Saturday 22 December 2012

IPSWICH - Community Resilience Workshop - 23 January

Transition Ipswich's Community Resilience Workshop - Wednesday January 23rd - 8pm to 10pm; West Building, UCS Campus, Ipswich

The aim of this free, practical workshop is to devise new projects to increase Ipswich’s resilience to economic crisis, resource depletion and climate change – and improve our wellbeing.

It's easy to slip into despondency, thinking 'there's nothing I can do in the face of massive global changes which are outside anyone's control'.  Transition offers a different way of thinking and fosters projects that are making a real difference at the local level. But it needs people like you to make it happen.

Here in Ipswich, a range of initiatives are already well underway including (check out the links) a community supported agriculture schemea community orchard, a food co-op, a pig club, a local food challenge and a housing co-op.  Each of these was started by one or two people with the germ of an idea and a “can do” attitude that inspired others to join in.

The workshop on January 23rd will build on these successes and explore new initiatives. It will be a dynamic Open Space event where anyone can put forward their ideas, debate them with others and focus on what interests them most. If you haven’t tried Open Space before you’ll be amazed how natural, enjoyable and productive it can be.

Come and join us to scope out the next phase of Transition in Ipswich - and bring your friends.

West Building is the large brick building in the central part of the UCS site – entrance labelled A on this map. Access by foot or bike is from Grimwade Street and New Street.

If needed, free parking is available in the UCS Car Park, accessible via Fore Street at the bottom of Back Hamlet.

For more information see or phone Steve on 07889 751578

Thursday 29 November 2012

BUNGAY: Plants for Life review and Les Belles Tisanes de France

This report was first published on Sustainable Bungay's website. It consists of a review of this year's Plants for Life project and a write-up of the last of the events in the series this year, a talk about and tasting of the herb teas and honeys of la Drôme region in France.

It was a lovely way to end this year’s Plants for Life series. At 3pm in Bungay library last Sunday, we did a round up of the events and spoke about  what we’d enjoyed and learned from them. Then we took a visit to the Drôme region of south-eastern France with Eloise Wilkinson. This was via a brew of the tisanes (herb teas) and a taste of the honeys from the place where she spent the early part of her life.

Plants for Life – a quick review

Each month between eight and forty people came for a talk, walk or workshop on the theme of plants as medicine. We met mostly in the library where the central bed of the courtyard garden also showcased the theme. I curated this throughout the year, with the help of others in Sustainable Bungay, most notably Richard Vinton.

Each Plants for Life session featured a guest ‘plant person’ speaker and included medical and lay herbalists, authors, organic and biodynamic growers, and home winemakers.

We looked at the medicine under the ground as we connected with our roots in January, learned growing tips in February (never water basil in the evening, morning is always best for the roots; keep coriander moist it hates beings dried out), adopted a herb to focus on for the year in March, walked with weeds in April, heard about hedgerow medicine in May, made midsummer wildflower oils in June, went on a bee and flower walk in July, had our world shaken by 52 flowers in August, made autumn tonic tinctures in September and medicinal wines in October.

I asked everybody on Sunday to think about two things to share with the group about these events. First, a general feeling about why it had been worth coming to them, and then something specific thing they'd learned during the plant medicine year.

People expressed an increase in their general awareness of the plants around them, and were inspired by the open sharing of knowledge in the sessions. After the plantain oil-making workshop in June with Rose, Eloise said her four year-old daughter became obsessed with plantain and had spent the summer telling all her friends about it! Coming to think of it, I spent all summer doing the same thing!

Having the rhythm and continuity of a regular monthly event was felt to be key, as was looking at plants in so many different ways. "I try not to say 'weed' anymore," said Lesley. "It's fascinating to find out about how everything's connected in an eco-system. And I've now embraced nettles!"

"It's really good for the imagination," said Charlotte. "Everything from foraging to growing to connecting with the different times of the year. And I loved the practical stuff. I knew nothing about winemaking until the session with Nick. The fight between the yeast and the sugar really grabbed me."

Richard has loved wildflowers since he was a child, and enjoyed the tea-making at the meetings. "When you find out all the things a common plant like Yarrow can do, for example," he said, "you wonder why you bother going to the chemist so much."

