Thursday, 2 December 2010

Training for Transition comes to Suffolk

Last call for the few remaining places on the official Training for Transition course running in Ipswich from 9.30 to 5.30 on 4th and 5th December. Thanks to support from Suffolk Climate Change Partnership we’ve been able to keep the course fee down to £30.

The venue is the Reg Driver Centre, in Christchurch Park. We feel its environmentally efficient design makes it a perfect venue for such an event! Here’s a link to Google Maps: http://bit.ly/cOniuv - just zoom out of street level and click “map” to plan your route.

The course will be along the lines described here, though adjusted to meet participants’ needs and updated to cover the new Transition ingredients, or pattern language.

The trainers are Naresh Giangrande, a founder member of Transition Totnes and the Transition Network, and Marina O’Connell who runs the Apricot Centre just over the border in Essex. Naresh’s details can be found here. As Marina’s recently qualified as a Transition Trainer her name’s not on the Transition website yet, but she’s also a highly experienced trainer and lecturer in permaculture, horticulture and sustainability.

To register email steve_marsdenbtopenworldcom or call/txt 07889 751578.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Norwich - Zero Carbon Concert - 27 November

Climate campaigners have organised a zero carbon world concert on the eve of the next UN climate summit to demonstrate that a zero carbon world is both achievable and fun. The concert will consist of a number of events all over the world – in England, Wales, Holland, Italy, Poland, Sierra Leone, China, Australia and the USA.

The summit begins on 29 November and there will be an event in Norwich on 27 November featuring Vic Salter, Pedalo, Ruth Gordon and Jimmy and the Magic Shoe in the St Thomas Church Hall, Earlham Rd. It will be acoustic so that it causes no carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, people will be encouraged to travel to the event without emitting carbon. They are asked to walk, cycle, or use public transport instead of driving – unless they have an electric car powered by green electricity, or a diesel vehicle using waste vegetable oil. Also, the venue will be unheated - we've asked them to turn off the gas central heating - so dress accordingly!

N.B. Norwich Critical Mass Bike Ride is on Friday 26th, NOT Saturday 27th as stated in error on some Zero Carbon Concert posters. Concert organisers apologise for this error.

Tickets are £2 in advance (from Chris Keene, 01603 614535, 07801 250982 chris.keene@tiscali.co.uk) or £3 on the door. You can have a look at the website for the zero carbon world concert for a zero carbon world at http://www.zerocarbonconcert.org/

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Green Drinks, Tuesday 16th November at the Green Dragon, Bungay from 7:30pm

This month's theme is energy and communities

After the great success of last month's economics and livelihoods themed Green Drinks evening (you can read about it here) we've invited not one but two excellent guest conversationalists to bring their expertise and insights to our second evening. Simon Weeks is a member of Cookpole Energy Action, a community group that plans to set up its own wind power scheme - the only one in this part of the country. John Taylor is the Community Advisor for the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership where he advises communities on energy saving and generation schemes. John and Simon will speak for a few minutes each before we open the floor to questions and then devolve into the more relaxed conversational style that makes Green Drinks evenings so enjoyable.

We'd love you to join us too and bring your thoughts and questions about energy (generation, saving and efficiency) and how communities like ours can take more control and reap more of the benefits.

The timing of this evening couldn't be better.

Not only is there a surge of interest and confusion around feed in tariffs (whereby small generators are paid a fee for the energy they produce), but the Government is about to introduce a new energy bill (The Energy Security and Green Economy Bill). Once law this will provide a new financing framework to enable the provision of energy efficiency measures to all households funded by a charge on energy bills (rather than up-front payments). It could make it much easier for people to invest in a range of energy saving measures - from better windows and draft exclusion to loft and cavity wall insulation - but does it really go far enough?

Last week Sustainable Bungay, as part of the Big Climate Connection, sent a team to lobby Peter Aldous (MP) and raised some of the issues that will undoubtedly come up on the 16th. Peter's response was very positive (you can read more here), but the pressure needs to be kept up because grassroots initiatives and low-carbon communities in general need greater backing from government and ideally the creation of an infrastructure with secured resources to implement projects - without these neither top-down government, nor bottom-up initiatives will get very far.

One of the guiding principles of Green Drinks is that the evenings should go where they want... But I imagine we might find ourselves talking about: insulation schemes for Bungay; community owned energy generation using wind, solar or bio-mass; energy reduction ideas; the sustainability of schemes like the feed-in tariff; the drivers for changes in energy use and generation; the implications of a less energy secure future...

This month our guests will be:

Simon Weeks of Cookpole Energy Action

Cookpole Energy Action (CEA) is a not-for-profit organisation formed in July 2009 by residents of the parishes of Cookley and Walpole in north east Suffolk. While recognising that individual households and businesses can do a lot to reduce their carbon footprints and that many have already begun, CEA believes that action at the level of the community is important - in their case that is a community of around 150 households. At the moment CEA is developing a community wind power scheme.

They intend to install two medium sized wind turbines in the parish and all the electricity generated will be fed into the grid. The community will receive an income for this electricity according to the ‘feed-in’ tariff, which came into force in April 2010. The income will be spent on carbon reduction projects in the community. The whole scheme will be managed by a charitable Trust, or similar not-for-profit organisation.

Simon will talk to us about the progress of the project - what's been easy and the difficulties they've encountered so far.

John Taylor, Community Advisor, Suffolk Climate Change Partnership

Suffolk County Council is working with other key organisations as part of the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership to develop a comprehensive action plan to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Partnership wants householders and local businesses to get involved to make their pledges to help reduce their CO2 emissions and to help save energy, it provides free hands on advice to small and medium sized businesses in Suffolk who want to cut their carbon emissions, save money and stay ahead of the competition.

John has an MSc in Sustainable Architecture from the Centre for Alternative Technology and his work focuses on supporting communities and helping them to help themselves. He's given advice and support to many groups - including Cookpole Energy Action and Sustainable Bungay - and has a wealth of knowledge about energy generation (especially small scale renewables) and energy saving. He's also an active member of Transition Ipswich.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

What the Greens didn't get wrong: DDT


On Thursday 4th November 2010 Channel 4 in the UK broadcast 'What the Green Movement Got Wrong' and specifically charged environmentalists with responsibility for prolonging Malaria for decades as a result of bans following apparently wrong-headed environmental campaigns against DDT.[1]

DDT is harmful to wildlife when introduced into the environment, but also is a useful tool for combating Malaria.[2]

Apparently the programme was even re-edited just before broadcast to scale back the accusations, which originally expressly laid the blame for 10s of millions of deaths directly at the door of Silent Spring author Rachel Carson and green campaign groups – parroting claims made by libertarian ideology groups in the US[3]. It's stunning rhetoric and a powerful warning as to the perils of communities, scientists and interest groups getting involved in decisions best left to big business and profit-makers. It's also fabricated nonsense from start to finish.

