looking into a cafe through the window

January’s Conversation Cafe became a launching pad for a lively exchange across this wide brown land. 

Five of us – harking from Melbourne, Mt Barker SA, Sydney and Perth began our casual Sunday night catch-up-and-connect-session by reminding ourselves what we are looking for in the Zoom Conversation Cafe event that Transition Australia hosts monthly.

  • Hearing about different parts of Australia and what groups are doing
  • Being with fellow-transitioners who share interests and concerns
  • Finding supportive ears and the feeling of belonging to a group
  • Fuelling our desire for action, with lively and practical talk

conversation cafe logoAnd this first conversation of the year 2022 unfurled – during the following week – into a lengthy email exchange of shared ideas, plans and resources.

Here is a taste of this dialogue to whet your appetite…

What interests me is how we go from talking about Transition to implementing it.

I can’t think of a way that you could get work or a career in that field?

Everything seems to be a personal thing or a group of volunteers!

I know what you mean …..I’d really recommend Rob Hopkins book – What If?  He gives examples of towns and groups that have made that transition. Where the ideas of transition groups are now businesses and livelihoods.

WOOFing used to be a way that people could visit and live with farmers to learn, for weeks or months.  I guess WORKAWAY is similar; though COVID has been an obstacle to these sorts of arrangements.

And we meet people in Sydney who are studying courses in Sustainability and as part of their course they need to find an internship, or need to set up a project with a community group.

These are ways that the ‘baton can be passed’ enough to give people a taste of possible future careers.

I’ve been looking at the Reconomy website and other videos by Fiona Ward who was running this project. There is a Town in France that has implemented a lot of initiatives.  The Mayor is a driving force.

Also some intentional communities are aligned with Transition values.

person chatting with someone on a laptop

We meet online but we imagine we are in a real cafe

The WA Hub Research project is polling all the WA groups to find out what they are doing and where they are putting their energy.

Where we find overlaps we are hoping that we can pool and share resources and establish guidelines.

We are hoping to connect with other groups that we can work with.

We have had meetings with the Conservation Council funded Clean State Initiative that is hoping to create jobs in the renewable energy sector and many other low carbon areas.

We in Transition Town Guildford have connected with a nearby town in establishing a Share Library for all sorts of items that are not used often; such as camping, gardening, party stuff etc.

To get a real Transition happening I think it has to provide benefits for people that they want to get on board with; local food systems being the most obvious and needed one.

You can already see food and fuel prices rising…

I also want to establish a list of current local businesses that are already providing services along the lines of the “What If” suggestions.  We are also looking to connect with the WA Cooperative groups as this seems to be a common democratic model that is used in the “What If” examples.image of fresh sweet corn and other veggies

There was mention also of short films that groups have made and that might be shared in the Transition Australia network – on gardening, permaculture, food production etc

I love the idea of pooling resources and creating guidelines – I bet so many groups all struggle with similar hurdles and each have to muddle through. Hopefully these resources will also create a sense of connectedness so each group feels less alone and more supported.

I’ve heard of Organic Buyers Groups working well and there is a really wonderful initiative in the Blue Mountains, NSW called Farm it Forward. It employs young people to grow food on donated land e.g. in the gardens of landowners. In exchange the landowners receive free, organic locally grown veggies, excess veggies are sold and funds are used to employ more young farmers.

The project aims to increase cross- generational connections, reduce isolation and create jobs, as well as tackling food insecurity.



Jade: My partner and I are planning to start a podcast, interviewing organisations who are doing things to move us towards a more ethical, sustainable and joyful world.

Our aims are to

  1. spread awareness generally of Transition type organisations and enterprises (inspiring more people to get involved)
  2. be a resource for existing groups and organisations – to share learnings of things that have worked and things that haven’t – and potentially to feel more connected as part of a wider collection of organisations.

(Jade is previously from Transition Bondi and this podcast will be launched in the near future)

As you can see, one evening chatting on Zoom became a launching pad for a lively exchange across this wide brown land. 

Collated by Kit Shepherd, Transition Bondi

February 2022

Ed: Lots of ideas for collaboration here. We’d love to see you at a Conversation Cafe during 2022 – the fourth Sunday each month via Zoom, 8pm Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart time