Transition Lab is designed to teach students the basics of growing food, alternative housing, community building, employment and knowledge of self.
Russell Evans and his wife created the program because they wanted to grow food in their yard, but couldn’t find the time. They found a farming intern, Evan Lavin, who cultivated their front yard in exchange for housing.
For more information, check out the web site at transition-lab.com or call (970)433-2513.
“Our society is set up with negative feedback loops – you’ve got to pay the mortgage,” said Evans. It is these negative feedback loops that keep people from being involved in their communities.
Lavin spent 15 hours a week working in the garden and was able to get a job in the community to earn money with his extra time. The arrangement provided food for the household, allowed Lavin to pay down his student loans and saved the Evanses $1000 a month in landscaping.
“We can create an entirely new economy and way of living on the planet through transition lab,” said Evans.
Transition Lab offers an alternative and supplement to the regular college education
“The promise of [college] is not what it used to be,” said Evans.
By teaching program participants how to grow food and how to take those skills and trade them for housing, Transition Lab gives students the opportunity to create a way of living that is more fulfilling and more engaging.
“This is a way to facilitate other things in your life,” said Evans.
Transition Lab uses a different model of education that teaches how to build a fun, just, and equitable future.
Students will learn self-reliance and entrepreneurship
Transition Lab’s decentralized approach is characterized by partnerships with local farmers who trade knowledge for intern labor and classes held in a local coffee shop in exchange for the cost of coffee and scones, which keeps costs low.
“In the existing system, there are all of these limitations,” said Evans, that increase the price of education including infrastructure, retirement benefits and health insurance.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, less than one percent of the population claims farming as its primary occupation and about 40 percent of farmers are over 55 years old. If the family farm is to survive, younger people will need to become farmers.
“The biggest inhibition for young farmers is availability and affordability of land,” said Evans.