There was no such worldwide ban on DDT, the chemical has seen continued and widespread use in agriculture and disease control in developing countries throughout. Instead there were partial agricultural restrictions in the US. Sometimes us foreigners like to jest that yanks have trouble differentiating between America and the entire rest of the world; well, tee-hee-hee. The UK and a handful of developed European nations also joined with limited agricultural restrictions of their own. That was the sum of global statutory restrictions until 168 international governments ratified the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants, which came into force not decades ago, but in 2004; Annex B of which green-lights the continued use of DDT for disease control[4].

In reality, through decades of hard campaigning, what the green movemnet achieved was to highlight devastating environmental damage that spurred policy makers and scientists from a broad representation of fields to deliver sensible legislation that protects our environment and promotes best practice for disease control. Instead of what the bent propaganda from the poisonous, divisive and largely US politicking would have you believe, a generation of environmental campaigners have plenty to be proud of. Channel 4 should set the record straight.

Jay Pettitt, jaypettitt@googlemail.com, Transition Town Wivenhoe

Contact Channel 4
Contact Of-com

References
1. www.channel4.com/programmes/what-the-green-movement-got-wrong 6/11/10

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT6/11/10

3.www.google.com/search?q=ddt+millions+death 6/11/10

4. chm.pops.int/default.aspx 6/11/10

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Halesworth - The Age of Stupid film showing - 12 November


Halesworth in Transition are showing the film The Age of Stupid at St Mary's Church Hall at Steeple End by the C of E church in Halesworth. We will provide refreshments while a discussion with John Taylor from Suffolk Climate Change Partnership on what we can achieve by working together.

This is an opportunity to set up sub-groups that can lead towards a more resilient and positive future in areas that can reduce our fuel bills; improve our skills to recycle materials; grow or buy locally grown food and generally discuss what other projects people would like be part of.

Start time: 7pm. Donations at door. Further info: Linda Owen (HinT) 01986 875323

Monday, 18 October 2010

Social Entrepreneurship and Transition

The Suffolk School for Social Entrepreneurship is now open for business: http://www.sse.org.uk/school.php?schoolid=12
Could this be a resource we could use to accelerate Transition in our region?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bungay - Green Drinks and Economics

We are re-launching our Green Drinks evenings, giving each one a theme and inviting a speaker – or perhaps more accurately an expert conversationalist – who can answer our questions about a specific subject, or steer our discussions along fruitful paths.

October theme: Economics and Livelihoods

It will have escaped no ones notice that the 20th is the day of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review when they will announce what will be cut, when and how hard. At the same time, and as part of this process, there is an expectation that communities and voluntary groups (like ours) will join something called the Big Society and take greater responsibility for the provision of services in their areas – from social care and libraries to cleaning the streets.

Pile that on top of a growing energy crisis, an increasingly depleted resource base, climate change, huge global inequality of opportunity and consumption (and destructive over consumption in countries like our own) and it looks more than a little bleak. Especially as the only answer economists and politicians can offer is to accelerate the consumption driven growth that got us into this mess in the first place.

But there are also big opportunities for positive change: a new economic paradigm is required and we really can start to create it here in Bungay – it’s just hard to know exactly where or how to start!

Fortunately our guest on Tuesday will be Dr. Gary Alexander and, though would be fair to say that he doesn’t have all the answers, he will bring some examples from history of where human-scale economics based on trust and collaboration have worked as well as some interesting and perhaps provocative ideas of his own.

Dr. Alexander believes sustainability and a set of values that promote sustainable livelihoods and social relations must be the key. His introduction is bound to stimulate conversations about the Big Society, Suffolk County Council’s plans, opportunities to establish exciting new social and co-operative enterprises in Bungay, alternative currencies and much much more…

So when better than the 19th to have a beer and talk about the future of the economy, Bungay and what we’re going to do about it all?

Green Drinks at the Green Dragon start at 7:30pm end at some point later in the evening…

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bungay, Halesworth and Beccles - Apple Days - 16 and 23 October

Several Transition Suffolk initiatives are hosting Apple Days this year in celebration of our great native fruit and all things juicy and sweet - from local community orchards to the best apple recipes. Sustainable Beccles and Halesworth are both holding stalls in their respective town centres on 16 October and Beccles hosting an apple talk and community lunch on 23 October (see poster).

Sustainable Bungay meanwhile hosted a stall at this years' Bungay Apple Day on 2 October in collaboration with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Our main aim was to promote the Abundance of Fruit project and sign up people with surplus fruit, neglected trees who were keen to help gather, process and redistribute fruit much along the lines of the inspiring Abundance project in Sheffield and similar to the work Transition Beccles and Halesworth are doing.

We pressed apples and gave away juice, tried some of the 50 varieties of apples that Jim Cooper of Clarkes Lane Orchard grows and ate Elinor's delicious apple cake (Josiah Meldrum).






Scratting (breaking the apples up before pressing them)



Some of Jim's apples

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Norwich - Cycle Dynamo Workshop - 25 September

Build your own bike-powered generator - a kit made up of a Turbo Trainer, 250 watt generator, 12 volt battery and bits to join them together safely.

WHEN? Saturday 25th September 2010, 1-5 p.m.
WHERE? Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich NR2 1EW
COST? £120 incl. all parts & evening meal.

The non-profit workshop is led by Tom Foxe, electrician/TV engineer, bike lover, and builder of the Human Dynamo sound system. It's limited to 12 people, so early booking is advised.

What skills/knowledge do I need ?
If you can use a screwdriver you can do it ! The kit can be built by a child of, say 8+. We will NOT be going deeply into theory of electricity/ mechanics, we will focus on A. Safety B. Building the generator C. Applications

After the workshop there will be a Pedalpower Party including Live performances using a pedal-powered sound system and lighting and a short film, using a pedal-powered computer and data projector.

To book or for more information contact: Tom 01603 920801 or tom7railway@yahoo.co.uk.

Above: Tom Foxe on bike genny in action, Greenpeace Gig 2010. Left: Carol (Transition Downham Market/The John Preston Tribute Band) generating the power at last year's TN First Anniversary

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Suburban permaculture - Mike Guerra in Luton

A forthcoming permaculture afternoon in Luton. Details below, or on the Transition Luton website.



Suburban Permaculture: An Afternoon with Mike Guerra

Inspired by permaculture and forest gardening, Mike and his family grow up to 250 kg of food a year in their small suburban garden. This remarkably productive garden has inspired countless others in turn, and been documented in articles, on television, and in Mike's book 'The Edible Container Garden' - proving that you don't need a smallholding to get started in permaculture.

Saturday 25th September 2010, 1:45 for a 2pm start
High Town Methodist Hall, High Town Road, Luton
(Plenty of parking nearby, or two minutes walk from the station)

£6 - or £5 if you arrive on foot, by bike or public transport.