"It's been really productive," said Nick. "And I've enjoyed all the variety. Talking of yarrow, when we went Walking with Weeds, I was stunned when you asked everybody if they recognised the leaf, and a six-year old boy answered immediately, 'That's Yarrow!' "

Newcomers Linda and Tony had both been inspired by the last few events to find out more about the qualities of plants. "Raspberries," said Tony. "I had no idea about all the benefits of raspberries."
For more about the specific Plants for Life sessions, do visit the archive on Sustainable Bungay’s website, where you’ll find previews and write-ups of the events.

Ô les belles tisanes de la France - A Visit to the Drôme with Eloise Wilkinson

La Drôme is an extraordinary area in south-eastern France, where three different landscapes/eco-systems meet. There are the plains of the Rhône river, the low-lying hills in the Valley of the Drôme and the bigger Massif Alpin mountains. To the south are the mountains of the Mediterranean. The three climates are continental, alpine and meditaerranean. In this place of convergence, half of the total number of plant species in France are to be found.

After speaking about the nature of the land, Eloise turned her focused to tilleul, as limeflowers are such a part of the French cultural fabric. Lime trees in France are somewhat like our English oaks in that they are the traditional tree of justice under which meetings, councils and even courts were held. But tilleul is probably best known as a relaxing and digestive herbal tea.

“When I was a young child, every evening the adults would make a large pot of limeflower blossom tea, tilleul. I’d get the really strong feeling that the evening I was allowed to join in with this tea ritual would mark my own transition to becoming a grown-up.”

There used to be an annual Foire au Tilleul (Limeflower Fair) in the area, which lasted a whole week and where the price of tilleul was fixed for the coming year. The last one was held in 2003, although there is still a (much smaller) fête.

“I think often about this area which is so unique in terms of the meeting of such different landscapes and what effects climate change and instability could have on it,” said Eloise.

It was time to drink some tilleul from the Drôme ourselves. The flowers smelt delicate with a honey sweetness to them. And shortly after we drank the infusion, several of us remarked on just how relaxing it was. No one wanted to get up from their seat.

“We might be staying the night,” I laughed.

I dragged myself downstairs to make a second pot, this time of ‘Couleurs d’automne’ (Autumn colours), which was made up of a mixture of hawthorn, mallow, spearmint and again limeflowers. Delicious, but just as relaxing. We didn't get round to trying the sweet and resinous thyme tea, thym serpolet (Thymus serpyllum) another Drôme native, and like other thymes, a boost for the immune system.
Eloise passed around various honeys from the Drôme for everyone to taste: rosemary, lavender, limeblossom and pine. And sweet chestnut. They were all extraordinary. The tree honeys were dense and intense, particularly the sweet chestnut, with its definite medicinal smell.

Then we sat in silence for a while, infused by the teas and the honey. Infused by plants for life.

Community Well-being and the future

Throughout the summer I paid a weekly visit to the library garden to hold a ‘plant medicine surgery’, where anyone could come and share any aspect of their plant knowledge or ask questions. We watched as the giant burdock (blood purifier and organ restorer) became more giant and the native vervain (restorative of the nervous system) put out its tiny star-like flowers like points of light. And a common theme or question emerged from these meetings: what does well-being entail, not just on the individual but also on the community and the planetary or ecological level? Can individual well-being really exist in isolation from the whole or on a too-stressed planet?
Next year Sustainable Bungay will form a new Arts, Culture and Well-being subgroup with these questions in mind. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in and it will be the topic for the first Green Drinks of the year on 8th January at 7.30pm. The brief is open and there will be a monthly conversation, practical activity or workshop, exploring the different elements that constitute community well-being and culture: topics so far include growing food together, permaculture, meditation and creative non-fiction writing and journalism along with social and other media.

