Thursday 15 December 2011

New Low Carbon Community Fund - deadline 22 Dec

The deadlines are tight, the grants are substantial and the criteria are right in the sweet spot for Transition Initiatives.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has just announced a new £10 million fund which is available to communities in England and Wales that are playing an active role in the development of a low carbon society. LEAF aims to help communities to accelerate their activity on energy and climate change.

Initial applications must be submitted online by 12 noon on 22-Dec-2011.
The follow up applications need to be submitted by 20-Jan-2012.

The grants are available to finance projects that increase understanding and uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and help to make energy supply secure and affordable for everyone in their community. The scheme aims to help communities to equip themselves to work with the private and public sector to deliver real projects through mechanisms such as the Green Deal, Feed in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

This fund is a short-term intervention to be completed by 31-Mar-2012 and is expected that average grant values will be around £50,000.

There is some useful guidance material here

Details of how to apply for LEAF are available here:

Wednesday 14 December 2011

REPORT: Third Transition East Gathering 2011

On Saturday, 26th November 2011, 40 Transitioners from 13 Transition Towns in East Anglia met for our third regional meeting. It was hosted by Transition Stour Valley and held at Old Hall Community, East Bergholt in Suffolk. It was an inspiring day, that included a shared lunch, children's activites, a tour of Old Hall. Just hearing about each others’ experiences - good and bad - was valuable and illuminating.

Here are some of the highlights for me:

Transition v transition A few people reported that their initiatives had become inactive due to conflicts or burnout, but were then replaced by practical projects (ex. a community farm) which weren’t officially associated with the ‘Transition’ movement. The feeling was that these ‘transition’ projects were a natural extension of the movement and something to be proud of, not sorry about. There are lots of ‘transition’ projects around by people who don’t want to be part of an organised movement, but are very much on our wavelength.

Food projects galore!Most groups reported active food projects of various types: CSAs, food hubs, coops, market stalls, food sharing, festivals. Many met to discuss this in an Open Space session. Then in the closing session, we set up a small group that will help these food projects across our region to keep in contact with each other and promote synergy between them.

An East Anglian Transition currency? I was in the Open Space discussion of local currencies. It was difficult to choose the Open Space group I wanted, but I was so gripped that I stayed there throughout. We were actively discussing what we can do in case of major economic difficulties. The people from Cambridge are putting on a small conference on Alternatives to Economic Growth to look at this. The most exciting idea for me was a proposal for an East Anglian Transition currency that we could all use, tied to businesses and people who want an economy driven by wellbeing not money.

We will hold our next meeting next Summer. Several small groups will take forward the results of our discussions. Everyone thought it was an enjoyable and useful day. Gary Alexander

Thursday 17 November 2011

Third Transition East Gathering - 26 November

Many of you will remember the first two gatherings of Transitioners from all around East Anglia, at Downham Market and at Diss. I found them really excellent events, and heard the same from many others who were there. They gave me a strong sense that there were many others like me, with similar projects and similar difficulties. Sharing those gave me a renewed sense of purpose, lots of good ideas, and, especially, new friends. They were well worth the travel effort.

I hope you will spread the word and come with a group from your initiative.

The third gathering will be on 26th November, hosted by Transition Stour Valley and held at Old Hall Community, East Bergholt from 9 am (for a 10 am start) - 5 pm with optional food and evening entertainment for those wishing to stay on. The venue itself is an inspiring place, a large community that has been running for about 40 years on very environmentally sound and democratic lines. A tour of Old Hall is an option as part of the programme.

The programme is designed to help you to meet those Transitioners from around the region who are most likely to be of interest to you, with mapping exercises, discussions, and 'organised but informal networking'. There will also be fun creative activities for children and a children’s Book and Toy swap, so bring along any you would like to swap.

Please bring some lunch to share, and information about your group and what it has been doing, perhaps as a poster or leaflets. (If you can't come, please send information anyway. It will be displayed.) Come by public transport or in shared cars if possible. Gary Alexander

Getting there: Old Hall Community, East Bergholt, CO7 6TG. Buses run from Manningtree station and will stop outside Old Hall if you ask the driver at 09.40 (96), 11.40 (96) and 13.40 (96), its also a beautiful 3 mile walk on footpaths. Evening lifts can be arranged back to the station. There are also buses from Ipswich and Colchester to East Bergholt. Contacts: Miriam 07904198649 or Dave 07799338733 and further info and full programme .

Photo: First Transition East gathering in Downham Market, 2009

Monday 14 November 2011

NORWICH: 3rd Year Celebration with Rob Hopkins - 15 November

An evening for Transition Norwich and the City of Norwich to celebrate, reconnect, remind, regenerate, share and discuss where we are and what we have achieved since the 'great unleashing' back in 2008.

The evening is set for Tuesday the 15th of November- 7.30pm at the United Reform Church (Princes Street). The plan is to have a happy and relaxed celebration, an opportunity for further dreaming and planning, with stalls to display the various projects throughout Norwich that have been a direct result of TN or link directly with TN in their ethos and vision.

Rob Hopkins will be joining our celebration, sharing the broader story of transition as he witnesses it as well as discussing his upcoming book The Transition Companion (including sections about the TN blog, Norwich FarmShare and a great pic of the NR3 Reskillers by helenofnorwich).

Plus.... there are plans to put a short 10 min film together that reflects on Transition Norwich, the place, the people, the projects.For inquiries about the event please contact Christine Way at

The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins (Green Books) was published on 27 October and had its launch in London on 12 October.

