Grounds Around Town
Members organized a small group of people to work with businesses to set aside coffee grounds for residents to use in their gardens. Over 200 buckets are in circulation, diverting hundreds of pounds of organic waste from entering the landfill. In a landfill, organic waste such as coffee grounds generates methane gas (a powerful greenhouse gas) but used in a garden or compost system, the organic matter is a nutrient for the soil.
We worked with Town Hall to take advantage of a state grant that awarded free bike racks to be use on town-owned property. Bike racks were installed at the Ashland Police Station, Stone Park, Marathon Park and the Ashland Middle School fields. Transition Ashland members worked with the Ashland Business Association to put all of the town’s existing bike racks on their Ashland Road and Trail map.
Ashland Farmers’ Market
While not everyone involved with the market is a member of transition Ashland, we consider the AFM a true Transition initiative. The AFM steering committee, of which Transition Ashland members were a part, utilized the open space model to kick off the project. The initial meeting in the town hall inspired several different working groups which divided to take on the daunting task of creating a farmers market in less than 6 months. The AFM continues to exhibit Transition ideas including local agriculture and business, sustainability and community.
In the spring and summer of 2012 Matt and Leah, together with their neighbor, decided to build a potager garden to be shared between the two households. They built raised beds, designed and built an attractive fence to keep out animals, and planted a blueberry hedge. Their neighbor grew tomatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, peppers and others. Matt and Leah grew basil, beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach and strawberries. The three of them all had the same vision; to create a highly visible garden by the road that was a showpiece of how an edible garden could be attractive and practical. By sharing resources and sweat equity the two households were able to create something they could not have created alone. Now, people stop by to chat while they are working in the garden. Much like the Ashland Community Garden, this project fosters community in the neighborhood while also providing a local, low-carbon source of food.
J-Term Bicycle Class at AHS
Ashland High School is starting a new program where in June for four days students can choose a class from a whole range of topics that are outside the typical curriculum. Transition Ashland is working with AHS teachers Lynne Hammond and Leah Marshquist on a class that encourages bicycling to school while teaching students about bike safety and about bike infrastructure design.
In January of 2013, the Board of Selectmen voted to create a Sustainability Committee. From the committee's charge: "The Ashland Sustainability Committee will work in partnership with town employees, residents and constituents to promote sustainable practices at the municipal, residential, commercial and institutional levels. The first objective of the committee is to assist the Town with the implementation of the 2012 Energy Reduction Plan that was created as part of the Ashland’s Green Communities designation by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." Transition Ashland will work in partnership with the newly created Sustainabilty Committee wherever possible to promote shared goals.