Meanwhile I would like to thank all the plant people who contributed so generously to the Plants for Life project this year, those who came to speak, to listen, to join in... and to those growing all around us. Mark Watson

Connecting with our Roots, Jan poster; Adopt a herb with Dan in March; Eloise showing the map of the Drôme, Tisanes and honeys, November; Plants for Life on the 'A' board and drinking tisanes in the library, November; talking well-being with Christian and Fairy by the plant medicine bed in Bungay community library garden, July; Walking with Weeds, April All images and artwork by Mark Watson

Sunday 28 October 2012

BUNGAY - Happy Monday at the Community Kitchen - 19 November

The main attraction of community meals is their convivial and celebratory nature. It’s not often you can cook for and sit down with 50 people for supper, and food, with its roots in the land and evocative flavours, brings us all together in a way that dry discussions about climate and behaviour change can never do.

There is big sustainable thinking behind every dish at Happy Mondays. All the key Transition subjects, including peak oil and the gift economy, are on the table among the neighbourhood flowers. Even though our dishes are often global (Greek, Moroccan, Indian), nearly all the ingredients are locally-sourced and seasonal. We are deliberately vegetarian to show how meals do not have to rely on resource-heavy meat or fish to be delicious and nutritious.

We are also organic where possible. Why? Because the pesticides used on most conventional crops are harmful to the soil, our bodies, wildlife and especially to bees.

Well-being is one of the principles of Happiness. In the kitchen everything is cooked from scratch and so is free from unhealthy industrial processing. Recipes and ingredients are discussed in detail, from the use of “dry” Italian rice (traditional paddy-grown “wet” rice creates high methane emissions) to whether Nick’s allotment maize would be ready for September’s Mexican fiesta. The more connected we are to what we eat and where we live the happier we are.

Happy Mondays next meal is on 19th November (bookings now open). We are having our Winter Solstice and Christmas Party on 21st December at the Community Centre (all welcome). Donation. Please bring festive food and drink! A new  SB Well-being, Art and Culture group is starting up in 2013. Do join us for a discussion about Well-being and the Conmmunity at our Green Drinks on 9th January.
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Friday 12 October 2012

NORWICH: Magdalen- Augustine Celebration 2012

The 2012 celebration, on Saturday October 13th, 10.00 - 5.00, is picking up a bigger beat this year!

Following the same multi-media format as previous years, it will feature over 20 live music slots in 3 locations, history tours, stuff for kids, a giant free doodle art session under the flyover, tandem rides, a recreation of a 'doll doctor', story-telling ( with tell-a joke-certificates), classical recitals in St.Augustines church through the afternoon, stalls by local charities and groups including Norwich Farmshare, workshops including thai boxing, tai chi, belly dancing, art and poetry.

Future Radio  (FM 107.8), who are supporting this year's celebration and running a live broadcast from Anglia Square, will also be featuring artists and organisers of the event through the week before.  Listen out for us on :  the Platform programme, Sunday 7th October 5 - 6 p.m., the Breakfast Show 10th October 8.40 a.m., and on Friday October 12th Community Chest programme 9.30 a.m. onward........

Check us out at :  www.magdalenstreet.blogspot or on Facebook to see the latest updates and schedule of events on the day.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

BUNGAY: Welcome to a busy September round-up

Sustainable Bungay's autumn events start this Friday when you can join the regulars at our monthly film night, then on Sunday you can pop along to our Grow and Give produce swap in the library courtyard garden and pick up or drop off some surplus garden produce. While you're at the library you could nip upstairs to do a bit of sewing before cycling out of town to meet the Pig Club and help prepare for the first porkers.

On Monday 17th the Community Kitchen will be dishing up another of their amazing Happy Mondays - this month a Mexican Fiesta. After such a busy weekend we'll need a breather - but only until Satuday 22nd when the second 2012 Give and Take Day will be in full swing; bring things you no longer want or need - take home stuff you do. The day after Mark will be preparing Autumn Berry Tonics and Tinctures in the library.

Bungay's New Favourite Poet, Luke Wright, will be performing at the library on Friday 28th September - all part of the effort to ensure that the library we campaigned so hard to keep open stays open. And throughout September you could be taking part in the 30:30 Local Food Challenge...

There are more details about all our events and activites, plus some of the things we're keen to support below and on our website - look out for our paper newsletter later this month too.

See you soon!