You can show up on the day, or email jeremy(at)makewealthhistory.org to reserve a seat.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Downham Market and Ipswich: Is Transition about to go Economic? - 14 September

This year's peak Transition event was arguably the economics lecture given at the Transition conference titled Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil. A recording of the talk will be broadcast and discussed on 14 September in Ipswich (see details at end of piece) as it was last month in a gathering organised by Downham Market and Villages in Transition. Members of Transition initiatives in Norfolk met in Stoke Ferry to reflect on what has come to be known as The Stoneleigh Effect. David Perry reflects on its implications:

On Sunday, 25th July some of us met at John & Carol’s straw bale studio to listen to a recorded lecture given by Nicole Foss of Automatic Earth, in which she talks of the impending "perfect storm" as the twin consequences of peak oil and the bursting of the credit bubble, created by the world’s "Ponzi" financial system, crashes and causes a period of brutal deflation. Deflation as part of a planned transition to a low energy economy is much to be desired, but it was the spectre of it’s unplanned and unexpected nature, with it’s numerous random consequences, of dramatic falls in house prices and a return to negative equity, that made it so scary. Perhaps not so surprisingly, some of us struggled to maintain a community focus as we began to reflect on the dire consequences for ourselves and our families. For all it’s wisdom and seeming inevitability it’s perhaps helpful to remind ourselves that this is a radical view that only time can validate.

During our meeting, reference was made to the 2010 Transition Network Conference Guide (12th - 14th June 2010). This includes details of the workshops and an introduction to Transition as a Pattern Language - a work in progress that looks forward to the further development of Transition beyond the 12 Steps. One of the conference workshops was entitled Communicating the Economic Crisis as the Third Driver of Transition and asks the question ..."should Transition now be talking about economics and the bursting of the debt bubble as a third driver? And ...to what extent ought an awareness of economics underpin Transition?"

At the end of the session, Gary Alexander distributed copies of a booklet entitled Sustainable Diss 2030: Food - Environment - Community. Addressed to the citizens of Diss, it’s introduction begins...Concerned about climate change, the credit crunch and other looming problems? Starting with The Good News it envisages what a sustainable Diss might look like in 2030, arguing that... If we don’t envisage and design a future we want, we might be forced into one that we don’t like - that’s the chapter on The Bad News. This refers to the human impact on the earth’s resources - climate change being one impact and peak oil being another, arguing... whatever we do next must put the environment at it’s heart. Not surprisingly, the message to the citizen’s of Diss is ...."the kind of economy we have experienced for the past few decades - wasteful, globalised, driven by economic growth instead of growth in well being needs to be replaced by a community-based economy that is more stable, resilient, self-reliant, less money-based, self-correcting, environmentally-friendly and uses much less oil."

Then on the following Tuesday, some of us met at Rachel’s to watch the film Money as Debt II: Promises Unleashed by Paul Dignon, a fascinating insight into the nature of money and how the banks have been licensed by governments to lend us money they don’t have, and then charge us interest on it! It deals with the massive expansion of credit which appears not to be backed by anything of value and yet unleashes massive purchasing power to consume goods and services that have to be provided from the finite resources of the planet. If anyone still doubts the potential of banking in it’s present form, and the prevailing financial system, to reduce the natural world with it’s vital life-support systems into a wasteland of commodities and synthetic novelty, this film is a must. Again, one is left with the clear conviction that we are saddled with a damaging and unsustainable economic system that urgently needs to be replaced with a more viable and sustainable model that uses money as a means of exchange rather than as a commodity.
A recently published book - Tim Jackson’s Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet (ISBN 978-1-84407-894-3) argues for a new economic model that doesn’t rely on continuing growth to stabilise it....A different kind of economic structure is needed for an ecologically constrained world...Society is faced with a profound dilemma. To resist growth is to risk economic and social collapse. To pursue it relentlessly is to endanger the ecosystems on which we depend for long-term survival. We have to break free from the iron cage of consumerism and develop new community-based ecological enterprises in which the culture of consumerism is dismantled.

Having noted that the UK’s apparent 6 per cent reduction in carbon emissions between 1990 and 2004 is turned into a 11 per cent increase once emissions embedded in trade are taken into account, the author challenges the concept of decoupling - the idea of continuing growth without suffering the carbon consequences, by driving down the carbon intensity of production. A compelling case is made for the impossibility of achieving the IPCC’s target figure for CO2 reductions by 2050 through reductions in carbon intensity. Hence the title of the chapter - The Myth of Decoupling. Others have also acknowledged the impossibility of the UK achieving the rates of decarbonization required.

So what are the implications for Transition?

If the IPCC targets cannot be achieved through reductions in the carbon intensity of production and we accept the size of population as a given, it would seem that contraction in economic activity - Gross Domestic Product (GDP) offers the only prospect of reaching the IPCC targets and saving the planet’s ecosystems. This argues for an understanding of economics becoming an important aspect of Transition culture. Rather than it becoming a third driver, as hinted at in the 2010 Transition Network Conference Guide, perhaps economics will need to become the central concern that underpins all future Transition activities. David Perry


Transition Ipswich: At last month’s excellent Transition Suffolk gathering we touched on the Stoneleigh presentation – the one that had a big impact at the Transition conference. If you’re interested in seeing it, you and yours are welcome to join Transition Ipswich for a repeat performance at 7.30pm on Tuesday 14th September at University Campus Suffolk, Waterfront Building, Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ. We don’t actually have Stoneleigh in person, but we’ll be running the voice recording of her talk along with her slides. Afterwards we’ll discuss her prognosis and what it could mean for us, our families and the broader community, and how we can respond. We’ll finish by 10pm, but discussion will probably continue in the pub. The venue holds 60 so we have plenty of room. Please let me know if you’re coming so I can let the university security guys know how many people to expect. Steve Marsden steve_marsden@btopenworld.com

"Cocky and Little share their thoughts on the financial crisis"; Transition straw bale at Stoke Ferry. Photos by Gary Alexander (Transition Diss)

Cambridge: Wind turbine making course - 3-5 September


During this three day-course, everyone will get a chance to work on all aspects of building a wind turbine, including woodworking, metalworking and electrics. At the end of the course we will erect the turbine and see it in action (if it's windy!). The turbine we will be making is a 12V / 200W Hugh Piggott Axial Fluxturbine and will have a 1.2m blade diameter. The course will be run by Cambridge Greentech and V3Power and will be held at the Cambridge GreenTech workshop, Harvest Way, Cambridge. There are 12 places available. The cost is £150 before 25 June or £180 after that (this is much lower than normal thanks to the support of the Society for Environmental Improvement). Meals are included and we will do our best to put people up if you need somewhere to stay. More info and booking here: http://www.transitioncambridge.org/windturbine.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Community Gardens – Transition King’s Lynn, Wivenhoe and Bungay

This month there are Transition Gardens in production and construction all over East Anglia. Produce is being swapped and shared, not just from garden shares and allotments, but from Transition plots in all sorts of extraordinary places. Here's our round up of some of the East's flourishing community gardens.

