About Us

Mission Statement:
Our purpose is to foster vibrant and resilient community—in the face of rising energy-prices, climate change, and economic instability—by empowering one another to share our skills and gifts, and create a better life for all.


We are a group of folks from around Amherst, MA, who work together to build strong community and have fun. We anticipate that our lives will be strongly affected by changing global and local economic, environmental and energy circumstances. We believe that we can work to prepare for these changes!

We are committed to supporting each other, our town, and surrounding communities through concrete, thoughtful planning and events, applying what we’ve learned from Transition and other social movements.

Our group has:
~ offered a film series
~ hosted book discussion groups
~ participated in numerous community events
~ offered workshops on canning and preserving food
~ presented a workshop on building a solar oven
~ and another one on winter bicycling
~ participated in local sustainability festivals
~ helped people to prepare emotionally and physically for changing times
…and much more!

Instead of idly despairing, we actively grow and expand our community, and we are not alone! There are +100 Transition towns, cities and regions in the US. (we know: Amherst is the 102nd :-))

Amherst Transition Town Initiating Group meets on alternate Thursdays from 7 – 9pm, preceded by a book discussion and potluck dinner at 6:15. We meet at the home of Bernard and Patty Brennan: Amethyst Farm on Northeast Street. Before coming, please confirm meeting time and date by e-mailing the Amherst Initiating Group.

Please browse our website to see how you can be a part of Transition Amherst. There are endless opportunities for you to offer your insights and skills. Come along and be empowered to build community with us!

11 Responses to About Us

  1. Richard Burbridge says:

    To Whom it may concern,

    My name is Richard Burbridge, and I am a current graduate student at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. I have been an intern with Transition Town Putney over the past nine months and am approaching your organization in regards to my research for my thesis. I am examining how, and to what extent, transition towns in New England practice the organizational suggestions outlined in both The Transition Handbook and The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins and also to collect a best practices list that can be used by transition towns in their visioning and strategic planning processes.

    I am only including in my study officially recognized Transition Towns in the New England area as can be found on the Transition US website (www.transitionus.org), which is where I gathered your organization’s contact information, or your contact information was provided through websites or contacts within the Transition movement. My research is focusing on the processes used by the variety of Transition Towns in New England and will benefit towns that are thinking of joining the Transition movement, as well as potentially helping your organization in future visioning/strategic planning.

    This research is being conducted by survey, which I would like to administer in person at one of your organization’s upcoming core meetings. Participation in this survey completely voluntary and anonymous. The survey will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and will include both open and closed ended questions. I am an independent researcher not affiliated with the Transition movement other than my involvement as an intern with Transition Town Putney, however the completed report will be made available to the entirety of the Transition movement.

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, as well as to confirm whether or not your core group would like to participate in this research. I can be reached via email at richard.burbridge@mail.sit.edu or by phone at (779) 279-3818. If you do wish to participate in this study, please include possible dates and times that would be best for my visit in your response. I would like to meet sometime before the end of the month. Sorry for the shortened time frame.

    Thank you,

    Richard Burbridge
    SIT M.A. Sustainable Development (candidate)
    Community Coalition Coordinator with Transition Putney

  2. Mary Hoyer says:

    I’m concerned about Transition Amherst’s apparent support for the proposed solar field off Belchertown Road which is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. As proposed, this project would be the largest solar field in Massachusetts, an industrial site in the middle of homes. There are a number of us in this neighborhood who oppose this project and think that a more appropriate site or strategy could be found for green energy in Amherst. Poorly conceived green energy projects do nothing to advance the cause of the transition from fossil fuels, which we all support.

  3. Gabor Lukacs says:

    Hello Mary,

    In my understanding Transition Amherst supports anything that makes us as a community more resilient. During Stephanie’s presentation I have heard a lot of positive things that the accepted proposal contains, including wide environmental permitting, flexibility and numbers of how much fossil energy the site could replace.

    I understand a group of abutting neighbors are concerned about the site, and that has been the history of green energy sites in the wider area as well. Also, other sites, proposed or not, will most likely have this same problem, since it is rare that an appropriate area wouldn’t be seen from somewhere. Also there is an urgency factor here that I cannot dismiss: with each new site with a group of resisting abutters the project will be pushed into the future further.

    So, while I only can talk for myself, I support the project and trust that it will bring good things to everyone in Amherst, hopefully including unexpected positive outcomes for the immediate neighborhood, including employment, resiliency and new connections.

  4. Marian says:

    I am interested in participating in some of your gatherings. I am also curious as to who led your mushrooming walk on July 22. I’d like to do something like that with my students this year during our study of fungi.


  5. gaborzol says:

    Hello Marian, actually that walk was canceled due to the drought we experienced then. We rescheduled it for August 5 with Wm Levine to lead it.

  6. Ryan Butler says:

    Hi everyone,
    I have an event that I really care about that I would like to share with you.
    For a number of years I have been involved in contra dancing. I have
    learned that it is something that has had great value to communities in the
    past and I believe activities like this will be very important in the
    future as we need to focus on building our communities and making our own
    local entertainment.

    For those who have never contra danced, just know that it is very easy to
    pick up with no prior experience and it really gives you a chance to interact
    positively with others. It is great for all ages, I teach it to first
    graders daily and I have also danced with people in their 80’s or older.

    There are a number of great dances in our area and I am very happy to see
    the recent growth of a dance series in the center of Amherst which provides
    and alternative to driving all the way to Greenfield as many dancers do.

    The dances in South Amherst at the Munson Library are somewhat less-known
    and that is why I want you bring them to your attention. There is a dance
    that takes place on the fourth Saturday of most months, including this
    Saturday 10/27/2012. This event is very friendly to beginners and families
    and we are really trying to assure the future of this kind of community by
    welcoming newcomers young and old, including families with children who are
    old enough to follow directions (we often say 10 and up but that is
    flexible especially if you have prior experience).

    We also welcome musicians, novice or experienced, to come play with the
    hired live band.

    I think that the community aspects of this activity are directly relevant
    to the ideas or transition towns and I hope some of you will be able to
    join us. More information can be found at fiddlersgreencontra.org

    I hope to see some new faces there.

  7. Dyan Wiley says:

    I am planning 3 public presentations about senior cohousing – in Amherst and Northampton. Would Transition Amherst be interested in posting an announcement of this? The Amherst presentation will be at the Bangs Center on Nov 14th at 7pm. I have a short announcement and a flyer. Let me know if you can get the word out about this.
    Dyan Wiley
    Resident, Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst

  8. Oliver Swingler says:

    Global warming song on YouTube!

    More than 340 different green, environmental, conservation, organic, wildlife, recycling organisations – including the Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, Christian Ecology, Fossil Free Yale, BBC Gardeners World, Organic Council of Ontario, Sumo Wholefoods – in 31 countries like the lyrics to the Global Warming song – now it’s on YouTube! Here is the link for a performance by the Making Waves choir:


    And the words are printed on the screen so you can sing-a-long! You are very welcome to broadcast, and ‘like’ it, and share, share, share the link as widely as possible via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter …
    Best wishes,

    What can we do about global warming?
    (to the tune of ‘What can we do with the drunken sailor?’)

    Chorus: What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    1. Walk, cycle, bus and train
    Car share, avoid the plane
    Holiday at home, learn to love the rain
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    2. Insulate homes and get them lined
    Stop oil, gas and coal being mined
    Use tidal, solar, wind and find we’ll
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    Chorus: What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    What can we do about global warming?
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    3. Organic, local, seasonal eating
    Recycle, mend, turn down the heating
    Share, cooperate, stop competing
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    Watch out! The seas are rising
    Cry out! The seas are rising
    Bale out! The seas are rising
    Save our lovely planet!

    4. Don’t believe the greenwash, keep on prying
    Tax millionaires, stop envy buying
    Climate change deniers, they’re all lying
    Shrink our carbon footprint!

    We can do a lot about global warming
    We can do a lot about global warming
    We can do a lot about global warming
    Save our lovely planet!

    Lyrics by Oliver Swingler and Making Waves choir, Cullercoats, UK – Version 3 March 2013

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  10. Zalo says:

    Hey Gabor,

    I can’t find your contact information or how to add myself to the Transition Amherst e-mail list, but I’d like to be added so I can attend some of the skill sharing workshops..

    Thanks for the kimchi & mint tea,

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