Saturday 22 October 2011

An open letter: Please Support Occupy London

Dear Transitioners,

The world’s poorest 2 billion are still the poorest 2 billion, violence and resource wars fueled by our insatiable hunger for diminishing resources like oil and rare earth minerals for consumer gadgets are helping keep them that way. This year saw record ice melt in the Arctic. Despite efforts to decouple CO2 pollution from economic growth, not to mention a global recession, we are currently tracking the IPCC’s worst case emissions scenarios. Improvements to well-being have all but stalled in the world’s largest economies while inequality and resulting social and health problems are booming.

20th Century capitalism alone isn’t helping us address these urgent 21st century issues. Instead of trickling wealth and resources down, we seem to be hoovering it all up. There’s a desperate need for a new economics that delivers shared prosperity at home, helps quickly raise living standards in developing countries and emerging economies and does it all within ecological and planetary limits and boundaries.

To wit, some pesky kids have decided to occupy Madrid, Wall Street and now the City of London. Far from being the trouble making free-loaders some currently seem to think they are, my take is that these predominantly young folk are bucking the trend for apathy and instead championing activism. And where many of us feel paralysed and helpless at the task in front of us, they are actively exploring, embracing and promoting solutions. They deserve our support.

In their first week Occupy London have opened an outdoor kitchen (hygiene certified), a library and hosted free, public talks and workshops from the likes of the New Economics Foundation, The National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Egyptian writer and activist Nawal Saadawi - right in the heart of the city. They’d like to stay there and carry on hosting talks and workshops on new economics, social justice, ecological limits and transition all winter.
To cut a long story short, they need your help. The best way to do that right now seems to be to petition (nicely) St Paul’s Cathedral and appeal to them to continue giving Occupy London a home.

Obviously a tent city suddenly arriving on your doorstep is a bit of shock, and St Paul’s are currently wrestling with potential health and safety implications - but with will, those are issues that can almost certainly be resolved through cooperation.

Please take five minutes to write to the Dean and Chapter: deanspa (at) stpaulscathedral (dot) org (dot) uk and ask them to support the Occupy London camp.


jay (at) transitionwivenhoe (dot) org (dot) uk

Tuesday 27 September 2011

NORWICH; Magdalen Street Celebration - 1 October

On Saturday October 1st, Magdalen Street will celebrate its unique character in street festival style with performances, exhibitions, fashion shows, workshops, family activities and local history tours.

Following on last year's memorable and groundbreaking success, even more musicians and activities have been arranged.

Norwich Taiko Centre will be opening the event under the Magdalen flyover and some of the best-known bands in the city will be playing on the street throughout the day, using a cycle-powered PA. The audience will be able to hop on the bike and power up their favourite bands!

Helen Simpson-Slapp of the organising committee said “The goal of the day is to bring together neighbourhood residents, regulars and visitors to highlight Magdalen Street's role as a hub of creative, independently-owned, ethnically diverse and environmentally sustainable businesses. ”

The art events, stallholders and historical aspects to the day will bring to life Magdalen Street's rich heritage. The street still boasts a range of food, clothes and shoe shops and is classified by the City Council as the busiest in the whole of Norwich for numbers of pedestrians and buses. Some of the shops from 1905 have survived - most notably 2 of the original fish shops.

The Magdalen Street Celebration themes for 2011 are Creativity, Diversity and Sustainability. Known informally as the 'Creative Quarter', the area houses a multitude of creative businesses. 'Diversity' refers to the street’s ethnic diversity as well as the range of disability-related charities operating in the area and 'Sustainability' is represented by the plethora of second-hand, vintage, antique and craft shops in the area.

The event is spearheaded by members of Transition Norwich seeking a fun way to engage community, celebrate the range of cultural backgrounds represented and promote the opportunity to live more sustainably by shopping locally, buying second-hand and making friends locally. Transition Norwich is a community-based response to peak oil, climate change and economic recession. The organisers are grateful for the financial assistance of Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council who are supporting this year's event. Chris Hull

TO GET INVOLVED: Helen Simpson-Slapp Tel: 07747 751656 Stefi Barna Tel: 07964 494836 Next meeting: Aladdin's Cafe, Magdalen Street. Tuesday 6th September, 7pm Web: or join our Facebook page

Monday 26 September 2011

BUNGAY: Happy Mondays at the Community Kitchen - 10 October

In August we hosted the second Happy Monday at the Community Kitchen, a soon to be regular shared meal made with local ingredients and served at the Community Centre. The first Happy Monday was a pie and mash night, the second a curry night and the kitchen team did a fantastic job; coming up with a great seasonal menu then turning vegetables and fruits from local farms and gardens into a mix of spicy Indian dishes followed by a plum kulfi.

Eating together is a pleasure that seems to transcend other cultural barriers and, as I’ve experienced working with farming communities in Italy, France and Spain, it’s a chance to talk unguardedly, perhaps do a bit of business, and celebrate great cooking, local food and food producers. The benefits of eating together go beyond the social: collective cooking has a lower environmental impact with fewer pots in fewer ovens, less energy and water used to cook and clean and, if well planned, less waste is produced.

Happy Mondays at the Community Kitchen will always be a celebration: the room will be decorated; the menu will use the best local and seasonal ingredients. But it will also offer opportunities for volunteers to build their kitchen confidence, learn about local suppliers and discover new recipes and ideas.

To highlight what’s growing in and around Bungay gardens and to help make sure it all finds a home, every Happy Monday will feature an Abundance table - a chance to bring and share surplus garden produce.

In time we hope there will be a Happy Monday every week, but at the moment our aim is a monthly meal. If you’d like to get involved, perhaps supplying ingredients from your garden to the kitchen and abundance table, cooking, suggesting recipes or helping meet and greet please do contact us.

For the next meal we’re focusing on local autumn fruit and vegetables, we’re cooking for 40 – please do join us!