Give and Take Day | 22nd Sept

One of the most popular event in our calendar, Give and Take is a chance to give away stuff you don't need and pick up stuff you do. This time there will be stalls and workshops as well as refreshments from the Community Kitchen - clear out your cupboards! 10am - 1pm, Saturday 22nd September. Read more HERE

Film Nights Return! | 14th Sept

This coming Friday at Bacon's Barn we'll be showing a short film: Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system. Read more HERE

Grow and Give | 16th Sept

We are holding another autumn produce exchange at the Library Courtyard on Sunday 16th September, 11am to 1pm. There is an annual sister event in the Spring: Give and Grow. Both occasions encourage use of the permanent swap area in the courtyard for free exchange of anything garden-related. Read more HERE

Sewing Sunday | 16th Sept

Sewing Sunday is on this Sunday 16th September 3pm at Bungay Library. A friendly group, we chat and sew and share tips and would love to learn any new skills: crochet, rag rugs, knitting, patchwork, revamping old clothes... if you have some skills to show, or just want to lear the basics with us Sewing Sunday is for you!. Read more HERE

Pig Club | 16th Sept

On Sunday 16th (1.30 - 5.30pm) pig fencing is going up at Lodge Farm, Ilketshall st. Lawrence in readiness for our first pigs. Please feel free to come and help, find out about the pig club and, if you like, join up. So far 9 people have commited to a £50 share in a pig - including a share in pig care, but there's room for a few more... Read more HERE

Happy Monday | 17th Sept

Using local ingredients and guided by Mark and Charlotte, who lived in central America for some years, this month's community meal will have a Mexican inspired menu (but no mariachi band I'm afraid...). The pudding is as unexpected as it is delicious - but you'll have to join us on the 17th to find out why! Read more and book your place HERE

Plants for Life | 23rd Sept

Autumn Berry Tonics and Tinctures: We'll look at 3 native plants - hawthorn, elder and sea buckthorn all of which provide berries as medicine and food - and demonstrate how to make berry tinctures. Everyone welcome regardless of experience - and if you do have some herbal tips to share do come along and join in! Read more HERE

Saving Bungay Library! |28th Sept

Last year we worked hard to help keep Bungay Library open - this year we need to work hard to ensure it stays that way. On Friday 28th September at 7:30pm the excellent Luke Wright will perform a selection of his funny, moving and at times scurrilous poems in aid of Bungay Community Library. Read more and find out how to buy tickets HERE

30:30 Local Food Challenge | Sept

Transition Ipswich, working with Transition Woodbridge, have been gearing up to organise a 30-Mile Local Food Challenge this September. They're now in the thick of it with challenge participants only eating only food that has been produced and processed within a 30 mile radius of their homes. Read more HERE

Transition Conference | 14th Sept

This year quite a few from Sustainable Bungay are attending the Transition Network conference in London. The conference aims to provide a weekend of events and workshops that explore the theme of Building Resilience in Extraordinary Times; there are still a few tickets available. Read about the conference on the Transition Network site HERE

Transition Network UK Conference 2012 - 13-18 September

This year the Transition Conference will take place in London, hosted by the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), and the conference aims to provide a weekend of events and workshops that explore the theme of "Building Resilience in Extraordinary Times".

The programme has 5 distinct elements, which can be attended as stand-alone events or in combination:

Main Transition Conference
The main Conference gives you the chance to connect with people from all over the UK - and the world – who have taken th
e Transition approach into their hearts, lives and communities.

Whether new or experienced in Transition this will be an opportunity to plunge into a rich pool of ideas, inspiration and practical learning, refresh your energy and make new friendsThe theme this year will be explored through a wide variety of activities and processes including programmed workshops, an Open Space afternoon, walks and visits, and a great Saturday evening of entertainment, including an open mic slot. It will draw in elements of the REconomy and Young Transition conferences happening the previous day.

The full programme is now available.

Friday 3 August 2012

IPSWICH: 30-mile Food Challenge- 18/19 August

Transition Ipswich, working with Transition Woodbridge, have been gearing up to organise a 30-Mile Local Food Challenge this September, The challenge participants will be embarking upon is to eat only food that has been produced and processed within a 30 mile radius of the centre of Ipswich – for 30 whole days. Here’s a rough idea of the challenge radius.

