A Week in Transition: reflections from our new Research Facilitator

Katherine is the newest addition to the Transition team. She has recently finished a PhD in the Department of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews on domestic energy demand and expectations of home comfort. You can find more about her research on her website and Katherine tweets as @Ellsworth_Krebs. Email her at ke68@st-andrews.ac.uk.

In just a week I have been absolutely amazed by the number of events and projects that stem from the little Transition office on East Sands.

Andrea and Helena run weekly sessions at 10 different community gardens around St Andrews, these are spaces in which anyone can come and learn about growing vegetables or just harvest local food for free!  Thanks to Tansy there is an insane range of ‘skillshare’ events (e.g. chocolate, pizza, chopping boards, learn to crochet, quilt, dry stone walling, willow weaving) and be warned these get book up very quickly, thanks to her keen marketing! Free bike maintenance and refurbishment sessions are now common around town and Lara is busy with all sorts of other promotions for encouraging sustainable transport in St Andrews.  Behind the scenes, Ali makes it possible for Transition to be constantly expanding and supporting all sorts of grassroots ‘sustainability activity’ and wider improvements to the community, he has been especially instrumental in bringing hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment to our community for sustainability related projects and infrastructure. On top of that, Ali consults on the University’s sustainability strategy and miraculously always makes time to chat to students and community members about their visions for a more sustainable St Andrews. The Transition team is truly an inspiring, hardworking and passionate bunch!

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I am also thrilled to be able to support our equally inspiring students and student initiatives! Out of the Transition office also runs a student-managed organisation that makes ordering all sorts of local and organic food stuff easy with a weekly pickup and an ever expanding list of products. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to hear about the huge growth in student’s promotion of ‘sustainable food’ in St Andrews, including VegSoc’s weekly meals becoming so popular that people are routinely turned away and the existence of a well-established weekly ‘café’ that raises awareness of Freeganism by cooking meals entirely from food taken from the dumpsters of local businesses. There is so much going on, it is hard to do justice to all the hard work of our volunteers and staff. Yet this is exactly why I’m here!

I am in the enviable position to have the task of getting to document, monitor and research all of this amazing activity and help embed these grassroots initiatives. If you have any research ideas or want to help in publicising and documenting sustainability initiatives in St Andrews please get in touch!