October 10th, 6:45 for 7pm
Where: Bungay Community Centre, Upper Olland Street

If you'd like to join us for a delicious meal made using mostly local, often organic and always carefully thought about ingredients then please get in touch (

The exact menu will be decided closer to the date as we get a better idea of what might be available, but we're planning a celebration of autumnal bounty. What we can tell you is that our two course meal will only cost £5 - which we will ask for when you arrive - will be cooked and served by volunteers and will taste fantastic!.

We work to a single sitting and will be cooking for around 40 people so please arrive at Bungay Community Centre in Upper Olland Street at 6.45pm for dinner at 7pm (places will go quickly so please do fill in the form if you'd like to come).

We don't have a licence to serve alcohol, but do feel free to bring a bottle if you'd like a drink with your meal. Josiah Meldrum

Monday 12 September 2011

HALESWORTH: Forest Garden Talk

Our HinT meeting at Halesworth Library last Thursday evening (8th September) was so well attended that we had to scout around the library to find more chairs. Marion Gaze who works at Wakelyns' Farm in nearby Fressingfield presented an entertaining and lively talk about how she ended up working on this experimental agroforestry farm. She went on to tell us more about the research they carry out at the farm where they are currently working with mixing different varieties of the same crops together and growing crops between lanes of trees.

Marion then introduced us to the concept of forest gardens, and the course with Martin Crawford that she recently attended. Although we have already run a HinT tour of the farm, we can see that another one could be interesting for newer HinT supporters. Trish Dent

HinT website:

BUNGAY; Give and Take Day - 24 September

Give and Take is Back! Saturday 24th September 10am-1pm at the Chaucer Club, Popson Street, Bungay. Bring along unwanted, non-electrical items on the day and take something home all for free! The perfect time to clear out the cupboards and let the moth balls fly before the cold kicks in! SB can collect any large or bulky items on or before Friday 23rd September by prior arrangement.

For more information or to arrange collections, contact Eloise Wilkinson (01986 788785) Eloise Wilkinson

Friday 2 September 2011

Transition Tea Tent @ The Waveney Greenpeace Fair - Sunday 4 September

The Waveney Greenpeace Fair is on! It will be taking place in its new location alongside the lime trees at Henham Park, Suffolk on Sunday 4th September from 11am to 11pm (find us on map here).

The Fair features three music stages: the big top with a range of amplified music, the acoustic stage, and a lively human dynamo stage where the sound system is powered by members of the audience riding an exercise bike! The music encompasses jazz, folk, blues, reggae, samba and much, much more.

Stalls are back, plus great kids’ activities and entertainment including the Woodcraft Folk and the Foolhardy Folk.

Some new things include Swingboats, ‘History of the Albion Fairs’ tent, a healing area, more campaign stalls and of course The Transition Tea Tent, organised by Sustainable Bungay and featuring sustainable bicycle-powered smoothies by Transition Norwich's Jo Balfe. There will also be a Transition East stall inside for all initiatives in the Eastern region to contribute posters and info, so do come along! It's a great place to meet up.

Admission is £10 per adult, £8 concessions, £5 children under 12, under 5s free. Please car share or come by bike, there's no extra charge for parking this year.

For further details including about volunteering contact Eloise Wilkinson For full line up

Transition Tea Tent and Stall from Greenpeace Fair 2010 by Mark Watson;
Jo and bicycle-powered smoothies at the Harlequin Fayre.

Friday 12 August 2011

NORWICH: Introducing Kitchen Conversations - Low Carbon Cookbook - 24 August

Last month the Low Carbon Cookbook project met, as usual, for delicious supper of shared dishes (from rainbow summer slaws to foraged cherry plum pie) and afterwards discussed the Burning Issues embedded in the present industrialised food system. We looked at the scarcity of water, the destructiveness of supermarkets, peak phosphates, and how we can change the menu, both practically and philosophically, in our daily lives and neighbourhoods.

We also decided to open out these monthly discussions and invite everyone to take part in a conversation over supper on all aspects of food and carbon reduction.

Our first Kitchen Conversation will be on Eating Local for Real on Wednesday 24 August at 6.30pm at Jo Balfe's new cafe The Nectar at 16 Onley Street, just off the Unthank Road. Jo is a member of the TN Permaculture group and gives regular workshops on cooking and eating local and raw food. We'll bring our own local low carbon dishes to share and Jo will be offering drinks and pedal-powered desserts.

We'll be holding our second Low Carbon Kitchen Conversation at Norwich FoodCycle Cafe in September. These free community meals are cooked up each week at the Friends Meeting House kitchens from food that would otherwise be thrown away, donated by local shops, restaurants and market stalls (including surplus veg from Norwich FarmShare).

Everyone is welcome at both events. Details and times will be added soon to the calendar. Watch this space! Charlotte Du Cann

Bicycle blender outside The Nectar; Low Carbon Cookbook Crew; blight-free organic potatoes at The Spuds Don't Work anti-GM rally outside the Forum

Kitchen Conversation 1: Eating Local for Real at The Nectar Cafe, 16 Onley Street. KC 2: Food and Waste will be at FoodCycle, Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane in September. For more details contact Charlotte Du Cann

Friday 29 July 2011

NORWICH: Grapes Hill Community Garden - Grand Opening - 7 August

Since the Grapes Hill Community Garden opened its gates to the public on 2nd July it has proved a hit with people and wildlife alike.

We had a great evening in the garden on Sunday 10th July, after St. Benedict's Street Fair. On other days people come in to enjoy the garden's peace and tranquility. People appreciate the garden's wealth of vegetables, herbs and ornamentals, with the wildflower meadow being a particular favourite.