Transition King’s Lynn began their Edible Garden in the Walks (public park) in May 2009. They have been running regular workdays, planting and sowing days, picnics and tree pruning workshops ever since.

As part of Love Parks week last August Transition King’s Lynn staged an event that involved planting up lots more plants, including lavender donated by the Borough Council, and more vegetable and herb plants. Visitors to the bed were treated to a share in the harvest of salad leaves and French beans, and children were able to sow seeds of rocket, radish and oriental leaves in biodegradable origami pots to take away and plant at home.

Here's Viv from KL: "Some members of Transition King's Lynn set up a stall in the Walks to give away some of the produce from the bed. The feedback from this was very positive, though some people were suspicious as to why we were giving it away for free, and others simply couldn’t bring themselves to take it for free, so gave donations (gratefully received!). Other surplus produce has been donated to a local homeless charity to be used by the cooks in their day centres."

The produce from the bed is available for anyone to harvest and eat themselves. TKL is always open for more people to get involved -seeding, mulching, weeding, watering, dead-heading, harvesting etc. So do get in touch if you'd like to join in.

Transition Wivenhoe began their Station Garden this Spring and the Food Group has gained Network Rail's approval of the Station Master's House community food garden. Travellers, station staff, passers-by and garden volunteers have enjoyed crops of rocket and lettuce. Courgettes, peas, tomatoes, potatoes and winter squash are on the way. Volunteers have helped regularly at Broomgrove School veg patch, it has been lovely to suppport the children's enthusiasm for growing food.

This Friday they had a Station Garden cookout. Here's Peta of TW's very active Food Group: "The overwhelming verdict of the station house garden marrow curry, cooked up by Kaushali yesterday was "delicious!". This has been a much watched and commented on vegetable over the weeks as walkers, cyclists, commuters, garden helpers and station staff have witnessed the little courgette turn into a fine marrow. Even Wendy the station cat seemed to have an opinion, though perhaps a slightly dim one as she has had to shift her sun bathing spot as the monster plants have slowly taken over her space. Watch out as the winter squash are next to surprise and delight... along with the fantastic sunflowers of course. Over 40 bowls of veggie curry and handmade rolls were dished up to surprised passers by, a few commuters who made the time to stop and some Station Pub regulars, along with food group activists who set up the stall outside the entrance to platform 1.

In Bungay this summer we've been engaged in laying the foundation work of our Library Courtyard Garden (you can follow our Community Garden blog, brick by recycled brick!). Yesterday we shovelled 5 tons of top-soil into the beds ready for planting up our fruit trees (cherry and apple and pear) in our permanent bed and seasonal flowers, vegetables and herbs in our seasonal round bed. We’ve also got a wormery, rainbutts and compost bin, so our “Living Library”, as well as providing an outdoor meeting place and a quiet spot in turbulent times, will serve as a showcase for the ecological principles behind Transition. Designed by a working party formed after our Permaculture course (taught by Graham Burnett of Southend-in-Transition) in January it will be a living demonstration of everything from carbon reduction to water conservation, medicine plants to the restoration of the honeybee. We’re hoping to have a grand opening for everyone who has been so far involved in the project (about 100 people) in September.


Transitioners hard at work in King's Lynn Edible Garden; making banners under a Walks tree; planting the first potato at Wivenhoe's Station Garden; rocket to go; Sustainable Bungay workparty at the Library Courtyard.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

REPORT - Transition Suffolk and the Pattern Language

Last Monday 8 Suffolk Transition initatives and 1 Norfolk (Diss) came together to discuss how to share resources and skills and to feedback ideas from the recent Transition Conference in Devon. Charlotte Du Cann from Sustainable Bungay reports:

I felt the meeting was significant. Many of the initiatives felt “on their own” and having already engaged in awareness-raising were looking for a new direction. Where do we go from here? There was a sense of urgency and a feeling we needed to relate to our communities and each other in a different way. I was struck as we drove through the golden barley fields towards Stowmarket and Linda and Josiah were exchanging childhood stories of fishing in farmer’s ponds (in Peasenhall and Thelnetham) that everyone in the room had the territory of Suffolk in common. We knew each others’ market towns and villages; the roads that connected them, the rivers and oak trees.These connections were to give this meeting a sense of reality and companionship that more civic“workshop” type gatherings do not have.

The meeting was held in a farm outhouse and took a very simple direct form. 22 of us sat in a circle for three hours with a short ten-minute break in the middle for very welcome cheese and beer kindly provided by our hosts, Glenn and Jeannie from Transition Debenham. The talk moved effortlessly from one speaker to the next and we covered a lot of ground.

After giving feedback about the workshops five of us attended (Social Enterpreneurship, Co-ops, Food Mapping, Communities, councils and carbon) and the influential Stoneleigh talk, Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil, we explored the new concept of Pattern Language which is set to replace the former organising structure of the 12 Transition Steps. The 63 Patterns form an interconnecting web of principles and activities that define a Transition initiative. We then discussed ways in which we could weave together our different experiences and projects, our Patterns, in order to provide a strong network and backing for each other.

In between our discussions, which ranged from biodiversity to “the Big Society” (we decided that Transition and Politics, the sixth level of Patterns, would be for another time) , we told stories about our initiatives. Some have become divided between haves and have-nots, some have been slowly gaining acceptance in the community, others that were successful last year with climate change and Copenhagen on the agenda but were now experiencing a lack of interest. Some of us felt overwhelmed when thinking of the future in large terms (“130,000 mouths to feed” as Steve Marsden said from Transition Ipswich), others felt by focusing on the small scale, on immediate and do-able working projects, such as garden shares, this provided a strong base for larger and more ambitious schemes.

Here were some of the projects/patterns that arose as examples during the discussion;

· Community Renewable Energy Companies 5.4 John talked about Transition Ipswich’s communty owned wind turbine which will help fund other local community projects.
· Food Initiatives and CSAs 3.10 and 5.9 Josiah talked about Bungay Community Bees and the Sustainable Bungay Pig Club.
· Arts and Creativity 2.8 and The Great Reskilling 3.11 Linda talked about Transition Halesworth’s Upscaling Bag project.

Dale from Transition Debenham explained how a sewing bag project could then expand into clothes making. Garden shares could expand into CSAs. By doing things together people could think as a community. For me that was the key shift. Transition provides a way to move out of a culture of individualism towards collective action. To open the door for people to work together in a new and meaningful way, to give heart and value to the ordinary things we can achieve.

