By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
SMITHFIELD — To appreciate the close friends who founded Revive the Roots Foundation is to understand the concept of the "transition" movement.
On a broad scale, it's an international organization centered on the belief that environmental waste and misuse of natural resources in today's global society will ultimately lead to the downfall of civilization. It seeks to avoid that end through the transition movement: community groups whose members share the belief in a restructuring of society through community-driven solutions to climate change and alternatives to fossils fuels. It aim to gradually replace the petroleum-based, service-driven global economy centered on cities, sprawling suburbs and shopping malls, with communities of farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters and textile makers — all focused on a sustainable use of natural resources.
The Transition Network started in England in 2006 and provides resources for forming local networks whose members can share ideas and methods for sustainable transportation, food, energy and recycling. It promotes practical ways for living, working and building relationships in a new society, one that respects trees, land, water and the atmosphere.
Revive the Roots is one of Rhode Island's first transition groups. It was started by a close group of college-age friends in January. They became inspired about finding solutions to climate change and depletion of natural resource about six years ago while classmates at Smithfield High School. An ecology course in particular posited the dire environmental outlook with simple solutions, motivating the group to start its own farm and alternative approach to traditional living.
"We're trying to inspire our community to join our initiative," Greg Sankey Jr. said. "And inspire people to act in a positive way. We have faith in the initiative and faith in the community — and that keeps us going."
Revive the Roots manages a community garden on about 8 acres of Mowry Gardens on Farnum Pike. The property, about 45 acres, is owned by the Smithfield Land Trust, with a large wooded area that leads to the Stillwater Reservoir.