and small-scale agroecology systems as ecologically-appropriate ways of managing the Vermont landscape while meeting the diverse needs of Vermont residents. We’ll explore a range of related topics, such as carbon-sequestering beef steaks and how grazing practices affect water quality. We’ll discuss how we can produce food, medicine, fuelwood, building materials and more while taking care of our ecosystem. The ecology of pastures and woody species for agroforestry systems will be covered, as well as the importance of tying our food production in with the regeneration of systems of economic, political, and social justice.  Co presented by Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, a trained herbalist and grazier, and Aaron Guman, perennial vegetable nurseryman, who run two enterprises together. Through Walking Onion LLC  they offer design, consultation and education for ecological landscapes, from hoophouses to homestead planning, orchards to livestock systems. Through Robinson Hill Beef they offer 100% grassfed and finished beef.

Regional Transition Events

North American Permaculture ConvergenceWe’re excited about the upcoming North American Permaculture Convergence and Building Resilient Communities Convergence,happening September 14-18 at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA! Transition US is curating a workshop track and will be hosting a networking event for Transitioners who are attending the Convergence.  Financial assistance for attending is available.

Learn more about the convergence here:

Energizing & Democratizing New England’s Energy Economy:

2016 Sustainability Summit

September 17th in Northampton, MA

Sponsored by: The New England Grassroots Environment FundCo-op PowerNew England Local Energy Network, and Smith College

Join local energy leaders and concerned citizens from across New England to learn, share, and work together to catalyze a new energy economy in our region that is based on clean sources, thriving local economies, and access for all. We’ll be grappling with tough questions, sharing inspiring solutions, and looking to hear from YOU about the strategies you see in your community as we craft a path forward for our region.

Keynote speaker Sandra Steingraber, an acclaimed ecologist and author, will explore the links between human rights and the environment, with a focus on climate change, chemical contamination, and shale gas extraction via fracking. She takes a personal and scientific look at these issues and offers insights into how we can protect our environment and our communities. Steingraber brings a clear, lyrical voice to the complex evidence of biology.

Workshop tracks will be led by leaders confronting our current energy system, harnessing critical opportunities, creating new models, and thinking big about possibilities for access for all to clean energy. If these questions resonate with you, then you don’t want to miss this conference!

How can we protect our families from the health impacts of carbon-intensive energy?
How can we make energy efficiency upgrades accessible for those who need it most?
What are the economic models for financing locally-owned community energy projects?
How can we rethink ownership of energy and envision an inclusive new energy system?

NERT’s Collective Inquiry on food kicked off with a bang!  Folks from around New England gathered on Zoom to discuss building a sustainable and equitable food system for our region. We heard from Orion Kriegman & Karen Spiller of the Food Solutions New England network, and then used a mini-Open Space format to delve into topics of participants’ choosing, such as:

  • How to acheive the FSNE Vision of “50 by 60” (Producing 50% of New England’s food here in the region by 2060)?
  • How can we spread the word about this vision?
  • What role do cooperatives play?

See the notes from the call here. You can also join us on Slack, an online conversation forum, to dive into the conversation. Just reply to this email for a Slack invitation. Up next, we’ll hold a full round of Open Space on September 8:

The “Omnivore’s Delight” Diet Challenge
Thursday, September 8, 12pm – 1pm
Drop in for part of the call or stay for the whole time
Register here

Check out the list of other scheduled calls below (others can be scheduled per the interests of the group). Click here for all the details and the registration link. Hope to “see” you there!

The Role of Sustainable Seafood
With the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
Tuesday, September 20, 12pm – 1pm

Synthesis & Next Steps
Monday, September 26, 12pm – 1:30pm
Drop in for part of the call or stay for the whole time

Community Events

Fall Water Fest Bridges Bike Ride
September 4, Sunday, 10-00 a.m., Onion River Sports: Bridges bike ride (Nancy Schulz). In conjunction with Montpelier’s month long Water Fest, Onion River Sports and The Bridge Newspaper are sponsoring a free “Bicycle the Bridges” ride. Participants will meet at 10:00 am in the parking lot beside Onion River Sports on Langdon Street for a tour that will cross 20 bridges in Montpelier. This is a great way to explore the city and learn more about our bridges and rivers! Local history buff, Manny Garcia, has agreed to provide some commentary about the more important bridges during the ride.The ride will last approximately 2 ½-3 hours and will include a lunch / rest stop at the North Branch Park. Helmets must be worn and bikes must be in good mechanical condition. Participants should bring a full water bottle and lunch. The ride is open to adults and teens over age 16. There will be a release form to sign at the start. It’s free, fun and relaxing, so please join us! Rain cancels.

For more information about other events that are part of the Fall Water Fest see the facebook page.

The Onion River Exchange time bank Annual Member Meeting
Thursday, September 15th 530 to 730 pm at 46 Barre St., Montpelier. You are ORE and its future. Come give your input, have some homemade spaghetti and perhaps share a dish, connect with other members, and learn about our 2017 Strategic Plan. We are also planning a veggie swap and garden produce give away.  530 to 630 Spaghetti Dinner and Pot Luck. 630 to 730 Annual Meeting. Contact Heather or Marci: or 46 Barre St., Montpelier, VT. Open 9 to 4 T, W, Th. Interested in joining? The Community is invited.

Sunday, September 25th | An Afternoon with Michael Arnowitt 
4 to 6 pm.  Hosted at the home of Linda Young in Montpelier. An afternoon of music, wine, hors dourves and desserts. Possible duet between Linda and Michael! Fundraiser tickets $50. Seating Limited to 30. Contact Heather or Marci: or 46 Barre St., Montpelier, VT. Open 9 to 4 T, W, Th.


Introduction to Permaculture; Integrate to Regenerate (Sept 8 – Dec 15 for 3 hrs most Thursdays ; Dreamland: 233 Downs Road, Worcestor VT 05682) 

Join lead educator & restorationist mentor Jessica (Yaffa) Rubin, guest instructors herbalist Annie McCleary, geomancer Fearn Lickfield, regenerative designer Aaron Guman, and permaculture educator Keith Morris to explore permaculture principles and how we can apply them in our lifestyles, landscapes, work spaces, & culture.
– grounded in awareness of settler status on land of displaced indigenous people
– honors the language of plants and wildlife wisdom
– with curiosity about human’s role in the current 6th Great extinction
– in trust that humans can evolve as ecologically conscious members of the earth community
The focus is to empower you to integrate your vision to regenerate the planet through a design project. You will present this to our class and a panel of local permaculture practitioners for feedback.
We will read David Holmgren’s ‘Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability’ with supplementary articles & optional readings, visit local permaculture sites, investigate ecosystem dynamics, explore nature awareness practices, share in circle, and investigate site specific design field work.
The course runs most Thursdays from 9/15 – 12/8. Course fee: sliding scale: $750-800. Register here by August 26 with a $50 nonrefundable deposit. 25% can be through Onion River Exchange. Syllabus will be sent upon registering. Questions or for the registration form: Email , call 802 839-8286, or register here

Next Zero Montpelier Contest for Montpelier Redesign

Dan Jones of Net Zero Montpelier is organizing a contest to generate ideas of how to redesign Montpelier for less parking, more pedestrians, and a revitalized community.  Learn more about this VT digger story here, and stay tuned to hear what gets proposed.

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