Get Transition Free Press circulating in your area! Order deadline 11th April

image3489-low-res enh Don’t miss out! Bundles to go for the Spring/Summer issue 2014

There is only one newspaper in print dedicated to reporting on all things happening on the ground in transition, and that’s the Transition Free Press.

Would you, your group or initiative like to sign up for a bundle of this unique grassroots publication produced by experienced journalists and seasoned transitioners alike, who have taken up the challenge of ‘becoming the media’?

If so, we’re still taking orders for the spring/summer issue 2014.

People and organisations from both within and beyond the transition movement have been signing up throughout the UK – from the Scilly Isles to the Shetlands. There have even been orders from Canada and the US.

Image3020 detailPrepaid UK bundle prices, including P&P direct from the printer, start at £50 for 125 copies (40p per copy). 250 copies cost £85 (34p per copy). In order to keep fuel use and costs down, we keep a very limited supply of copies available after publication. And these are also more expensive.

Many people are sharing their bundles with transition and related groups in neighbouring towns. Apart from saving on costs, sharing bundles is a great way of connecting with transition in your region. Walthamstow, Cheltenham, Glasgow and Hythe are home to just four of the hubs for Transition Free Press.

To secure your bundle, whether big (250 copies and increments of 125) or small (125 copies), for distributing yourself, through your initiative or with other groups, contact Mark by 5pm on Friday 11th April at

PLEASE NOTE: Our distribution page has the current list of all TFP distributors – plus drop-down post with some hints and tips on how to get those TFPs out there!

And for INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS please click here.

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Introducing Team TFP 2014

ttfp-460x342Great news! Our May issue is now full steam ahead and we have a full crew on board. And although we are just as excited when our front page comes in, you can be sure we don’t quite look like these men in suits!

In 2014 our editorial and production team has grown as the paper expands its horizons and connects up with other groups and initiatives that run alongside Transition. To get to that exhilirating front page moment requires hours and hours of invisible work put in by lots of talented, practical, dedicated people – people you don’t normally see. So in the spirit of knowledge-share that all great Transition enterprises possess at their core,  here we are and this is how we work together.

the new line up

288_53734975197_7780_nWe’re a newspaper first and foremost, so our first nine pages are news stories, from all the latest on climate change and the fossil fuel crisis, to new moves in areas like housing and democracy. Our new News and Sports Ed, Amy Hall, based in Brighton, is a graduate from the Cardiff School of Journalism and has worked on publications from The Ecologist to New Internationalist:

“The world is facing transformation and it’s great to be part of a movement working for a more sustainable and just, future. TFP is an exciting project and I’m looking forward to sharing the stories of those people doing inspiring things from the grassroots, within and beyond the Transition movement.”

TN photoDiversity is not just good for the soil, it’s good for comms too. Papers flourish with different folk writing – and editing its pages too. For the next issue we have new curators for the Energy page, Gareth Simkins (T Croydon) and Education, Michaela Woollatt (T Nayland). Michaela is also Assistant Features Ed for the rich central seam of the paper (pages 9-22) that includes arts, wellbeing, interviews, reviews and our comments spread, Talkback. She is presently compiling a list of innovative Transition and related projects, so do get in touch with her if you would like your project featured in a future issue (

Following our call out for new Food and Drink Eds last month we had some really talented people apply and it was very hard to choose between them. Tess Riley (who started up Transition Chiswick and works for Streetbank – see pic below) and Eva Schonveld (Transition Scotland and works for The Fife Diet) are now going to share the role. As well as continuing to report on foraging,  community food producers and Transition growing projects, they are planning some new twists:

Want to read about locally produced honey, carbon neutral farming, snack bars made from waste fruit or campaigns to stop local pubs being sold off to developers? Head to the Food pages, where we will be working with contributors to dig into the fertile earth of all that is sustainable, resilient and inspiring in the world of food.

Streetbank day at Ann's AllotmentWe are also delighted to welcome the brilliant Chris Wells (Transition Kensal to Kilburn, who runs folklabs) as our lead designer, ably assisted by Lynda Durrant (T Lewes) who helped navigate the news pages of TFP4.  Trucie Mitchell, who designed the pilot issues has just had her first baby (congrats Trucie!) and is now on maternity leave.

Finally we wouldn’t even get on to the page without Marion McCartney (T Matlock in Derbyshire). Marion is our sterling, ever patient chief proofreader (with proofing back up crew, Sheila Rowell, Mark Watson and fearsome news sub, Nick Tigg). That’s every dot, dash and typo attended to in our 24 pages.

