Sunday, February 22, 2009

Second Transition Update

A lot has happened in the not so sleepy town of Hohenwald since my last Sonnenschein Green Initiative - Transition Update.

The Sonnenschein Green Initiative had a total of eight important meetings in ten days. Following is a brief summary of each meeting:

Complimentary Currency Working Group met on Monday February 9, with 5 people in attendance. You can read a full report on this meeting by clicking here. I will add that complimentary currency was later brought up during the February 18th Transition Committee meeting. There was so much interest that we'll be focusing our next Transition Committee meeting and an upcoming Green Evening Cafe on complimentary currency.

Sewage Treatment Working Group met on February 12, with 6 people in attendance. The City called for a meeting between their Engineer and our local Permaculture Designers. The meeting focused on designing constructed wetlands out of sewage lagoons and the development of bird habitat and a nature viewing area. The constructed wetlands would be designed to increase transpiration and seepage into the soil. This would decrease the flow rate and demand for electricity on a pumping station that directs water into a spay field.

Bioregional Congress Group met on February 15, with 12 people in attendance. The Farm Community in Lewis County, Tennessee will be host to the 10th Continental Bioregional Congress. The dates of the Congress are October 3-11, 2009. To find out more about the Congress, CBCX click here. Many Lewis County residents who are involved in organizing the Congress are also involved with the Sonnenschein Green Initiative. This group will be meeting every two weeks from now through October.

The Lewis County Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon on February 17, with 36 people in attendance. The Sonnenschein Green Initiative was the primary topic of discussion. The Chamber President invited Connie Sharp and I, Jennifer to talk about Sonnenschein. We were then asked to show the documentary of the Financial Permaculture Summit. View the documentary by clicking here. Several people came up to Connie and I after viewing the documentary saying that they were extremely impressed with the Summit and had not realized the extent of our outreach efforts. At least five new people showed interest in attending our upcoming meetings.

Transition Committee
held a meeting Wednesday, February 18, with 19 people in attendance. Here are the highlights:

YOUTH EDUCATION: Debbie Landers introduced four students from the General Assembly Academy. Debbie and the students recently designed an ecological science curriculum. Attending the Sonnenschien Green Initiative's meetings and participating in related projects will be counted as school credit. The students volunteered to write the next article for our Green Living Column.

OUTREACH EDUCATION: I, Jennifer Dauksha-English presented the details for our Summer Permaculture Certification Series. The series will be 11 Saturdays, with 7 hour days, from June 13 through August 29 (minus July 4). The training will cost $150 for resident high school students, $250 for Lewis County residents or Lewis County Chamber Members, and $500 for non-residents. I also presented an overview of our 3-day Regional Sustainability Forum, which will be held June 5-7. Residents throughout Middle Tennessee will be invited to this forum to discuss and design working strategies for productive food, energy, water and resource sheds and for mapping the financial ecosystem of the region. Programs for both of these events are in draft form and will be posted online soon.

GREEN EVENING CAFE': Adam Turtle gave a brief overview of his presentation that he planned to give at the February 19th Green Evening. The group confirmed that logistical action items were completed. Lelia Ortel acquired cloth shopping bags to give away as door prizes.

GREEN PROCLAMATION: Debbie Landers reported on the progress of the Proclamation. She stated that more than five people had given feedback on the first draft and that with the help of the students, the final draft was near. There was discussion about the difference between a Proclamation and a Resolution. Debbie explained that a Proclamation meant that we would proclaim our intentions and that a Resolution meant that we would resolve to act out and implement what we proclaimed. A Resolution is a much more political process that could involve several months of drafting language that the City and County could agree upon. The group decided that the Proclamation would be brought before the City and County in the month of March. We decided that the Resolution could come maybe in six to nine months.

ECO-TOURISM: I, Jennifer Dauksha-English presented my plan for creating a Green Tourism Guide for Lewis County. The first draft is eight pages and incorporates all the green events, projects, business and organizations in Lewis County that our affiliated with the Sonnenschein Green Initiative. There is money left over from the 2008 Sonnenschein Festival, to print the guide. We'll also likely ask businesses and organizations to pledge $20 for printing. Also with tourism, Tony Turnbow asked us to put together a one page article on Sonnenschein to be inserted into the County's official Tourism Guide. Lastly, the Chamber of Commerce reported that several of our green events are now posted in regional tourist guides and are now posted on the Lewis County Chamber website.

Food and Farming Working Group held a meeting Wednesday, February 18, with 10 people in attendance. The group discussed the potential of creating a Farmer's Market in Lewis County. There was a consensus that maybe the best place to start was by creating a community garden. The group is currently in the process of seeking a site for this garden. Bob Ogden shared his intention of starting a worm castings business in Lewis County. The group is also organizing a seed and plant exchange as part of the next Green Evening Cafe'. Food and farming is the focus of the next Cafe' on March 24, 6-8:30 pm at the Emporium in downtown Hohenwald.

Economic Development Working Group
held a meeting Wednesday, February 18, with 9 people in attendance. The group discussed their interest in creating a green demonstration building as an office for Sonnenschein. They also discussed the need to contact city officials and county commissioners - to inform them to put money towards local economic development, creating a green business park and for attracting green businesses to our area. The group also talked about incubating new green businesses and potential funding through the federal stimulus package. Lastly, a County Commissioner had asked our group to form a list of potential green businesses. Deben Tobias volunteered to compile this list.

Discovery Center Working Group met on Thursday, February 19, with 3 people in attendance. The group is progressing in its design of a Permaculture Demonstration Area behind the Lewis County Museum. Maps and drawings are being created. A meeting will be held in early March with the historical society to review the proposed design.

The next Sonnenschein Green Initiative meeting will be held Wednesday, March 4 from 11:30-1:30 at the Career Center in Hohenwald. The group meets every other Wednesday. For more details about upcoming meetings and projects contact 931-796-4874 or 888-878-2434.