The garden is attracting birds and insects too. A pair of blackbirds nested in a courtyard backing onto our garden and the parents foraged for food here. Bumblebees, butterflies, moths, ladybirds and hoverflies are moving into the garden and we're keeping a note of what we see.

On Sunday 7th August we have our Grand Opening Day. This starts at 11am when Will Giles from Norwich's Exotic Garden officially opens the garden. There will be food, drink, music, ice cream, face painting, competitions, plant sales and information about the garden, until 3pm.

There will also be a one-off chance at this event to join the Grapes Hill Community Garden Group for half price until the end of 2012 for £5 (waged) or £1.50 (unwaged).

Admission to the garden is free - please come along and see Norwich's newest green space. Jeremy Bartlett.

Above: Drinks and food in the garden - 10th July 2011. Photo copyright Grapes Hill Community Garden Group. Visit our website or our Facebook page for more information.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Bungay Beehive Day - Sunday 24th July, 10.30am - 4pm on Castle Meadow

Bungay Beehive Day is a celebration of the honeybee and other pollinating insects along with the plants they love. It’s a first-of-its-kind event organised by Bungay Community Bees (BCB) as part of the Bungay Festival and aims to promote awareness and enjoyment of the key relationship between people, plants and bees.

Although we’ll be celebrating “all things bee” our theme will centre on the importance of insect pollination and how everyone can grow and protect flowers to support bees and other insects in our local environment. Come and find out what our group is doing and what each of us can do in response to the worldwide honeybee crisis and to help restore balance in our overstretched environment.

Central to the day and the marquee will be an observation hive provided by Waveney Beekeepers, so everyone can see how honey bees work within a hive. There wil also be a display of our recent venture into top bar hives. A wide diversity of stalls will be busy giving both information all about bees and bee-friendly plants and everything you need to know about becoming a beekeeper and also selling plants and seeds, bee-related crafts and of course honey! There will be an activities area for children from making a bee swarm to to a flower mural and on the stage there will be a lively series of workshops and talks running through the day.

So if you want to know how to make a bee hotel and beeswax candle, find out about natural beekeeping, bumblebees or how to plant a 'patch in a pot' of bees' favourite wildflowers, this is where you need to be!

We’ll have guest speakers from both the innovative River of Flowers project talking about creating urban meadows in green corridors, pollination and bio-diversity, and the Natural Beekeeping Trust on beekeeping on an earth-friendly scale. On the Bee and Flower walk we’ll visit a variety of ‘green spaces’ in Bungay (including the burgeoning Library Courtyard Community Garden), on the lookout for the wild (and not so wild) flowers that the bees are visiting. There will also be a talk on the healing power of honey. And throughout the day you’ll be able to talk to Bungay Community Beekeepers about all our activities and even join the group if you haven’t yet subscribed.

Oh, and calling all bakers. If you bake and bring along a honey cake and enter it into the competition, you could win a £15 gift voucher from BCB organiser and master cake maker from Three Willows CafĂ©, Gemma Parker.

Talks 11am Bee Guardians: Natural Beekeeping Trust 12 noon Bee and Flower Walk 1pm Bee corridors and biodiversity: River of Flowers 2pm Healing Power of Honey 3pm Bumblebees.

Workshops 11-12.30 Wildflowers for gardens and making bee Hotels. 2.30-4 Wildflowers for allotments and vegetable gardens and making bug hotels. Ongoing making beeswax candles and beeframes; children's activities: making puppets, mobiles, masks and bee and flower mural.

Honey cake competition: Bake and bring along a honey cake with the most delicious winning a £15 gift voucher. 3pm Judging

Everyone is welcome. Refreshments are available.

If you would like to help out on the day please let us know.

Contact Gemma: or Mark: or Tel. 01502 722419

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Bungay: Midsummer Celebration at the Library Community Garden - 24 June

Bungay’s library courtyard is positively blooming this summer as its beautiful, new wildlife garden comes into its own with a great burst of activity.

Colourful chamomile, cornflowers, poppies and foxgloves catch the eye, not only of library visitors but bumble bees and many other insects. And there are plenty of feathered visitors too, including a pair of blue tits who have successfully reared a family of youngsters in one of the new bird-boxes.

To celebrate the success of this flourishing community project and to boost the ongoing Save Bungay Library campaign, a Midsummer Evening is being staged at the library courtyard on Friday, 24 June, from 7-10pm.

All library supporters and well-wishers are invited to come along. Drinks and nibbles are provided and local musicians will add to the atmosphere, playing acoustic instruments.

Over the past year, this underused courtyard space has been transformed into a hive of activity. This spring pupils from Bungay Primary School saw the bulbs they had planted last Autumn emerge from the earth and burst into bloom. On May Day Sustainable Bungay held a second Give and Grow Day, exchanging seedlings, seeds, flowers and veg (and growing tips!) and establishing a permanent plant and produce corner.

During the drought, the library staff and volunteers have been kept busy watering the assorted herbs, wildflowers and young fruit trees, relying on tap water when the rainwater butts ran dry. The busy staff are seeking someone who is willing to spend a few minutes each week, sweeping the courtyard to keep it looking spick and span. Dustpan and broom will be provided! A shed with tools and compost for garden maintenance is now in situ.

Sara Johnson, who redesigned the courtyard garden with the project’s working party, is really pleased with its progress. “I’m delighted - after the freezing conditions of the winter and now a prolonged drought – that it’s established and positively thriving.”

