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 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:
To contact Sustainable Bungay email 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:
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:
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!

Gemma Sayers
East of England Food Co-ops Adviser

(Transition Ipswich)

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 -

The trainers are from the Transition Network, further details can be found on

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