Ross-on-Wye is a market town of about 10,000 people in the county of Herefordshire, England, which borders the country of Wales. Traditionally, the area has majored on farming as its main economic activity (with orchards and cider making a feature of the area), however farming is in serious decline in the UK and many farmers are struggling or going out of business altogether. There are light industries in the town, but not enough to provide full employment and many people work outside the town, and in many cases outside the county.
Population in Herefordshire is sparse. Distances between population centres are large, with a heavy dependence on private cars to get about. Wages are very low but house prices are very high, largely due to wealthy incomers retiring to the area for a slice of the "rural life" the county offers in abundance. As a result there is a very strong need for affordable housing throughout the county.
Transition Ross is just getting off the ground (as at March 2010) and wants to tackle all the usual transition issues in time. In the short term we are working on encouraging local food through working with the Country Market in the town, and by setting up a way of connecting potential food growers needing land with landowners having unused land available. We are part of the Herefordshire in Transition Alliance (HiTA), and some of us headed up a response to Herefordshire Council's Place Shaping consultation.
We also have a scheme for encouraging people to get growing their own food in their garden, called "Garden Team". Essentially someone invites everyone for tea and cake, and in return they set to and dig, weed, shift rubbish, remove nettles and brambles....and anything else that teams do rather well.