For more details about the midsummer evening, or if you would like to contribute any refreshments, please contact the library staff or email:

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Transition East Summer Gathering - 25/6 June

Last year Glenn and Jeannie hosted the first gathering of Transitioners from Suffolk, South Norfolk and North Essex at their farm in Framsden. This year they’re making their farm available for a two day gathering from 10.00 on 25th June, so come along to meet other Transitioners, share experiences, swap ideas, enjoy each other’s company and celebrate.

There’s even a village Barn Dance in a C15th barn – that’s something you definitely can’t get at Glastonbury!

In true Transition fashion, this will be a self organising weekend, with agenda and workshops arranged using Open Space. Workshops are expected to start around 13.30 on Saturday and to continue on Sunday.

Camping is free and self catering, on grass or in a barn. A loo and shower are available.

The (optional) barn dance starts at 7pm on Sat 25th and costs £5 (children £2).

Transition East summer gathering 25th/26th June - Hill Farm, Framsden, Suffolk IP14 6HAContact Glenn & Jeannie for more info and if you want tickets for the dance please let them know asap: or or 01473 890737.

Pic: meeting of Transition East food projects in Ipswich at Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm

Friday 10 June 2011

Norwich FarmShare - Open Day - 11 June

It's Open Day down on the farm at Postwick on Saturday 11 June! Join us on the farm for a family day out. Bring a picnic to share!

We’ll be offering tours of the farm, introducing you to all the crops we’re growing and showing you the wildlife that shares our site. We’llh ave an opportunity for anyone who wishes to join in with the work onthe farm for an hour or so, and lots of fun activities for children. We’re also looking forward to a chance to share with you all the plans we have for the future. Absolutely everyone is welcome on the day: we hope to make it a real celebration of everything we’ve achieved so far. Please bring your friends and families along, the more the merrier. There will be lots of FarmShare members on hand to answer any questions you have and a chance to sign up if you haven’t yet.

Additionally, existing members are invited to join us a little earlier on the day at 12.00 for our Quarterly General Meeting. This will take only half an hour and is a great chance to catch up with what’shappening and take part in the decisions we make about the farms. As always, please contact us if you have any questions. Laura Creen

For latest Norwich FarmShare update click here.

Photo: Field of Dreams by Elena Judd

Monday 16 May 2011

Transition Training in Wivenhoe, Essex

The fantastic 2 day Transition Training takes place in Wivenhoe on 4th and 5th June.

Due to external funding via Community Matters, Transition Town Wivenhoe are offering places for the amazing price of only £10 + £10 returnable deposit!!

Places are filling up so please get in touch if you are interested.

Transition Network Trainers are Marina O'Connell and Gerri Smyth.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Transition Wiv at the University's Green Fair

Come and see Transition Wivenhoe and Transition Colchester at our stand at the University of Essex May Green Fair on Wednesday, May 4th from 10am ‘till 2pm, Square 5. We’ll have demonstrations and info about transition, energy and local food. Our bicycle generators will also be pedal powering a free-to-play Playstation (teaming up once again with local technology recyclers, ML-Solutions).

To cap off the day Transition Wivenhoe and the Revolutionary Bicycle Powered Cinema are transforming the University Lakes into a giant, outdoor cinema for a screening of ‘Home’, the awe inspiring film from the extraordinary photographer behind the Earth from Air series of books and exhibitions, Yann Arthus-Bertrand. If this fine weather we're enjoying holds the combination of outdoor cinema, film and beautiful location should make for a pretty special occasion.

The Movie spins into life at 8:30pm, it's all free and all are welcome.

Thursday 31 March 2011

DIY Bike Power Workshops 2nd and 9th April

Every once in a while Transition Wivenhoe wheels out it's revolutionary pedal-powered cinema (you can come see it in action at the May Fair) and puts on a fun event, like when we teamed up with Moiving Image and screened Ghost Busters on Wivenhoe Quay for Halloween. We reckon we might have built the world's most efficient cinema, we do big screen and big sound to audiences of a few hundred and less using about 100 Watts of energy – about the same as one of those old fashioned light bulbs – so little that it can be powered by a bicycle and a simple renewable energy system. Bicycle Power is a great introduction to renewable energy, physics, bicycles, electricity, education, appropriate technology and lots more. Find out how to do it at one of our workshops at the Wivenhoe Bookshop Shed on the afternoons of the 2nd and the 9th of April. Courses are free (but space is limited) run from the 2pm 'till 5pm and will be followed by a fun activity in the evening. On the 2nd we'll show you how to build your own and on the 9th you'll find out how bicycle power can be used to make things (including brains) whizz and whirl at schools, community events and elsewhere.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Introduction to Permaculture course in Cambridge

Transition Cambridge are organising another Introduction to Permaculture weekend course on 16-17 April (09:30-17:30, Trumpington Pavilion). It's a great opportunity to learn design principles and practical approaches for sustainable living, land use and growing some of your own food. Permaculture principles are also an important foundation of the Transition movement. The teacher is Nicole Freris, from Naturewise in London, who's a very experienced permaculture teacher and facilitator. By all accounts she's great, and very inspiring! The cost of this course is £60 (£45 unwaged). For more info, see The last course was fully booked, so book your place soon!

Sunday 27 March 2011

Rob Hopkins is coming to Cambridge on 28th March!

We'd like to invite everyone to come to Cambridge on Monday 28th March to hear Rob Hopkins speak on "The Transition Journey: from oil dependency to local resilience" and to share in Transition Cambridge's 3rd birthday celebrations!

The talk will start at 7:30pm (doors open at 7), at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RR. The talk is free, with a suggested donation of £3-5. After the event there will be drinks and cakes to celebrate Transition Cambridge's 3rd birthday, with stalls from local transition groups so that you can find out more about transition projects in and around Cambridge.