How to proceed? Where should we go next? The key word of the Conference was urgency. It was clear that times of radical change were coming and that they would be felt in the financial sector first. People in Transition who had become personally resilient and understood the process of social change were in a position to provide coherent structures for communities - projects that offered solutions to the difficulties of an energy-poor future - as well as opportunities for self-government. Stoneleigh urged that Transition had a vital role in showing people there were other ways of doing things. This was the predominant mood of the meeting. In spite of individuals feeling their initiatives were not as up and running as they would like, as a collective, as a crew, we were coherent and committed. The buoyancy and sense of purpose was similar to that of the 2010 Conference in June. This was it. This was the time.

As the meeting came to a close we decided to meet again in September, to keep communications open and to share our resources. We agreed that Suffolk initiatives would begin to collate and “swap” patterns. I suggested the Transition East blog (www.transitioncircleeast.blogspot.com) could be a holding station/sorting house for everyone’s stories and pictures and provide material for a possible Transition Suffolk newsletter. A Transition Network on-line directory for the Patterns is meanwhile underway. (P.S. Running Successful Meetings is Pattern 2.4 and Forming Networks of Transition Initiatives 4.2)

The 2010 Conference Booklet that includes the Pattern Language is available as a pdf from www.transitionnetwork.org. A short precis of the 63 patterns will be posted shortly under Pattern Language (left hand sidebar)

Making patterns: first meeting of Transition Suffolk; barley field; Sustainable Bungay joining forces with the local Cycle Strategy; Transition Halesworth reskilling at the Library; The Bro-Dyfi Community Wind Turbine project that provided the inspiration for Transition Ipswich; wholefood co-op food pattern

Monday, 5 July 2010

Transition Suffolk - Meeting about 2010 Conference - Monday 12 July

There will be a meeting of Transition groups in Suffolk to exchange information and feedback from the 2010 Transition Network conference. David Price (Greener Fram) and Jeannie and Glenn (Transition Debenham) are hosting an evening for anyone who is interested in and around East Suffolk.

There will also be a discussion about local support between Transition groups. This will be an opportunity to see how our groups can work together to spread the load, as well as find out more about the bigger picture of Transition. All welcome.

The evening will be at Jeannie and Glenn's at 7:30.

Hill Farm
Framsden
STOWMARKET
Suffolk
IP14 6HA

For further information please contact David Price Email: davidstephenprice@me.com

Glenn (Transition Debenham) and David (Greener Fram) in conference during the Big Group Process, Day 2.

Norwich: Introduction to Permaculture Gardening Workshop - 10 July

Come and find out what Permaculture Gardening is all about. These informal workshops will cover the 12 Permaculture Design Principles, how to apply these in your own gardens to create edible, biodiverse and beautiful spaces, including using ponds, discovering Mulch (and why mulching matters!), companion planting, herb spirals, keyhole beds and composting. Also a session on Forest Gardening, layering and Perennial crops. and Permaculture gardeners question time!

The introductory workshop will be held at the Grow Your Own shed at Bluebell Allotments (South), from 10-4 on Saturday 10th July. Please bring something to share for lunch, hot drinks provided. £10 donation to cover costs. 10-12 participants. (Brenna Powys/Food & Farming)

To book a place please contact Mahesh Pant at sustainable@talktalk.net tel:01603 455868 www.grow-our-own.co.uk

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ipswich/Beccles: Survival Tales performances

Hey everyone

This is short notice but I've been asked to secure a venue and date for a last appearance in this lady's first East Anglian tour - thankyou to residents of the Spinney for agreeing to host her! Please come to the performance next Thursday in Ipswich - it doesn't clash with anything! It's an intimate, interactive show. Circulate to your friends!

There are other performances on Wednesday night (Norwich) and Thursday afternoon (Ilketshall St Andrew) but for details of those contact
Jo Chitty www.jochitty@yahoo.com

See you there, Gemma x
___________________________________

Survival Tales
a performance and workshop by Eirlys Rhiannon

Thursday 24 June 2010 7.30pm*
The Spinney, 108 Westerfield Road, Ipswich
£5 (no-one turned away for lack of funds)
Places need to be booked in advancesayersgemma@googlemail.com

* please note no admission to the show later than 8pm

What's it all about? See information below or visit http://www.survivaltales.org.uk/

========================================
To survive in this world, we each create stories.

Our stories affect people around us, and in turn we get affected by the stories we hear and see every day.

But there’s a new – and old – challenge looming: to realise that ‘how we live’ is also ‘how we kill’.

This challenge is phenomenally frightening.

To protect ourselves, we create safe stories: ‘the scientists are lying’, ‘the government will sort it out’, ‘this product will help’.

But the challenge remains.

We need to decide how we live – but how do we make decisions? Is this version of democracy the best we can do? Who’s in charge? Can we trust any of our solutions?
Can we learn anything from history? And does anyone have a super-hero cape in my size?

How do we tell the noose and the lifebelt apart?

=========================================

Survival Tales is a series of small, intimate performance events, designed to take place in unusual venues, including living rooms, community gardens and social centres. Each event has two parts:

- a performance featuring personal stories and songs

- a short workshop about how we make our survival stories

Touring selected parts of the UK during Summer 2010. Contact us for booking details:
http://www.survivaltales.org.uk/

Produced in association with Natasha Machin and Trapese Popular Education Collective, with assistance from Artist Project Earth
http://www.trapese.org/ http://www.apeuk.org/

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Beccles: Community Apple Share Project 2010

Early Summer is now upon us and the glorious apple blossom has all but gone. That sea of pink will miraculously develop into delicious juicy fruit and it will all happen quicker than we think, so now’s the time to plan.

Last year, as part of the Sustainable Beccles group strategy, a group of folk began a scheme to marry unwanted apples with those who were keen to get their hands on some of these versatile fruit, and they plan to run the scheme again this year. If you live in the Beccles and Bungay area and have fruit you cannot pick, a group of people can help you by arrangement with the organizers. In addition we want to encourage planting local variety apple trees and also to run an apple flavoured lunch and talk on all aspects of growing fruit trees and getting to know apples in July.

If you are interested in the scheme from any aspect please get in touch. You may have more fruit than you can use, or maybe you have difficulty picking it; you may want to offer your services to help pick fruit for others or you may want some fruit for your pies and chutneys – whatever your interest, register it now, without commitment. Let’s celebrate this very English fruit and enjoy the abundance that grows locally – we’ll save more than the money.

Contact: netta.swallow@btinternet.com or ring 01502 470135 to register an interest in picking, giving or receiving fruit.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Bungay Community Bees - Reappearance of the Bees

This May it's been a busy month in Transition. Plant swaps, carbon conversations, Strangers' circles, blogs, bulletins. And yesterday afternoon, bees.

I've recently joined the Bungay Community Bees project (Britain's first bee CSA) and twenty five of us converged at Gemma's in Flixton to help build frames for the new beehives in time for the arrival of the first queen bees in June.

