Celebrating Amherst

It’s Not About the Nail!

Learn how to give an empathic response, using the principles of nonviolent communication.

Location: All Things Local store, downtown Amherst (104 N PLEASANT Street)

Time: Saturday, December 6, 3-5

"It's not about the nail" is a youtube video that has been viewed more than 8 million times – it seems people are yearning to understand how to respond emphatically to the distress of another person, or to distress of their own, but might not yet have the tools. During this workshop, presenters Sharon Raymond and Gabor Lukacs, both members of the All Things Local store and students of Nonviolent Communication as developed by Marshall Rosenberg, will offer you some tools for your empathy kit.

Watch the video – we’ll watch it again during the workshop – then join us Saturday, December 6, 3-5 at All Things Local Artisan Gallery and bring your baffling conversations for us to translate – no charge and welcoming to all.

Posted in All Things Local links, Celebrating Amherst, Dialogues and Conversations, Group Process, Reskilling Workshops | 2 Comments




Thursday, March 20, 2014
6:45 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. (EDT)

Come mark the vernal equinox at the U. Mass Sunwheel. Celebrate the start of spring and learn about the three dimensional geometry of the solar system. Its science and its fun. Dress warm and bring boots. Children and dogs are encouraged to come. For more information contact Michele or Andy: Morrisfri@aol.com.

Posted in Celebrating Amherst, Group Process, Other Projects, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

All Things Local Store grand opening on March 1st 2014

This has been a long project in the making. Years ago we had a name and a model, but not much else. What we really needed then was a location.

It seems to me that since the location came into view things sped up. Having it downtown, and, what more, right next to another Co-op, is greatly helpful. Today it may not have a full selection of food items, or full shelfs for that matter, but it surely has a delightful atmosphere.

To acknowledge this new value our community has, and the tremendous amount of work the board, staff and volunteers contribute, after a few months of functioning, an event is coming up as you see from the image.

Grand Opening Schedule:
11:00 am : Ribbon-Cutting with House Rep. Ellen Story
12:00 – 5:00 pm : Music, demos, food samples, beer and wine tasting!
5:00 to 6:00 pm : Members-only Afterparty

All this at the Store’s location, 104 N Pleasant Street in downtown Amherst.

See more at the store’s new website, allthingslocal.coop.

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Pete Seeger event

Transitions Amherst was present at the big Pete Seeger memorial sing-a-long Sunday Feb. 17th. Michele and Andy Morris-Friedman and Abbie Jenks (from Pelham) worked the crowd of over 600 people, giving information about up coming TA events, and spreading the word about preparing for our post energy future. We were able to get the emails of some people who are interested in our group and sharing those skills of self sufficiency that make up the core of community resilience. Plus we had a great time singing. Remember what Arlo Guthrie says, “You’ve got to sing loud if you want to end war and stuff.” – Andy

Posted in Celebrating Amherst, Other Projects | 1 Comment

Holiday Greetings

Rob Hopkins, a key founder of the global Transition movement, has been following things we in Transition Amherst have done over the past year. He has looked at our website and he mentioned some events we had in his blog here and here.

Now he’s asked if we’d like to be one of 30 Transition Initiatives around the world sending a holiday greeting to everyone who connects with the Transition Network — at least the 1400+ Transition Initiatives in 44 countries. He’s also asked for a photo — he’s referring to a fun Transition practice where a whole bunch of people from a town gather in a room with a balcony above them and bunch together and wave to a camera.

Hi Tina,

During December I am planning every day to post a different ‘Season’s Greeting’, a short message from one Transition initiative to the rest of the movement. It need only be 2 or 3 paragraphs, perhaps mentioning something your group has done this year that it is very proud of, something it is looking forward to about next year and a short message to the wider movement. We have been choosing groups based on those that appeared in the most recent roundup. We’d be really honoured if Transition Amherst felt it might be able to do such a thing.

I would need it next week, might that work for you? Thanks. If you had a photo of the group too that would be fantastic.

Thanks, and many thanks for all that you do.

