The Transition Movement began in 2005 in Ireland. It started in response to two of the most serious challenges that we are likely to face in the near future: the challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change. In the past eight years the movement has spread virally around the globe. In 2012 it won the European Civil Society´s award for working towards a low carbon and socially just future. “The choice is ours,” Carlos Abafa from Monchique says. We can choose to be overwhelmed by the changes or we can start to adapt to them now by creating a locally based, less oil dependent, more resilient future for ourselves and future generations. If we sit and wait for government to act we are likely to be offered austerity followed by “Business as usual”. Increasing growth cannot solve the emerging energy famine. The Transition Movement asks that people take responsibility for themselves and our communities and that we act now to slowly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Citizens have the opportunity to create a new future which combines the best of the old with the best of the new appropriate technologies, creating a world of abundance, where “Small is Beautiful” and “human scale” resilient communities are the norm.

Monchique em Transição was formed in December 2012 by a small group of people, as a project of the local A Nossa Terra Association.
Currently there are three working groups.

  1. First: Economics, Transport, Tourism and Energy
  2. Communication, Education and Culture
  3. Food Security, Productive Landscapes and Forestry.

The Community Garden
In February, 2013, an organic community garden was started on 1800 m2 of land generously loaned by Carlos and Ana Abafa. The site is very accessible and in parts enjoys the shade of many mature fruit trees. The Food Security Group has responsibility for this project and at this moment seven local families are cultivating their own plots here. The plans for 2014 include making more plots available for Monchique residents, open days with picnics in the gardens, seed and plant swapping events, workshops and more.

 Monchique Exchange and Time Bank
A moneyless exchange system of great benefit in times of Financial Crisis: when Euros are in short supply, this, and similar systems, can work alongside the National Currency to help us maintain quality of life. The Monchique Exchange and Time bank is doing this for its members enabling them to exchange goods and services without having to spend valuable cash. There is a Directory of Goods and Services on the internet to enables exchanges to be made easily. All accounts are automatically updated and held on the server. The system is up and running and open to new members in the Monchique area.

About the author

Lesley Martin, (68) farmer and writer, mother of seven children, is coming from a biological farming background in the UK. Have been teaching Permaculture Courses for the past 17 years in Portugal and England. Lives currently near Monchique, head tutor at the Vale da Lama School of Permaculture Design in Odeàxere.

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