There really was a buzz as Elinor and Gemma reported on the progress so far. As well as getting our three hives (one of them donated), two more people are already being trained up as beekeepers and there are more and more offers of land where the bees can be kept...and of course, there's the bee blog. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Eloise are going to map out all the local wild and garden bee-loving plants and trees throughout the coming year.

Then we all got down to some serious woodwork. Luckily enough we had an experienced carpenter present - I haven't done any woodwork since school - a very long time ago - and I was not good at it!

People feel very strongly about bees. And particularly now with the loss of so many colonies here and abroad. Our neighbour Julia, who we bought the first hive from, lost hers in London. Waveney Valley beekeepers are reporting losses of about a third. And even the most experienced beekeepers say there seems to be no single, simple explanation. Keeping bees and providing organic, pesticide-free land with plants that bees love (like White Clover, pictured - pink when young and later turning white) has to be one way forward. See Sustainable Bungay's website for excellent bee links and information.

Yesterday I brought along Anise Hyssop and Mexican Hyssop for Gemma and Elinor. These are two of my favourite bee plants. I talk and fuss about them so much that Charlotte can't bear it any longer so don't tell her I'm writing about them on the blog! Anise Hyssop is also called Licorice Mint and the whole plant has an amazing smell of anis or licorice as its names suggest. The leaves make great tea. Mexican Hyssop has a more minty smell and is an ingredient in herbal medicine for the heart in Mexico. They are closely related and cross-pollinate so it's best to grow them far apart - especially as bees love them both madly and visit them with great gusto when they flower - which is over a long period in the summer. The seedheads are attractive, long-lasting and smell amazing. Enough! Enough of this encomium!

But the plant of the month must be Lemon Balm, which Andy talked about in his Deadly Resistances post. Also in the Mint family, its Latin name Melissa means honey bee. Both the smell and the tea of Lemon Balm really revive flagging spirits and cheer the heart. And bees really do love it. (Mark Watson)

Pics: Bungay Community Bees people get to grips with hives, frames and foundations, and young white clover in a bee friendly field; Anise Hyssop or Licorice Mint on either side of Mexican Evening Primrose, July

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Seedling Swaps in May - Bungay, Norwich and Wivenhoe

Seedling Swaps are the happening event this Spring! This Saturday (May 15) there will be tables overflowing with small salad and vegetables plants all over Transition East Anglia. Transition Wivenhoe will be flourishing at the local Farmer's Market and Transition Norwich (see poster) on show at the Norwich Playhouse bar terrace.

Writes TN's allotment holder, Jane Chittenden: "Growing more of our own food is a great way to start designing a better future. Very environmentally friendly, doesn't require fossil fuel and kind to our pockets too! So we're having a plant swap, where we’ll have seedling plants (tomatoes and other veggies plus herbs and flowers too) and we invite people to bring along their own plants to swap. If you haven't got anything to swap for our plants, a donation would be much appreciated. Do come along with your plants - organic for preference, labelled and with advice on growing tips if possible!"

Sustainable Bungay’s lively Give and Grow seedling and plant swap was held in Bungay library courtyard on May 2. SB's Mark Watson reports: "The place was transformed inside and out with a constant lively buzz as people gathered, swapped plants and talked about everything from beekeeping to heritage bean varieties - in spite of the rain and the cold. We'd all been patiently (very patiently this year) growing our seeds for allotment and garden in homemade newspaper pots, toilet rolls and even ordinary pots. The tables were laden with vibrant healthy lettuces, currants of all colours, tree saplings, cosmos, mints, aloe vera, grasses, lemon balm, foxgloves, snowdrop bulbs, wild flower seeds, seed potatoes, cucumbers, the list goes on. And you had to be pretty quick as plants swapped hands even before they got on the tables. Especially the sturdy tomatoes which several people said they'd been having difficulty growing so far."

Time to get our hands in the earth!

Seedling Swaps on Saturday 15 May: Transition Norwich Playhouse Bar terrace, St George's St. 11am - 3pm. For more info contact info@transitionnorwich.org.

Transition Wivenhoe @ Farmers' Market, 9am-12noon @ Congregational Hall. 9am-3pm. Contact Julia (826015). Bring your excess veg & herb plants to swap/donate, or take some away for a small donation!

Taking home: rocket, lettuce, chives, pot marigold, lemon balm, lovely black grass and a rowan sapling

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Kings' Lynn - Talk on Waste Management - Friday 14 May

A last minute cancellation in his speaker dates has meant that Prof Paul Connett, one of the world’s leading experts in waste management, is coming to Kings Lynn tomorrow (Friday 14th May) to give a talk regarding the incinerator which is planned for Kings Lynn, and Zero Waste which is a viable, sustainable alternative.

Dr. Paul Connett is a graduate of Cambridge University and holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Dartmouth College. Since 1983 he taught chemistry at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY where he specialised in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology. He retired in May 2006. Over the past 25 years his research on waste management has taken him to 49 states in the US, and 52 other countries, where he has given over 2000 pro bono public presentations. Ralph Nader said of Paul Connett, “He is the only person I know who can make waste interesting.”

The talk is free and open to everyone, it is hoped that some of those councillors who are proposing and supporting the incinerator will make themselves available to attend the talk. It will be at the NORA offices 6:30pm for a 7pm start, till 9pm Friday 14th May. The NORA offices are on the South Gate roundabout. There is a small car park on site. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear an independent expert’s view of the incinerator.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Bungay Community Bees - New Spring Project


Recently bees have been disappearing in their millions, affecting not only the production of native honey in every country, but most importantly, the bees' great task of pollinating the trees, fruit, vegetables and herbs that make up two-thirds of what we eat every day. In Bungay a new group has formed within Transition initiative, Sustainable Bungay, to help the threatened honey bee.

Bungay Community Bees is a Beekeeping Project which aims to manage hives in as sustainable a manner as possible. It will run as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme where members own ‘shares’ in the bees, hives and harvest, taking part in the beekeeping year. This allows members to support honey bees without being ‘hands on’ - though the group plan is to fund training and hives for up to two new beekeepers each year.

“We are not a commercial venture and honey production is viewed as a bonus rather than a prime motive for bee keeping. We aim to use two or three systems over the next few years until we find one that suits us and the bees best.”

In the first year Bungay Community Bees hopes to recruit at least 20 supporters to invest in two hives (National type) and colonies, insurance for two beekeepers, basic equipment and training for two new beekeepers with the Waveney Beekeepers Group. Benefits will include visits to the hives to learn more about beekeeping, an opportunity to have a hive in your garden and most exciting of all, attending a honey harvest. The share of honey and wax will increase as the hives grow in strength and number.

Bungay Community Bees is being organised by Elinor McDowall and Gemma Parker. Both Transition beekeepers learned their art with the Waveney Valley Beekeepers and already have two hives and fifteen members signed up for the project.