Catalyst and Outreach Manager, Transition Network.
43 Fore Street, Totnes, Devon. TQ9 5HN.
You can follow my blog here or follow me on Twitter as @robintransition.
My new book The Power of Just Doing Stuff: how local action can change the world is now published.

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All Things Local Store is Preparing to open

Lots of things are happening. The space is being prepared best serve the market.

All Things Local has a new website. Plese visit it here: allthingslocal.coop!

There is an informational PDF with lots of pictures documenting what happened during a gathering that happened in Portland:
Coop Markets – Local Roots & All Things Local – Transition Amherst at the Portland gathering last weekend

And our very own Andy Morris-Friedman made a video of the party ATL held a few weeks back.

Posted in All Things Local links, Celebrating Amherst, Other Projects | 1 Comment

Working Group Council meeting

The next Transition Amherst Council meeting happens this Thursday, January 17 at 44 Beston street in the home of Gabor Lukacs, from 7 to 9 PM.

The goal of the meeting is
1) To support and coordinate the work of all the working groups in
2) To support initiating further groups that have the goal to create a more resilient community, and
3) To connect people to people, resources and information.

We do that by discussing current activities, look for tried and functioning models, attempt to bring out people’s inspiration as well as providing emotional support for overcoming challenges.

Please see more about the working groups a href=”http://www.transitionamherst.org/blog/working-groups/”>here.

As inspiration, here is what other transition towns do to support working groups do the work:


And a short status report:

Transition Amherst started regular meetings in the spring of 2010 to
help the Amherst community be more resilient: transitioning to a lower
energy use, having more local resources, and being aware of challenges
we are facing and things we can do about them. In the process of this
we held

* Movie nights, seeing films about energy, food and transportation,
* Outings, to learn about the local resources we have
* Skill sharing workshops, to learn what we can provide for ourselves
and each other without much input from global corporations, and
* book discussion groups, to learn about the transition movement and
to get emotional support about the issues we are facing.

We also put together a web site, transitionamherst.org, and
co-sponsored a variety of events with other like-minded organizations.

In the process of starting a Transition movement there is a part where
the Initiating group organizes a big event that many call Unleashing,
and pass the control to the working groups it helped form. This event
did happen last fall, so now the control of where we are heading is
with the various working groups, or, rather, with the people involved
with those working groups, and the members of the original initiating
group still help the process by participating in those groups, and/or
helping their work. By the way in the Amherst area there are lots of
groups with similar goals that we didn’t start or may not even know
about, but we aim to support them if we can also. Ways we can help the
process are outreach, communications and connecting (helping the
council function and updating the web site), and awareness raising.

Minutes from last meeting:
Transition Amherst Council of Groups
December 5, 2012, Meeting Notes
7-9 p.m., the Brennan Farm

Next Meeting: Thursday, January 17, 7-9 p.m. at the Gabor Lukacs home,
44 Beston St.
Note: this is an invitation to all sub-group representatives and persons interested in an administration-and-outreach subgroup, but space is limited, so please signal your intention to attend by phoning
Gabor at 253-9755, or emailing him at gaborzol [at] gmail [dot] com

Present 12/5/12: Bernard & Patti Brennan (Morgan & Ilana), Joshua
Cohen, Rick Martin & Melissa Perot (from Summer St.).
Patti facilitated; Rick took notes.

1. We checked-in at 7:15, with a little extra time given to Joshua and
Melissa, who attended the All Things Community event, but are new to
the Council.

2. Considerable confusion was noted as to the date/place of the
meeting tonight, and who was invited. Efforts were made to clarify
this for our next meeting (above) after a Christmas break.