About the talk: We live in an oil-dependent world, and we have reached this level of oil dependency in a very short time. We have used up vast reserves of oil in the process, without thinking ahead to times when the supply of oil may not be so plentiful. In this talk, Rob Hopkins will show how the inevitable and profound changes ahead can have a positive outcome, leading to the rebirth of local communities who grow more of their own food, generate their own energy, and use local materials to meet their needs.

When we are looking for responses to peak oil and climate change, rebuilding local communities matters, because of the power that emerges from working together and creating meaningful change through shared action. In a world where people’s sense of connection to their communities is in decline, taking practical action together enables us to rediscover meaningfulness and community.

Rob Hopkins is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. He has many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and is author of ‘The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience’ and the forthcoming 'The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times". He publishes, lectures and writes widely on Transition, lives in Devon and is a keen gardener.

More info here: including a downloadable poster and some leaflets.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Stoneleigh Comes to Norwich - Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil - 25 March

Nicole Foss gave a gripping presentation to the Transition Network Conference last year and we are excited that she has agreed to come to Norwich to help us understand the challenges of climate change, economic recession, rising fuel and house prices. Under the pseudonym Stoneleigh, she is co-editor of the blog,The Automatic Earth. which has been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch and the economic climate that has allowed it to happen. She brings together finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politik in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it.

No tickets but donations welcome on the night. Please circulate this widely to all your networks as everyone is invited.

Contact: for further information. Christine Way

Making Sense of the Financial Crisis in the Era of Peak Oil - A Presentation by Nicole Foss will be at the United Reform Church, Princes Street, Norwich NR3 1AZ Time: 7.45pm

Monday 14 March 2011

Green Drinks - Zero Waste Bungay - 15 March

For this month's Green Drinks and in preparation for our Give and Take Day on Saturday we've invited Karen Atthey-Woods to talk to us about her community interest company Wombling which runs a sort of year-round give and take (augmented by training on repairing and reusing) in Norwich and Jules Shorrock of VC Cooke a Beccles based recycling company who are working towards creating a zero waste site and offer advice and incentives to encourage businesses and communities to do the same.

Give and Take
This Saturday Sustainable Bungay is holding its third Give and Take Day at the Chaucer Club. We'll be inviting people to bring along things they no longer want or need and if they see something else they want to take it home with them - all for free. So far we've seen pretty much everything except a kitchen sink come in through the door with one person and leave with another; from surf boards to sofas and books to bikes - we're never left with much more than a bit of tidying up to do at the end of the day.

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle... (in that order!)
The Give and Take Days have far exceeded our expectations and so far we've ensured that almost 20 tonnes of potential landfill has found a new home. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of waste generated by Bungay and the surrounding villages - according to the Office for National Statistics every one of us generates almost half a tonne of household waste every year - around 2,500 tonnes for Bungay alone (and that doesn't include trade waste, DiY and building waste and the waste public services generate on our behalf).

Cradle to Cradle thinking
Recycling is increasing and Waveney has a good record for increasing and improving recycling rates, but it still remains low by European standards. But recycling is about the end of a product's life and before we even consider it we should think about buying less in the first place and then extending the life of the things we do buy - repairing them, reusing and them passing them on to others. There is a lot that product designers could do to help us with this by, for example, creating things that need less packaging, last longer, are easy to repair and reuse; so called cradle to cradle thinking.

Zero Waste Bungay
It's pretty clear that we are still a long way from cradle to cradle approaches to consumer goods - we probably won't ever get there but a zero waste Bungay might just be possible if we start to redefine our waste - it's not rubbish, it's resources; our resources and we should think twice before throwing them away.

As ever Green Drinks will begin with short talks from our expert conversationalists Karen and Jules, there will then be time for more general questions and discussions. Anything could come up (it usually does) but the conversations might include:

What would a Zero Waste town look like?
Would Karen's Wombling business work in Bungay - is it the next step beyond the Give and Take?
How could we work with companies like VC Cooke to reduce waste in Bungay?
How does closing the Beccles recycling site (albeit reprieved for 6 months) fit in with Suffolk County Councils recycling targets and how might the site fit in with our future plans?

As ever we look forward to seeing you tomorrow night (Josiah Meldrum)

Thursday 3 March 2011

Transition Suffolk - Climate Change and Food Security - But What About Peak Oil?*

* Originally published as Peak Oil! Peak Oil! Oil! Oil! Oil! on Transition Norwich Blog 25th Feb 2010

Today I had planned to write about the Suffolk Agricultural Association’s Regional Conference on Climate Change and Food Security, which I attended last Friday at Trinity Park in Ipswich. But I’m finding it difficult.

There were probably 150 people at the conference, made up of farmers, lawyers, county councillors, politicians and transitioners. Although agriculture is not my subject, I am getting used to the flexibility that being in transition is requiring of me, so when I was invited to go and write about the conference I accepted immediately.

Professor Ian Crute of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board was clear and informative about climate change, although he ended his talk in what I thought was a very odd way. He showed us two pictures, one a detail of the Amazon rainforest before being cleared for agribusiness, and one after. He then said there was an argument for the second picture (a typical crop field which could be part of an industrial farm anywhere) being ‘better’ than the first. But didn’t tell us why.

The Agriculture Manager from Waitrose showed us how the company were going to increase their profits from £5 billion in the last year to £8 billion by 2016.

Then there was the unabashed and rampant display of pro-GM and biotech marketing by two speakers from the Conservative party.

But these are not the reasons I find it hard to write about the conference. I think it’s because the realities of Peak Oil were almost entirely absent from the proceedings. Representatives of several Transition groups in the region ( some of whom manage farms themselves) raised the subject.

