Swede recognition for Moray
SWEDEN came to Forres as Transition Town Forres welcomed 16 Scandinavian visitors to Moray.
The group, who were visiting Forres from Sweden for a tour of local sustainability initiatives, are all involved in local community development in their home towns.
They included Transition Town members, food coordinators, beekeepers and representatives from Sweden’s Upplandsbygd LEADER rural development programme.
"It’s fabulous to have Moray recognised for its pioneering work in sustainable development," said Carin Schwartz, a director of Transition Town Forres. "It’s certainly encouraging that our community was chosen as an area for these exchanges. Our group and the Swedish group have different strengths, and there is a lot we can learn from each other to benefit our work in our respective communities."
The guests visited Transition Town Forres; Community Food Moray; the Moray Beekeepers’ Association apiary at Birnie; the Findhorn Ecovillage; Cullerne Gardens; Benromach Distillery and the Youth Café in Elgin.
"Moray is an amazing place, and I feel energised by what we are seeing here," said Christer Larsson, board member of Transition Town Sigtuna. "You are certainly ahead of us in many respects."
Members of Transition Town Forres took part in a workshop with the Swedish group on Wednesday morning to discuss the issues facing the transition movement.
"A key strategic challenge for us now is how to involve young people," said Mr Larsson. "This is an issue in Sweden as much as in the UK. Children and teenagers are the ones who will be most affected by climate change when they are in their fifties and sixties. We need to find ways to engage them and communicate with them."
The tour was part of the Moray LEADER Transnational Project, an ongoing programme of knowledge exchange between Moray and Sweden. In May this year, a delegation from Transition Town Forres will visit Sweden to gain first-hand experience of how the Swedish are empowering their local communities.
"Communities throughout the world are concerned about the uncertain global economic climate," said Mairi McCallum, programme coordinator of Moray LEADER. "By sharing our skills and experiences, we are helping each other to find ways to adapt."
Transition Town Forres (www.ttforres.org) was established in 2008 and is a volunteer-led group focused on building a sustainable local community. Moray LEADER Local Action Group (www.morayleader.org.uk) is a rural development programme, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Scottish Government.