No man is an organization, and that definitely includes myself. Transition Sarasota thrives most when it is nurtured by the time, talent, and treasure of many diverse individuals and organizations. Such was the case this past month, when important new partnerships were forged, volunteers stepped up in a big way, donors contributed generously, and three new members joined our Board of Directors.
Education for Sustainability
At the Florida House Institute on April 8th, I participated in an Environment Day panel for the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Sarasota program. The panel was attended by approximately 40 people and included Jennifer Shafer, Executive Director of the Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, and John Lambie, Executive Director of Florida House.
In preparation for applying for grant funding from the Florida Humanities Council, eight new documentaries have been tentatively selected for our next Films for a Future series:
- September 2016: This Changes Everything
- October 2016: In Defense of Food
- November 2016: Racing Extinction
- January 2017: Planetary
- February 2017: Inhabit
- March 2017: Occupy the Farm
- April 2017: Demain (Tomorrow)
- May 2017: How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change
These free screenings will be held outdoors as part of Fourth Fridays at the Historic Downtown Village along Fruitville Road in Sarasota. A guest speaker will present briefly after each film and related organizations will be invited to set up tables to promote their work.
The Local Food Shift
Four gleanings were held in April for All Faiths Food Bank: one at Honeyside Farms and three at Jessica's Organic Farm, totaling more than 3,000 pounds. Volunteers collectively contributed 111 hours to this effort.
Two volunteers are currently busy updating Eat Local Guide listings for our second print edition, which will be distributed later this Fall. Heidi Williams has nearly finished adding about 50 new listings to the Guide, while Barbara Hardesty has just begun fact-checking over 265 existing ones.
Planning for our sixth annual Eat Local Week - which will take place Monday, October 24th through Sunday, October 30th - has recently commenced. This year's theme will be "Food Changes Everything," and will explore the interconnections between food and topics as diverse as water, energy, finance, biodiversity, soil fertility, culture, public policy, education, the economy, health, art, land use, and social justice. This year's first official planning meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 17th from 2-4pm in the main Meeting Room at the Fruitville Public Library.
More volunteers are still needed to assist with our monthly booth at the Sarasota Farmers Market, which will be held next on May 28th (and the fourth Saturday of every subsequent month). To distribute for free at the market, we recently received 100 copies of the Winter 2015 “Cities Are Now” edition of YES! Magazine, and thanks to an in-kind sponsorship from Sir Speedy Sarasota, we have a handsome new banner for our booth, which displays 18 colorful information artworks from the Lexicon of Sustainability.
Our 2016 Membership Drive officially launched on April 21st, and has been promoted heavily on our website and through our newsletter and social media accounts ever since. Thus far, 23 new and returning members have contributed $4,399 towards our goal of raising $6,200 by May 21st. To make sure we reach this goal on time, 155 renewal letters will be mailed out shortly, and some past donors will be followed up with directly by members of our Board of Directors.
A wide range of sponsorship opportunities, including sponsorships for our Films for a Future, Eat Local Guide, and Eat Local Week programs, will be made available soon. Volunteer Sarah Moore plans to start contacting potential sponsors around mid-May.
After a few years away, Sarah arrived back in the Sarasota area last month and has been contributing a couple of days each week to supporting our current membership drive, organizing our upcoming sponsorship campaign, and drafting a number of grants to support the work of Transition Sarasota.
We are also very excited to announce three brilliant individuals have recently accepted invitations to join our Board of Directors: Ro Mohamed, Wellness Program Manager for the School District of Manatee County, Nikki Logan Curran, Events and Community Outreach Director for Mattison's Restaurants, and Cooper Levey-Baker, Writer and Associate Editor at Sarasota Magazine. If you know them, please reach out and thank them for their commitment to bettering our community!