The Waitrose man was unable to answer questions on oil price volatility, and how that would affect the supermarkets, it wasn’t his area. Other speakers just didn’t seem to hear the questions about Peak Resources. At least when (Lady) Caroline Cranbrook, who has worked closely with East Anglia Food Link, spoke out about phosphates already having peaked and asked “Is there a national larder in case of sudden food scarcity? ” she received the one direct reply I heard in the whole conference.

“No,” said chairmen John Gummer (former Secretary of State for the Environment), “is the simple answer to that question.”

Which means the just-in-time lorries serving the supermarkets are our only larder.

The conference was very much focused on the 'big picture' (the how will we feed the 9 billion people in the world by 2050? scenario), although one speaker, Lucy Wyatt, did tell us about her small mixed-farm, where she has set up an oilseed rape bio-fuel plant, providing her with electricity, and fuel for the farm machinery.

But there was no spokesperson for organic production and no representative of one of the community, small-scale projects that are happening all over Suffolk and East Anglia, like the Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm CSA, Joanne Brannan (Transition Ipswich) has set up. John Taylor, Suffolk's Climate Change officer, did ask about the small scale projects, but the question was not properly addressed.

And although I'm only a member of the mere hoi polloi, I'm inclined to say that a conference about climate change and food security that avoids the questions of Peak Fossil Fuels and small scale food projects is not really a conference about climate change and food security.

Well, I really didn't think I had anything to say about the conference, but there you are.

Just two more things for today. One is if you haven't read "The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century" by James Howard Kunstler, and you want a solid, readable, intelligent book which brings climate change, peak resources (especially oil) and the follies of economic globalism together in a coherent manner, then this is the book for you. Don't let his occasional coarseness put you off, it's just his manner.

Secondly, The Waveney Greenpeace Winter Fair is taking place in Southwold tomorrow - 11am - 11.30pm. Donations in the day and £5 in the evening. It's usually fun with good food and stalls. Maybe see you there.

Pic: Sprouts and Clover at Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm by Richard Mudhar

Friday 18 February 2011

Create a Greener Home

Transition Town Wivenhoe's Bicycle Powered Cinema is helping the Orchard Barn Project run a day of workshops demonstrating practical approaches to saving money and developing self reliance that will interest Transitioners. Creating a Greener Home Day, Saturday 26th February - Ringshall Village Hall, Suffolk.

Friday 11 February 2011

Green Drinks: Bungay Community Bees -Tuesday 15 February

Green Drinks: Bungay Community Bees
Tuesday 15th February, 7:30pm at the Green Dragon
With Elinor McDowall, Gemma Parker and other members of Bungay Community Bees

Inspired by a desire to help everyones favourite (indispensable) pollinators, Sustainable Bungay established what is probably the first Community Supported Apiculture (CSA) scheme in the UK – possibly the world! Lauded by the Soil Association and a major influence on the Mayor of London’s Capital Bee project, Bungay’s Community Beekeepers are entering their second year with plans for exciting new education and outreach projects.

We’ve invited community beekeepers Elinor McDowall, Gemma Parker along with other members of BCB to tell us more about the plight of the honey bee, how community beekeeping works and BCBs plans for 2011 and beyond. As usual we’ll ask them to speak briefly about what they’re doing, answer questions from the room as a whole and then circulate as we break into less formal conversations.

Over the past year lots of other groups have expressed an interested in community beekeeping – some from as afar afield as Canada and the USA – but most quite local. BCB has promised to organise a weekend workshop for these groups but it won’t happen until the bees are more active; the Green Drinks evening will provide an excellent insight into the workings of the project. For those who don’t know anything about BCB there is a short precis below – there is also lots of information on the Sustainable Bungay website.

Bungay Community Bees in brief:
Bungay Community Bees (BCB) demonstrates the emphasis Transition places on raising awareness and building a sense of community through practical actions and activities. To date BCB has been funded through a subscription scheme based on the increasingly popular community supported agriculture (CSA) model. This year the group is considering adopting a more formal structure, becoming a social enterprise and moving out from the umbrella of transition initiative Sustainable Bungay.

In its first year BCB has:

•Raised £800 and bought hives, equipment, training and insurance
•Engaged 37 members who’ve bought annually renewable £20 ‘shares’ in the project (representing about 90 people)
•Established two small apiaries on the outskirts of Bungay
•Held regular meetings, opportunities to visit the hives and offered formal training Actively communicated the work of the group through: blog posts, press releases, social networking, local TV and radio
•Established two subsidiary groups, Plants for Bees and Education and Outreach. In 2011 these will work with local schools and community groups
•Inspired other groups all over the country (and internationally) to do the same. Most significantly the BCB model has been a major influence on the Mayor of London’s Capital Bee project and BCB members spoke at the recent Bee Summit held at the Royal Festival Hall – 50 similar groups are now being established in London
•Created a community of friends around the hives and a feeling of mutual support and learning – none of the BCB beekeepers were particularly experienced at the start of the project
•Engaged with other local beekeepers through the Waveney Beekeepers group.
BCB members feel confident and inspired and Sustainable Bungay plan’s to apply the CSA approach to other food and craft projects. BCB shows how Transition initiatives act as a catalyst for change, gathering people and ideas together, building trust and empowering them to act. Projects like BCB evolve at their own pace – often this can be a (frustratingly) slow process - but it’s vital to ensure community leadership and ownership. Hard work, a clear collective vision and a certain amount of trust are also required if projects like BCB are to work.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Monday 24 January 2011

Transition to a Sustainable Swaffham: The (short) story so far

We're still pretty new, having formed the core group in December 2010. A few of us were mulling on our own how to get an initiative started, but thanks to "synchronicitous" mechanizations beyond understanding, we were put in contact and things began to happen.

