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.