Behind the scenes

But producing a newspaper is not just about shaping articles and designing pages. We’re a social enterprise and have to find funds to pay for the printing and delivery of 10,000+ copies each issue and for ourselves. Alexis Rowell,  our groundbreaking News Ed during the pilot year, has now taken on the role of Managing Editor – which means he oversees the workings and finances of the enterprise, as well as its place in the world. He is also looking after the advertising for this issue, so if you would like to take out an ad, from a generous half page to a small ad in our marketplace section (a very good deal at £35!), do get in contact (

img_84972Our distribution network is run by Mark Watson (aka MarkinFlowers) from his homebase in Suffolk. Distribution is the key to our success as without dissemination the word does not get out there. In 2013 we had over 80 initiatives selling TFP in all corners of the UK (and beyond!). So do get in touch  if you/ your enterprise would like to sign up for bundles (£50 for 125 copies) in 2014, starting with our next edition. Mark is a seasoned Transitioner and is happy to talk on the phone and share some great ways to sell your copies.

You can sign up for Transition Free Press in 2014 here  or contact Mark directly (

image1685Equally key on the Transition map is our man in subscriptions Mike Grenville (T Forest Row and Ed of the Transition Newsletter). Individual subscibers are another vital link in the paper’s success story. It was the generosity and backing of individuals who helped kickstart TFP in 2012 with our BuzzBnk crowdfunding appeal (launched here at the last Transition Conference).

So if you would like TFP to arrive on your doorstep and to help back the enterprise why not take out a annual subscription? For £15 you (or your household or group) will receive four issues (starting in May) and help us keep reporting those stories that other media doesn’t reach. Patron subscribers (£50) are also welcome!

Subscribe (for first time and renewals) to TFP here. Do get in touch with Mike if you have any other questions (

And of course there are our 100+wonderful contributors who write the stories and take the pictures about the projects and new thinking that is the core material of TFP. If you have a great story up your sleeve, or would like to take part do let us know.

Anyone else? Oh yes, that would be me. I’m Charlotte by the way and I edit TFP – its co-creator, navigator, co-ordinator, content director and demon deadline chaser! That’s another story I wrote about here. Have a wonderful Spring everyone and thank you again for coming on board with us. Charlotte Du Cann (

Images: still from The Front page (niftily reworked by Rob Hopkins on Transition Culture); Amy Hall on the trail; Michaela Woollatt in the field; Tess Riley on the allotment; Mark Watson on the job; Mike Grenville on the map.

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New 2014 edition of Transition Free Press to launch on First of May

TFP_Advert_STIR_FinalAnd the latest news is . . . we’re stepping into 2014 with a bright new edition this May! Thanks to some great responses from TFP readers and distributors, and some key start-up funding from Transition Network, we are taking our innovative grassroots newspaper into its second year.

Plans are already underway for our new Spring/Summer issue and we are keen to hear about any exciting news or feature stories to add to our exhilarating mix of all Transition subjects under the sun.  We would also love to hear if you are able to distribute the paper in your neighbourhood, or become a hub station for local initiatives.

Although we are now hard at work raising funds for core costs, our nationwide communications enterprise really depends on maintaining the vibrant distribution network of Transition initiatives, community groups and small businesses that we built up during the pilot i.e. you!

So do please get in touch  if you and your enterprise would like to sign up for bundles (£50 for 125 copies) for this year, starting with our next edition. Our cover price will still be £1.

Image3489 low resSign up to distribute Transition Free Press in 2014 here. For further details do contact our distribution manager, Mark Watson (

We are also calling out for 2014 individual subscribers for those of you would like to get your paper on the doorstep and might not live near a TFP distribution hub. For £15 you (or your household or group) will receive four issues (starting in May) and help us keep reporting those stories that other media doesn’t reach.

Subscribe (for first time and renewals) to Transition Free Press in 2014 here. Do get in touch with Mike Grenville if you have any other questions (

Reading about TFP for the first time? This is what Rob Hopkins said of our last issue on Transition Culture:

The fourth edition of Transition Free Press has just come out, and it is a Thing of Great Beauty.  Transition has long created spaces in which people can engage their creativity, and TFP is one of the shining examples of that.  It models a different approach to telling stories, to building networks, and to building a movement.  We love it. (from Celebrating the Marvel that is Transition Free Press)

Hope you do too! And thanks to all of you that have so far.

h123Are you our new Food and Drink Editor?