Right away, two of us managed to get in on a Transition Training weekend that was held in Ipswich at the beginning of December, led by Naresh Giangrande from Totness and Marina O'Connell of the Apricot Centre in Suffolk. (Thanks to Steve Marsden of Transition Ipswich for making that possible). Soon after, we held our first core group meeting and set our sights on hosting a January film screening for as many people as we could get  to come.

In the meantime, we've enjoyed a couple of impromptu, fun social get-togethers over food and wine with interested neighbors and friends, who were quite receptive to the Transition message. We've also developed a Web site and blog to promote our presence and keep people up-to-date, and are slowly-but surely building our mailing list. We've fortunately already attracted attention of certain town movers, and have found a seat in at least one of four community partnership groups developing a plan for Swaffham's future. So things look quite promising at this early stage.

Last night (Sunday, Jan. 23rd) we held our first "public" event in the nearby village of Castle Acre, with a very good attendance (16 that could make it, though others that support us were unable to come). We screened the film "In Transition," fielded a few questions afterward, and shared a brief open space session. All-in-all, a fine first outing, and another event is already planned for February 13th.

Saturday 15 January 2011

News from Transition Ipswich

The lastest Transition Ipswich newsletter is here!

Friday 14 January 2011

Bungay - Green Drinks: Shifting Cultural Values - 18 January

With Dr. Rupert Read, reader in philosophy at the University of East Anglia, co-founder of values-change blog Green Words Workshop and Norwich Green Party Councillor.
The Green Dragon, 18th January, 7:30pm

To date our Green Drinks themes have had quite a practical focus, but this month we’re tackling something that at first glance seems a little more esoteric – shifting cultural values. In fact it’s pretty much central to all Sustainable Bungay’s projects and is at the heart of Transition; but we generally only acknowledge it in so much as we recognise that, if we’re to tackle climate change, come to terms with finite resources and cope with a radical economic readjustment we’ll have to change the way we think about each other and the world. At Green Drinks this month and with the help of Dr. Rupert Read we’ll delve a little deeper.

Ready to be nudged?

The Government is keen to ‘nudge’ us into making ‘better’ choices and believes that this approach could replace regulation to help it achieve its commitments to public health, the environment and well-being. But many argue that without big shifts in our values approaches that attempt to shape behaviour are likely to have little impact in a culture where the consumer is still king and economic growth is the most important measure of national success.

A Common Cause

At our first Green Drinks evening we talked briefly about a report called Common Cause: The Case for Working with our Cultural Values published by a consortium of organisations including WWF, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. The report makes a clear case for a wide range of civil society organisations to work together in order to strengthen those cultural values that have been shown to underpin people’s concern about a whole range of problems – from climate change to global poverty. It goes on to argue that the public will only place enough pressure on politicians if they place greater emphasis on those ‘intrinsic’ values (which include the value we place on things like relationships with other people, the natural world, a sense of place/belonging).

We’ve invited Dr. Rupert Read, reader in philosophy at the UEA, co-founder of values-change blog Green Words Workshop and Norwich Green Party Councillor to help us think about some of these issues. As usual we’ll ask Rupert to speak for 5 or 10 minutes then open the floor for questions and a general discussion before breaking up into smaller informal conversations. It’s never possible to say exactly what might come up at Green Drinks but we might talk about;

•What kinds of values do we need to shift to and what are we moving away from – is it as simple as a move from ‘Me’ to ‘We’?
•How can we strengthen the kinds of intrinsic values outlined in the Common Cause report and bring them to the fore locally?
•Should we begin talking to other local groups about emphasizing these values? How?

And much more besides… there is bound to be a lively discussion!

Saturday 1 January 2011

Events for Community Food Enterprises


A training day for individuals, employees, volunteers, public sector organisations, transition groups, community groups & co-operatives
10 - 5pm Saturday 22nd January 2011
Friends Meeting House, Fonnereau Rd, Ipswich

This event isn't restricted to food enterprises; I want everybody to come!

The skills on offer may not at first glance seem meaty or applicable, but it's been proven that when community projects fail it's often due to the membership or employees not having the basic skills to work together, or not understanding the infrastructure and systems of the entreprise.


For interested individuals, new and established community-owned food entreprises, and food access or ‘5-a-day’ projects

Tuesday 25th January 10:30 - 4:30
Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk

Discover what support you can get from Sustain’s Food Co-ops project, where your nearest co-op is, hear from experienced food projects, and exchange ideas for the future!


- Kirstin Glendinning - Swillington Community Supported Agriculture & the Soil Association
- Gemma Sayers - Food Co-ops Project & Ipswich Food Co-op

A Plenary with:

- JP- Hastings Community Fruit ‘n’ Veg project
- Jacqui - Community Food Entreprise, East London

+ Networking with local groups and Action Planning to help set up or improve your community food project
+ Delicious lunch of local seasonal produce

This is a FREE event but booking is essential
Contact: or 07971 863 586

More information and a toolkit showing how to get started is available at

If you are involved in the local food, community food, or food production sector, this event is for you. Likewise, if you are faced with transitioning to a more sustainable and autonomous future. But you are welcome even if your interest is simply in the consumption of good food!

I have chosen the speakers to cater to a variety of groups; those needing templates for making their entreprise stand alone when they've previously been shored up by local authority funding and support; those looking for radical ways to take control of their food supply, those needing specialised information on ambitious independent systems like CSA's; and anybody who'd like to know what's out there that can make good food more affordable and accessible.

There will be plenty of time for Open Space discussions at the event, and that includes food co-ops and others presenting about the work they do, bringing any issues they've encountered to the forum, or thrashing out ideas for a project step-by-step.