Transition Wolfville Area’s Poetry Project

LocaVisions and Alter-narratives to Seed our Near Good Future
Submitted by Transition Wolfville Area

It’s been a year of emergency measures, lockdowns, and increased general anxiety. We have all had some time to reflect on the state of human affairs on our precious planet. Transition Wolfville Area is excited to embrace the promise of spring renewal. We are promoting a people-powered and physical “Local Visioning” project in poetic form this April. April is national poetry month with Earth Day at its core on the 21st. In Wolfville, this will be celebrated as Earth Week.

This project invites us all to dream the seeds of ideas into being. People of all ages and abilities are invited to participate. Parents and teachers, encourage your children to create and share “alter-narratives” for our near good future as well. We encourage questions and the starts of stories that can lead us into a more wholesome, respectful, and reciprocal future: a future where humans celebrate caring for the lands and waters, all creatures and each other.

The project was inspired by Rob Hopkins (the founder of the Transition Towns initiative and movement). His latest book, From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want, is organized around 10 questions that would bring us to what he calls a “near good future.”

  1. What if Things Turned Out OK?
  2. What if We Took Play Seriously?
  3. What if We Considered the Imagination Vital to Our Health?
  4. What if We Followed Nature’s Lead?
  5. What if We Fought Back to Reclaim Our Attention?
  6. What if School Nurtured Young Imagination?
  7. What if We Became Better Storytellers?
  8. What if We Started Asking Better Questions?
  9. What if Our Leaders Prioritized the Cultivation of Imagination?
  10. What if This All Came to Pass?

An easily accessible inspiration that can serve as a springboard to get your ideas flowing is Doretta Groenendyk’s picture book, What if: From Anxiety to Wonder (available at various local stores, including Harvest Gallery). After the past year, everyone can identify with the characters’ anxieties and can no doubt add a list of their own. To make the shift from fear and doom to love and promise, we first need to get back in touch with our playful and imaginative selves. To get you in the mood, you can read or listen to our project launch poem here:

To play “Seeding our Near Good Future,” we invite you to cast aside the worn stories of fame, celebrity, pulling up bootstraps, and achieving vast material wealth. We’ve seen where those stories go. Cast aside the notion that you are not a poet or an artist—we can all dream and create—we want your what if “locavisions” in whatever form they come to you. Don’t fret about “reality” or being “realistic” —that will hold your imagination back! Think instead of fun, art, craft, creation, and dance. Consider health, joy, play, mutual aid, sharing, song, and organic regeneration. What kind of Wolfville Area world would you like to live in? Dream it up starting off with the motivating focus question “What if…?”

First, IDEAS: Pose a question and then…another…to make a poetic list, or follow up with an exploration of how things could be if your “what if” came to be, or turn it into a song, a verse, a picture, or some combination. Be serious or silly! Every What if is a seed that could be planted and could grow into something or some way of being. In the months and years ahead, the ones we collectively choose to tend will flourish.

Second, MATERIALS: Once you have your words and picture ideas ready, copy them onto some form of weather resistant material because most of them will be displayed outdoors throughout the month of April: try fabric or the insides of milk cartons, pizza boxes, or coffee bags, wooden shingles, fallen bark, or other slim pieces of wood. Cut them into shapes if you like. Use pens, permanent markers or paint.

We’ll be displaying them on the posts or on strings strung between posts and/or trees at Clock Park (there will also be a special display board there), Robie Tufts Chimney Swift Shelter, the Community Oven, the EOS arbour, and a few other locations.

In Kentville, VCLA and Open Arms are also participating. If locations in your town or village would like to join in, let us know. We’re launching this project at Clock Park at 4pm on Thursday April 1. We’ll also have a number of live community creation and sharing events throughout the month, including one at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market on Saturday April 17. Then we’ll celebrate the abundance of “seeds” (your poems, stories, pictures, etc.) created on May 1 with “A BUN Dance” at the community oven. Ideas for activities and music are welcome, as are recipes and bakers for the buns! With your help through May, June, and the summer we’ll study the seeds, then plan and plant for our near good future.

For more information, visit