Finally our fabulous 2013 Food and Drink Editor, Tamzin Pinkerton is no longer able to edit our regular food pages. So this is a call out for all aspiring food eds and writers who are willing to contribute some of their skill, ingenuity and time to communicating this key Transition subject.

In our last four issues we have covered all aspects of local and community food projects, from gleaning networks to community bakeries to cider coops. We’re looking for someone who is passionate and knowledgable about sustainable food systems, who can commission and contribute around four articles per quarter and see the pages through production.

Please contact Charlotte Du Cann ( if you are interested.

Many thanks everyone for your continuing support and looking forward to hearing from you!

Images: Trucie, our designer, promoting TFP in Bristol; Mark Watson, our distribution manager, on the doorstep with TFP in Suffolk: Vincent Talleu, artisan baker featured in TFP3, gathering Brockwell Bake’s Blue Cone wheat in Kent

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Slow Fashion

bombolulu-466x700The textile industry is the second most polluting industry on the planet after oil and gas. We are surrounded by its products, in our houses, on our bodies, but hardly ever give the people and the plants that keep us warm and looking good a second – or considerate – thought.

In our current issue we put the spotlight on fashion and fabrics and discuss ways in which Transition initiatives can ‘downshift the wardrobe’ from running sewing cafes in Lancaster to rethinking the runway in Crouch End  (next Alternative Clothes Show happening on 22nd March)

Textiles in Transition

by William Lana

Textiles is a truly global industry. In many ways it was the starting point of the industrialisation of the world, kicked off in the 18th and 19th centuries by Britain’s cotton industry and trade. Labour-intensive garment production was one of the earliest to adopt the ‘logic’ of globalisation and in the last 50 years has been moving from the high-wage countries to lower and lower wage countries in a so-called race to the bottom…

The globalisation of the textile industry has meant that companies have shifted focus away from production and instead ‘bigged-up’ brand and marketing.  Production is merely supply a management issue. This has led to a systemic exploitation of workers, including excessive hours, lack of job security, poverty wages, ill-health and denial of trade union rights.

Sewing session!Tara et AlasdairTo a transitioner this feels very unsatisfactory. We want to know where the raw materials have been grown, raised or made. We want to know what the energy input has been, how far the garment has come, and what toxic outputs have been created through its production. Who has made it and under what conditions?  Quite apart from the concern that our bum doesn’t look big in it.

When we opened our Greenfibres shop in the mid 1990’s I remember some people walking by, saying “Organic textiles?! You don’t eat your socks!”. Apart from being incorrect (60% of the cotton harvest is cotton seed used for animal feed and vegetable oil) it made me realise just how disconnected we are from our textiles. They are all around us (literally), internationally employ over 26 million people (not including over 100 million farmers who grow cotton and other materials), and yet we have a very distant relationship to them.

How far have we come in 20 years?  Hmmm…. not terribly.  I’m heartened to see the real growth of the make and mend movement, that £13 million worth of organic textiles were sold in the UK in 2012 and that documentaries about the industry (such as Dirty White Gold investigating the high suicide rate of Indian cotton farmers). But it still feels like early days. Who’s asking questions about energy use?  (one t-shirt requires approx. 1.7 kg of fossil fuel and generates approx. 4 kg of CO2). Can we even return to a less energy intensive textile industry? Who remembers how to ret or scutch flax?  Where are the businesses who know how to process these fibres?  Why is 95% of the cotton grown in the US from GM seed?

So what if we wanted to start bringing fibres and fabrics back home, what might that look like?  Well, for starters …

  • we’d get busy planting some hemp (and make it easier to get a licence – mine took 18 months)
  • we’d re-introduce basic sewing into the primary school curriculum
  • we’d pass legislation requiring historical information to be included on the barcode of garments, e.g. where the raw materials came from, and where the garment was made (a pair of Lee jeans can travel 40,000 miles from field to shelf).

Image2013-650Meanwhile what can the average transitioner do to side-step fast fashion?  We can swap clothes with friends, purchase outerwear from charity shops, and if we do buy new items (for example underwear) consider an ethical supplier. If you buy textiles that you love and respect, you’re much less likely to add them to the 3 million ton annual pile which ends up in our bins.  In a nutshell, we should be buying fewer textiles, of better quality, which can be mended.  Now back to my tasty organic cotton socks.