“We’re hoping to acquire our first bees via the Waveney Beekeepers Group” said Elinor. “These are likely to be a mongrel mix of Italian origin and native British bees. However, in future years we would like to try some more native bees which are smaller and darker and because they are well- adapted to this climate, may be more resilient in times of change.”

In Waveney, there has been a huge increase in beekeeping interest. Last November the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees was shown to a packed audience at Geldeston Village Hall and a great cheer went up in the audience as Suffolk Beekeepers were seen marching to Parliament with their petition to help save the endangered bee.

In response gardeners everywhere are starting to growing flowers for the bees in their gardens and windowsills and local and sustainably-harvested honey has become highly-sought after. But perhaps the most effective way everyone can help starts at the table.

Colonies are made vulnerable to disease (especially the varroa mite), by the widespread use of pesticides and lack of bio-diversity in single-crop farming, as well as the the stressful nature of commercial beekeeping.

By eating fruit and vegetables grown without chemicals on organic farms or in local allotments and gardens which support a strong diversity of wild and domestic plants we will be giving pollen and nectar to one of our greatest allies on earth.

If you want to start a bee-friendly garden this summer, why not come along to Sustainable Bungay’s Give and Grow Seedling Swap on Sunday May 2 at the Bungay Library Courtyard and meet the Bungay Community Beekeepers?

If you would like to join Bungay Community Bees contact info @sustainablebungay.com. Membership is £20 per annum. The Give and Grow Seedling Swap is on May 2, Bungay Library Courtyard, 11am-2pm. For more information about the project and how CSAs work contact www.sustainablebungay.com.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Turning The Tide - performances - 6 and 11 April

Climate change had a high profile this winter thanks to the Copenhagen summit and many of the carbon reduction campaigns, such as 10:10. And though the world’s governments came to few real agreements and the media has focussed on climate scepticism it’s clear, perhaps more than ever, that individuals and communities have a decisive role to play in keeping the carbon levels in the atmosphere down.

To keep the conversation about climate change going and avoid “burn out” is the intent behind the play, Turning the Tide. It’s set in a small rural community where very different characters comes to terms with changing their lives to reduce carbon emissions, from the perils of wheelie bins to arguments about wind farms. Afterwards the cast invite the audience to discuss the issues explored in the play. It’s a lively informal way for people to explore modern dilemmas that are often thought about but not always expressed or acted on. “Drama can be an effective and fun communication tool,” said Open Space Theatre Company director, Yves Green, speaking after the cast’s first performance at Wenhaston Village Hall. “Ordinary people can often be excluded.”

The play has been hosted by different Transition initiatives throughout Suffolk and is showing at Framlingham on 6 April and in the Woodbridge Library at 2pm on 11 April. It ends its month-long Suffolk tour in Bungay and if you’d like to take part as well as find out about any aspect of carbon reduction, from using one of the Library monitors to joining in with the town carbon audit, do come along.

Turning the Tide – A Carbon Fantasy in One Act by Peppy Barlow is at the Bungay Library on April 11 at 6.30pm. If you would like to reserve a place, please ring 07976 941 613 or contact .

Monday, 22 March 2010

Greener Fram: Future Visions - A World Beyond Oil

This Saturday March 27 Greener Fram will be holding an event centered around the key Transition topic, peak oil. This event will provide an exploration of what oil depletion could mean for Framlingham and the surrounding area, and how we can respond to these changes to create a brighter future.

- For every barrel of oil we discover we now consume three
- Oil production is already falling in sixty counties
- At some point global oil production will start to fall - FOR EVER

How can our communities adapt to changes that will come about through energy depletion and climate change?
How can we secure our future food supplies when at present every calorie of food takes 10 calories of oil to produce?
A report produced recently by UK industry, with a foreword by Richard Branson, warned about The Oil Crunch - a wake up call for the UK economy.

The Speakers will include:

Simon Weeks, Cookpole Energy Action; a community wind-power project near Halesworth
http://www.energyaction.org.uk/

David Strahan is an award-winning investigative journalist and documentary film-maker who specializes business and energy. He is a trustee of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, fellow of the RSA, and an honorary researcher at the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre.
http://www.davidstrahan.com/

William Kendall, Maple Farm, Kelsale; “One hundred years ago Maple Farm, along with its neighbours, would have been producing all of the fresh food that the local town and villages needed. We hope that this can be the case again.”
http://www.maplefarmkelsale.co.uk/

Tim Waygood was born and raised on Church Farm. All his family farmed when he grew up, now he's the only one. It has been a lifetime of interests and passions that have led him to start up the family farm again and to found the Agrarian Renaissance.
http://www.peopleand/

We will also have a range of stands, and local food and drink for refreshments, plus an informal opportunity for everyone to feed in their ideas and ask questions about this very important topic. Tickets: £4, £3 concs. Time: 1-6pm. Venue: Thomas Mills High School, Saxtead Road, Framlingham.
For more information contact http://www.greenerfram.org.uk/.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Norwich: Food,Inc.

This must-see film tells an unwholesome story of big American agri-business, where working conditions, animal welfare, the livelihoods of farmers and consumers’ health are all held hostage by the drive for ever bigger profits.

The film highlights how a mere handful of companies control most of the food production business. One such company, Monsanto, has teams of detectives out scouring the countryside for farmers daring to save seed from one year to the next – or those that could be said to encourage such practice through their offer of services, like seed cleaning.

The film illustrates how ‘corn’ (maize to us) is turned into beef in the notorious feeding lot (with not a blade of grass in sight) – how corn indeed forms the basis for so many products in what seems on the surface to be an almost infinite choice in the modern American supermarket; how chickens (with echoes here of recent TV programmes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & Jamie Oliver) are crammed in their thousands into spaces where they can barely move around – and if they could, they’re so weighed down by grossly fattened bodies that their legs can’t carry them more than a few paces.

Don’t miss this film! Catch it at Cinema City on Monday, 29th March, 8.30 pm. Peter Melchett – Policy Director of the Soil Association and North Norfolk organic farmer – will be present at the end of the film for a Question & Answer session. The Soil Association is the official charity partner of the film.

Suggested links: http://www.foodincmovie.com/; and ‘Why Food, Inc. should make us all retch’ by Charles Clover in The Sunday Times: www.timesonline.co.uk/news.

(Sarah Gann/Transition Norwich Food Group)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

REPORT: Transition Talk Training (Colchester)

Twenty of us met at the Old Library in Colchester Town Hall for a useful day of learning how best to spread the T word. In essence it's the art of instilling in your audience the gravity of the dilemmas we all face without scaring them rigid; guiding people beyond that 'Peak Oil Moment' and giving them something solid to hold onto once Pandora's box has been opened - conjuring a good ship Transition to climb aboard and not leaving just a soggy plank to cling onto.

