PHOENIXVILLE AREA TRANSITION COMMUNITY
Sunday, November 11, 2018, 4:00-5:30 PM
Community Arts Phoenixville, 207 Bridge Street
Present: Bridget Anderson, Amy Atlee, Joel Bartlett, Adrian Bowden, Mark Connolly, Megan Connolly, Jane Dugdale, Jean Flood, Will Fuller, Chris Goulian (note-taker), Melissa Greer, Cindy Gunther, Peter Luborsky, David Lutzker, Rodney Platt, Shilpa Shah.
Welcome and announcements
Jane called the meeting to order at 4:04. She announced that the PAT planning group will meet on December 2 at Sol Kitchen; the next group meeting will be a holiday celebration (no agenda) scheduled for the entire afternoon on, December 30, at her home. Then, after brief introductions by each person present, fuller presentations were provided by first-time attendees and by those reporting on new initiatives:
· Will Fuller has been living for three years in Phoenixville as a community organizer with POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild). An interfaith organization composed of 65 congregations, POWER’s mission is to help people of faith put their ideas into action. Specifically, Will covers Chester and Montgomery Counties and trains people in leadership to lead campaigns, focusing on wage indignities and disparity as well as funding schools equitably. His organization also works on issues of climate justice, particularly as tied to racial justice; one effort has been to pressure PECO to use renewable sources. POWER holds monthly strategy and leadership team meetings; there are opportunities for individuals to be involved as well.
· Cindy Gunther works at Kimberton Waldorf School and recently moved to the area.
· Melissa Greer recently attended a meeting of the Regenerative Health Institute, a partnership between the Rodale Institute the Plantrician Project. Their goal is to spread the practices of regenerative organic agriculture and train healthcare providers as to the medical and nutritional benefits of such practices. The Plantrician Project is a group of doctors who recognize the need to provide health care providers with better nutrition training and knowledge about soil health. As nutrition training in medical schools hasn’t worked, so Plantrician Project has shifted their efforts to provide such training during residencies. The Regenerative Health Institute is raising awareness across the state about the intersection of the environment, health care, and farming. A draft of a white paper has been sent to Harrisburg, but as medicine and agriculture are both industrialized, Rodale has been focusing on a grass roots movement, and Melissa has encouraged Rodale to partner with Transition Towns.
· Shilpa Shah is a Phoenixville resident and has been associated with Timebank.
Jane explained that the planning group recommended that as an exercise we form smaller subgroups to address areas of common interest. These could be groups already working on existing initiatives or groups considering new projects. Each group should focus on developing a project involving head, heart, and hands. Jane called upon Mark, Adrian, Rodney, and Joel to describe briefly the focus of their existing efforts:
· Green energy – Mark Connolly: The Green Team has a clean energy team, the primary task of which is to pass resolution in each township. The collective goal of these efforts is to put out to bid a new energy purchasing agreement as was done in West Chester. Other implementation strategies on conversion to electric (vehicles, energy efficiency, and related technologies/arenas). A regional planning document is still being drafted, containing an energy section and an implementation section; there is still time to incorporate ideas. The Green School Alliance is a great sustainability platform for schools; Lisa Longo is coordinating with that group. The Alliance is an online community of over 9000 schools.
· Walkability – Adrian Bowden: Supporting activities in downtown Phoenixville so that wherever possible, people can safely walk, cycle, and run. Currently addressing issues with crosswalks and with lights that don’t work properly. Setting up meetings to meet with the borough administrator to address some of these crossing issues. The more people speak up, the better the chance that we’ll make progress.
· Film series – Rodney Platt: Film (and book group) is pretty much “head” work because we’re hoping to inspire people through film. Great communication tool.
· Altair Ecovillage – Joel Bartlett: We own 9 acres in Kimberton and plan to build an ecovillage of 35 homes. In addition to sharing resources, the community will also share social interests. Lots of opportunities for fitting in and connecting: caring for the trees on the site; resolving conflicts; running meetings; monthly forums, and educational opportunities.
Jane invited the group to suggest other areas of shared interest, among which were:
· Social Justice/Equity
· Art in Transition
· Inner Resilience
· Melissa Greer: Alternative economic system growing out of film, Tomorrow?
· Adrian Bowden: Community kitchen out of Sol Kitchen
· Megan Connolly: Effort into engaging people to think differently about community, responsibility, improvement, social justice. An initiative to educate and connect adults and children by teaching them about being fully present as a citizen.
Jane asked that we form and join an affinity group – some may already be working on initiatives, others considering starting such projects – and come up with a practical proposal involving head, heart, and hands. She asked that we spend 20 minutes discussing the question, What project would you do if there were no obstacles to its success? Afterwards, the various groups reported back to those assembled:
· Joel Bartlett: Develop cultural competence within Altair and the whole community. (Joel’s goal: get the project built!)
· Adrian Bowden: Walked past the pedestrian crossing, which needs clarity that it is a crossing. Then, inside Sol Kitchen, discussed having Carah Medical Arts use that space, as well as Soltane. Also, have people use the kitchen to cook and prepare organic food, perhaps in conjunction with Time Bank.
· Rodney Platt: Agreed that we need to organize an ongoing schedule of educational films, forums, etc., at the Colonial Theater, at no cost. Thursday, December 6 – showing of “Voices of Transition” here at the Community Arts Center, followed by meeting of the movie group?
· Mark Connolly: Read aloud the mission of the Clean Energy Team (“The Clean Energy Team's missions is to connect individuals and their communities to the resources they need to 'identify and implement community-based clean energy projects. We seek to educate, advocate and empower the Phoenixville area community’s governments and residents to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions”). Discussed the Green School Alliance as a great opportunity to establish online community to share sustainable projects and initiatives.
Rodney suggested that we make podcasts of our meetings to share with members not present.
Jane presented to the groupan excerpt from a video (5 minutes) featuring Paul Hawken, one of the founders of Project Drawdown dedicated to removing carbon from the atmosphere. In his speech, presented at the 2004 Bioneers conference, Hawken unfolds the premise of his book, Blessed Unrest, in which he argues that a new, global, grassroots movement is taking place.
5:30 Jane concluded the meeting at 5:30 and invited all to refreshments.