William Lana co-founded the organic textile company Greenfibres in 1996 and is a trustee of Transition Network. He was Chair of the Soil Association’s Organic Textile Standards Committee from 2001-2012 and helped found the Organic Trade Board in 2008.

Images: seamstress for the fairtrade clothing company, People Tree : Transition reskilling; naturally dyed wools at the Guildhall Museum, Suffolk part of The Dye Garden Project 2014

For further reading: John Thackera on Routledge’s upcoming Handbook on Fashion and Sustainability

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Happy news year!

TFP_slider_image_1Happy news year everyone! Transition Free Press is all about responding to the social and ecological storms that now confront us and if you haven’t read our winter edition yet there are some great stories in its pages about people who are using their ingenuity, skill, intelligence and good-heartedness to forge the kinds of enterprises and networks that help us do just that:


One of these stories is how the Transition movement gives people a chance to encounter and forge a new narrative and sense of identity. At a recent meeting about the upcoming book on Transitional arts practice, Playing for Time, contributors discussed how tramline arguments (for and against) and old cultural stories keep us trapped in very limited ways of being in the world. Whole portions of ourselves, especially those parts configured to work creatively in groups, are not given a chance to be acted out. As a result  many possibilities for the future are not seen or made manifest.

One of my favourite pieces in our current issue is in the Talkback section. It originated in a conversation about Transition and communications with researcher and communications designer, Chris Thornton when he visited the UK this autumn. Talkback is the opinion section of the paper where writers can air their views and philosophies: where there is space and time to reflect on the bigger picture. This piece sits alongside Brett Scott on Permacultural Finance and Zoe Wangler on the Ecological Land Co-op.

BTW If you would like to order copies of TFP4 for your initiative, business or next Transition event, do get in touch with Mark Watson ( Charlotte Du Cann

imagesreconfiguring our sense of self

by Chris Thornton

As I was preparing my proposal for PhD research on communication and sustainability, I came across the first of two unsettling clarifications. In a 2002 Dutch designer Jan Van Toorn, crystalized the impacts of industrial and communication design on society: “Design,” he says, “has become an efficient, world-wide instrument for the colonisation of being.” It takes little more than a trip to the shops or some TV channel-hopping to grasp this; that the nature of being in the world is subsumed into corporate strategy. It implies that we are a symptom of the scale and reach of industrialised storytelling, conditioning what is meaningful and what we aspire to be in our lives; it tells us that the modern act of consumption has become inexorably tied to identity.

As a designer and educator I remain in a minority of my field who share concern about this issue and its social and ecological effects. Communication design is a practice of storytelling, but similar to other manufactured outputs, advertising and media narratives create ‘externalities’ that our industry fails to recognise. Through persistent appeals to our extrinsic values for power, wealth, image and status we have become highly individualised by a shift to our sense of self. Psychologically, this shift insulates us from one another and the natural world.

Through it we have largely forgotten the experience of collective empowerment and our place in a wider bio-social ecology. But, in reading about the Transition Network last year, I was struck by a second clarification: it seemed Transition was attempting something unprecedented in the environmental movement. In its model for localisation, social resilience and collective action, Transition deliberately creates space for people to reconfigure their sense of self. In very practical ways it offers opportunities to grow and celebrate new personal narratives that encompass human and non-human others. Forming identity is thought to be, in part, an ongoing process of self-narration, so I became interested in how Transition might affect this. I wondered what we designers can learn from Transition to develop communications that genuinely support sustainability, instead of co-opting it into increasing swathes of greenwash?

The research resulting from this spans four Transition communities across the UK and South Australia where I now live. These include Transition Towns Lewes and Leicester, selected for their well-established projects and likely socio-cultural differences; and Transition Adelaide Hills and Transition Gawler in South Australia, both younger groups with their own geographical and social challenges. Using interviews, observations and my own participation I am examining the personal, social and contextual stories that motivate sustainable behaviour. The narrative accounts so far have been telling and I have begun to see some poignant indicators of why Transition succeeds, and where it may need to adapt.

One of the clearest examples of success, and the one most likely to influence self-perception, is the act of ‘doing’. In the majority of narratives shared so far, engagement in practical activities seems highly significant to furthering personal commitment to change. Theory surrounding this suggests that human freedom is recovered by reclaiming the potential of being as act. Action reminds us of our innate potential for choice and making real the things we value. In acting for Transition, people may find increased agency and self-determination. Furthermore, where action is socialised or collaborative, the sense of connection and responsibility to others encourages it to continue. It can ease commitment to change and stimulate intrinsic cultural values that transcend self-interest. This may be particularly important to young people where participation in personal and collective action may be critical to liberating identity from systematised corporate influences.