3. We discussed the somewhat awkward morphing process from Initiating
Committee to a Council of Groups (of four or more people), the Council
meeting probably once a month. The following subgroups are in various
stages of organizing, and made the following reports:

A. Skill-Sharing Group: organizer Gabor Lukacs reported ongoing
workshops such as winter bicycling, a Christmas break, possible
upcoming workshop on his social-collapse-rebuild board game, Valley
Time-Trade, etc. He also reported briefly on our website (now part of
B. Helping Hands Group: organizer Patti Brennan reported on
gathering people willing to give short-term physical assistance to
persons needing help with tasks ––all for community-building and the
joy of giving.
C. All Things Local Indoor Farm Market: representative Bernard
Brennan reported on the group’s continuing search for a location, now
including a possible site on Rt. 9 (east).
D. Neighborhood Organization: newcomer Melissa Perot described some
of her neighborhood priorities motivating her to participate in Town
Meeting and to organize the Summer St. area. Rick promised to contact
Tina and recover the contact information for people who attended this
interest-group at the Great Unleashing.
E. Grow Food Amherst: no report. Organizer: John Gerber.
Representative: John White (also working to organize a micro-loan

4. We adjourned at 9 p.m.

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Community Partner Organizations Recognized for Work

At the October 13th event All Thing’s Community: Celebrating Amherst in Transition, 26 community groups and individuals were recognized for their work building a more sustainable, vibrant and resilient community.

One of the aspects of Amherst and the surrounding towns that make this area so special is seeing how many are doing what we call “Transition” work. These groups and individuals that were recognized October 13th were just a few of the many who have been working hard and putting their heart and soul into making our community better.

We appreciate the contributions that all of the people and groups are making.  It is the work, the dedication and the vision of those who came before us, and of all of these groups and individuals that has brought us this far, and on whose foundation we will continue to build a more resilient, vibrant and sustainable community.

Amherst Recycling Committee  – subsidizing rain barrels and composters

Amherst Survival Center – providing services and goods for those in need

Ron Bohonowicz – Town and School Facilities Manager, installing energy efficient windows at the Middle School

Brookfield Farm CSA

Stephanie Ciccarello – Town Sustainability Coordinator, helping Amherst attain Green Community status which will fund new LED street lights; and helping organize the new Growing Food in Community initiative.

Collective Copies – a cooperative business which donates services locally

Food for Thought Books – cooperative business which provides public meeting space

John Gerber – who spearheaded a chicken regulations update; who teaches sustainable agriculture at UMass and is involved in many other resilience initiatives.

Green Amherst Project, Amherst College – improving energy efficiency and new farm initiative at Amherst College 

Greening Grace, Grace Church – Fix-it Cafe, a recent mend and repair event

Green Sanctuary, Unitarian Universalist Society – Local Food Project

Hampshire College Farm CSA 

Hitchcock Center for the Environment – for 50 years of nature and sustainability education


Many Hands Farm Corps CSA

John Musante

North Amherst Community Farm– community effort to buy farmland

Not Bread Alone – serving three free meals a week

Old Friends Farm CSA

Pioneer Valley Heritage Grains CSA

Pioneer Valley Relocalization Project – educating through its column in the Amherst Bulletin, and advocating with town government for public transportation and an end to sprawl

Simple Gifts Farm CSA

Small Ones Farm CSA

South Congregational Church – prioritizing improvements in energy efficiency and installing solar PV panels

Transition Hampshire College

UMass Permaculture Project


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Transition Amherst says Thank you!

All Things Community wouldn’t have gone so well without the donations, contributions and help of so many businesses, organizations and individuals.

These businesses donated delicious food and beverages:

Atkins Fruit Bowl

Backyard Bakery

Cousins Market

Dean’s Bean’s Coffee

Henion’s Bakery

Wheatberry Bakery and Cafe

Whole Foods Supermarket

Other donations included Posters:

Collective Copies

And creative children’s activities:


These organizations made monetary contributions as co-sponsors:

The Center for Community Engagement at Amherst College

Greening Grace at Grace Episcopal Church

Fabulous musicians entertained and delighted:

ARHS Jazz Band III

Emma & Eli Ayres

Annie Patterson & Peter Blood

Volunteers helped make things go smoothly

Becky Reed

Rocia Rodriguez

Lucy Salwen

Dorian Williams


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Final Schedule for the October 13th event!

Last evening, during one of the last meetings of the initiating group, we made the final decisions on the finer details of the celebration.

Link to the printable flyer is here.

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