There was plenty of inspiration and energy in the room as folks from Bedford, Broxbourne, Colchester, Debenham, Norwich, Waldon, Wivenhoe and Woodbridge (plus Kevin all the way from Cornwall!) shared ideas and strategies. It was clear that it's not just a presentation of facts that wins peoples hearts and minds (although getting those facts right is crucial), it's the passion and conviction of a messenger speaking from their personal experience. The most infectious way of spreading the word and getting people involved is by displaying the momentum of Transition schemes in action and examples of success.

(Andy Croft/Transition Norwich http://www.transitionnorwich.org/ ).

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Turning the Tide (A carbon fantasy in one act) By Peppy Barlow


Showing at Halesworth Library on 21 March 2010 starting at 11 0’clock.

Showing at other local venues: Framlingham at St Michaels Rooms at 7:30pm on 6th April and Woodbridge Library at 2:00pm and Bungay Library at 6:30pm on 11th April.

The idea behind the project is to use drama as a novel means of communication in trying to encourage action over carbon reduction. Many people seem to feel “burnt out” following the first wave of enthusiasm as a result of doom and gloom climate change stories in the media and the play is designed to re-stimulate interest through entertainment.

The play sets out to hold a mirror up to what is happening in our society, without being preachy.
Halesworth in Transition (HinT) are preparing to form an Energy Group to explore ways of reducing our energy output.

Created with sponsorship from the East of England Development Agency. Tour funded by the Green Suffolk Fund, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Sustainability Fund & The Adnams Charity.

The play is aimed towards children 8 upwards and their families, if you are interested please just come along.

Linda Owen

Halesworth in Transition (HinT)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Permaculture Weekend with Sustainable Bungay


Since forming in November 2007, Transition initiative Sustainable Bungay have hosted several successful community events, including a local food conference, a give and take day, two carfree days and an energy day. In 2010 the group plans to transform Bungay library courtyard into an inviting and sustainable green space and ‘living library’ with raised beds, compost bins, wormery and rainwater harvesting.

Graham Burnett teaching

With this in mind we asked permaculture teacher and author Graham Burnett http://www.spiralseed.co.uk/ from Southend in Transition to run a weekend introduction to permaculture at the library in January. 15 of us from Bungay and other local Transition initiatives immersed ourselves in two full-on days of theory and practical group exercises.

Considering the territory

The basis of the Transition movement (founder Rob Hopkins taught permaculture for many years), this approach is about “designing sustainable human communities by following nature’s patterns”. It works with the shapes of the living world (e.g. branches, waves, the spiral of snail shells, the scattering of dandelion seeds), rather than imposing artificial straight lines and boxes on it. Key before starting our project was how to take time to observe nature’s rhythms and cycles, rather than rushing for a quick fix.

Paul talks about caring for fruit trees in his allotment-type garden

During the course we also learned how this ecological design system offers low carbon and energy saving solutions to food growing, transport, waste, the economy and community spaces.

After the weekend it was my turn to write for the Transition Norwich community blog (18-22 January), and I go into more detail about the weekend there, so do have a look.

Sustainable Bungay meets on the third and fourth Tuesday of every month at The Green Dragon, and the Bungay Library. All welcome.
To get involved with the library courtyard project, email Nick: transitionnick@gmail.com
To contact Sustainable Bungay email Sustainablebungay@gmail.com or call Josiah on 01986 897097

Pics by Josiah Meldrum (top and bottom) and Mark Watson (middle)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Calling Transition Food Groups

The Making Local Food Work programme has taken on regional advisers to support and promote community food co-operatives, out of a belief that they build social cohesion, encourage healthier eating, raise awareness of seasonality, benefit the local economy, keep growing skills alive, bolster local resilience by opting out of the multinational supermarket hegemony...

The adviser for East of England is me - Gemma Sayers - hi! I want to see lots of new food co-ops set up! And to improve the sustainability of those that exist. My role involves finding existing food co-ops and mapping them on the Food Co-ops Finder website: http://www.foodcoops.org/
My definition of 'food co-op' encompasses small wholefood buying groups, veg box/bag schemes, veggie van deliveries, markets - anything where a community comes together in a non-profit way to meet their dietary needs.


Online mapping will hopefully make it easier for people seeking a food co-op to join, as they can stick in their postcode and a map appears with what co-ops exist nearby.

If you're in a food co-op, please go ahead and add your details to the Food Co-ops Finder website. Even if you don't want more members, please consider adding yourselves without contact details, for the map's sake! East Anglia is looking skimpy!

If you're a member of a food co-op i'd love to come see how it's run, how you're set up, so i have a chance to learn from different models, and also i can offer you specialist advice both myself and through the partners on the MLFW programme - Co-ops UK, the Soil Association...
Perhaps you want to expand your customer base, or to learn consensus decision making because those interminable meetings are driving you mad?

If you don't have a food co-op near you but you want to join one or set one up, I would like to help you!
Setting up a food co-op can be a really easy first step for communities to start taking control.


What i can offer for FREE is:

*The Food Co-ops Toolkit: www.sustainweb.org/foodcoopstoolkit/
This is a comprehensive guide to setting up and running a food co-op in all manner of forms. There is a paper version on request.
*Coming to do presentations like 'How to set up a food co-op' to your group
*Access to specialist advice on business plans, governance and legal structures, co-operative principles in practice, marketing, financial sustainability
*Training days, workshops, exchange visits to other food co-ops and mentoring
*Local food newsletters
*Colourful leaflets, posters and banners to promote your food co-op

Please do get in touch.

If you are part of or know organisations in your area dealing with local food or communities and food access, i'd love to have their contact details!

Thanks,
Gemma Sayers
East of England Food Co-ops Adviser

(Transition Ipswich)

gemma@sustainweb.org
07971863586

www.foodcoops.org
www.sustainweb.org
http://www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk/




Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Colchester - Transition Talk Training 9 February

Colchester Borough Council is hosting the 1 day "Transition Talk Training" for those wishing to learn how to give an effective talk on Transition.

When - 9th February 2010, 9am – 5pm
Where – Old Library, Colchester Town Hall, High Street, CO1 1FR
The cost of the course is £50 per person
(including lunch, tea/coffee, cold drinks).

The course is aimed at people in a Transition Initiative* to help them raise awareness and inspire others.

The training will cover;

• Peak Oil
• Climate Change
• The mechanics of Transition
• The inner transition
• Skills for good and effective public talks.

By the end of the training day, you'll be armed with a solid presentation that you can adopt to your own style, a set of facts and figures to underpin your talk, an understanding of some of the deeper aspects of transition, and a new level of confidence to deliver presentations with flair, authority and maybe a bit of humour too.

*A Transition Initiative is a community working together to respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change - http://www.transitiontowns.org/.

The trainers are from the Transition Network, further details can be found on
http://transitiontowns.org/TransitionNetwork/TransitionTraining#TransitionTraining

To book a place please contact Sam Preston on samantha.preston@colchester.gov.uk or 01206 282707 Please note – all deposits must be received by 22nd January 2010.