Other conversations have highlighted that Transition may need to significantly deepen its reach through other language forms in the arts, design, literature, music and performance to present it as visual as well as social culture. There is potential for applying Transition philosophy to serious creative output publicly. In the same way that permaculture relates as much to people as it does to land, Transition is as much about communication as it is about practice. Given time and critical effort it has the capacity to reshape our narrative ecology and provide new space for human authenticity amid the milieu of marketing and media noise. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut in Mother Night: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be carefulvco_13571_ec1d75b38cc0f20d188f2372eb9190ca about what we pretend to be.”

Chris Thornton is a lecturer in Communication Design and a PhD candidate with the Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour at the University of South Australia.

Images: Transition Willesden wassail by Jonathan Goldberg from TFP4 welcome; Transition Leicester CSA from TFP1

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we’re now officially published (and being read in all the right places)

IMG_1340We’ve just published our fourth edition on paper and on line and are now appearing in all great Transition neighbourhoods and venues.

We’re also  featured on the Transition Network website, as the TN board (left) decide we are the best read this winter.

Here are some of the reasons why everyone is checking out the news and features stories covered in our 24-page essential winter edition (and why we’re now planning how we can keep the presses rolling into 2014). Enjoy!

It’s as easy as ABCBrettScott

Acorns – bring back balanoculture! (and how to make flour that lasts a decade)

Brett Scott – heretic broker lays the groundwork for Permacultural Finance in our Talkback section

Co-op – if it’s no longer all at the Coop bank now, where do we go from here? Plus the beautiful Art of Money

Dark Mountain Project -  review of  the latest collection by the writers, artists and thinkers who no longer believe the stories our civilisation is telling us (do any of us?)

Energy – “I’ve seen the future and it’s German!” declares Ovesco’s Chris Rowland as solar and wind Technik increases

Fees – students lose out in the commodification of education – is this time to start real knowledge share in the future?

Grow Heathrow – interview with Rosie Music on the art of living in an activist community (People)

Have you got rhythm? Dancing through the winter is the way to go (Physical)

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 11.36.29 amIdentity – how Transition creates a space for reconfiguring our sense of self and frees us from consumerism (Talkback)

Japan – student Helena Laughton goes on the road with Transition Japan to a Zero Yen Camp

Kit – everything you need for a neighbourhood pop-up shop with a difference – Ruth Ben-Tovim on the prototype Shop-in-the-Box

Local Econonic Blueprint looks at (re) localisation in Lambeth 

Music – is music the best tool for social change? how singing in choirs just got hip and radical

News – all the latest from solar lamps in Africa to floods in Colorad0

Oh, just what I could do with! How a Transition cafe turned a Farmers’ Market around

Anonymous 'Million Mask March' protest in LondonProtest – our front page story on how grassroots protests are bringing people together and creating a new narrative of change

Quinoa – how an Essex farmer harvested his first crop of the Andean supergrain

Rocket stoves – the essential low-carbon cooker (or how to boil a kettle with no electricity)

IMG_0835_2Sauerkraut as you have never known it – two Transitioners share their ferments

Textiles – Paris, London, Milan and Crouch End (naturally) . .  Transition responses to the global fashion industry

Undercover comedy – meet Sam Quinn who is discovering a secret plot to overthrow the seriousness of environmentalism

Vibes – good ones for tough times requires everything from empathy (on our wellbeing page) to reconnecting with the territory (canoeing on our back page)

Waste – Two Transitioners take part in actions against incineration and fracking (plus a competition to find the most beautiful compost loo)

X factor that makes this grassroots paper great (aka a great editorial crew)

Yes! to an independent Scotland? Justin Kenrick dispels the myths of the naysayers

Zoe Wangler on the groundbreaking work of the Ecological Land Coop

484997_460945680613821_965150950_a. . . and that’s not all! Read the whole edition here: issuu/transitionfreepress/tfp4 or join our distribution team and buy a bundle for your initiative or enterprise (contact

Charlotte Du Cann, Editor-in-Chief

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we’ve gone live! “This is a moment in an invisible revolution”

Our Winter editorial, written and narrated by Charlotte Du Cann. Video produced by Mike Grenville.

For A-Z guide of our latest issue see previous post.

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