We want you to join in with us and find out all about the exciting food available locally, which we’ll be mapping up until September and beyond to help you find sources of local food. Let’s support local producers and eat more of what’s grown right here in Suffolk!

If you’re with us – sign up to pledge your support, using the sign-up button on the right. Once you’ve signed up we’ll send you email updates about the challenge, including the events we’re organising and promoting between now and the end of September.Interested in joining in? Want to find out more? Challenge guidelines and more information are on the FAQs page.

Check out our website
especially growing lists and maps of Retailers, Producers and Eating Out places.

We have a stall this month at the inaugural Ipswich Food Festival on 18/19 Aug (Maritime Weekend) and on Monday 3rd September are showing ‘In Transition 2.0’ film, 7.30pm, at Suffolk Coastal District Council Offices, Melton Hill, Woodbridge, IP12 1AU. Followed by coffee and cake and presentation on the 30-Mile Food Challenge.

For contact information and questions please leave a comment and we will get back to you:

Thursday 12 July 2012

Bungay Bee Hive Day - 15 July

Apprentice beekeepers in Finsbury Park highlight the rise of grassroots and community beekeeping in Transition initiatives around the UK in response to honeybee decline. This Sunday Bungay Community Bees in Suffolk are holding an event to bring attention to the crucial role of bees and other insects in our everyday lives - and how we can help them. Josiah Meldrum reports:

Bungay Bee Hive Day is a celebration of the honeybee and other pollinating insects along with the plants they love. Unique in the region and in its second year the event is organised by Bungay Community Bees as part of the Bungay Festival and aims to promote awareness and enjoyment of the essential relationship between people, plants and bees.

After the success of last year’s event which attracted around 1000 people, Bungay Community Bees have invited Heidi Hermann, Founder Trustee of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, to talk about swarming – perhaps the most exhilarating event of a honeybee colony’s annual lifecycle. The Natural Beekeeping Trust was formed in response to the critical situation of the honeybee which has led many beekeepers to question approaches to beekeeping that rely on chemical inputs and to seek to improve the wider landscape in which bees live.

Co-Founder of Bungay Community Bees Elinor McDowall said: ‘We’re very lucky to have Heidi Hermann joining us on the 15th. It’s the first time she’s spoken in East Anglia and this is a great opportunity for local beekeepers and those interested in bees to come and hear about this growing new holistic take on bee husbandry’.

Building on the theme of this year’s Bee Hive Day, Rose Titchiner of Bungay Community Bees will explain how we can provide year-round plants and habitats for bees, pollinators and wildlife . She’ll introduce Bungay Community Bees’ Get your Garden Buzzing project – a bee-friendly plant labelling scheme that can be used by any garden centre. Meanwhile there will be a Bee and Flower Walk around Bungay’s diverse green spaces, local author (and TFP editor), Charlotte Du Cann reading from her latest book 52 Flowers That Shook My World, a screening of the highly acclaimed film Queen of the Sun and a panel discussion. Waveney Beekeeping Group and Bungay Community Bees will display hives, equipment and information to show how honeybees work and how they can be supported by beekeepers.

Information stalls and displays covering all aspects of beekeeping and pollinators will be complemented by those selling bee-friendly plants, seeds, bee-related crafts and of course honey! There will be an activities area where children and adults can make their own bug hotels, beeswax lip balm or get their faces painted and a quiet reading corner stocked with bee books and magazines. Bungay Community Kitchen will provide refreshments.

You’ll find a .pdf of the programme and details of all our speakers here

Bungay Beehive Day is at the Festival Marquee, Castle Meadow, Bungay, Suffolk, 10.30am-4.30pm. For further information contact Gemma Parker on 07540 724395 or email

Images: Introduction to Beekeeping Day by Jonathan Goldberg (Transition Kensal to Kilburn) ; Bee and Flower walk for Bungay Beehive Day, 2011 by Muhammad Amin.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Welcome to our regional weeks from the East!

This is an introduction to the regional weeks on the Transition Network Social Reporting Project.

Welcome to our first Regional Week where the Social Reporters and their guest bloggers will be introducing their respective regions. Forming networks of Transition initiatives is one of the key ingredients in the third stage of The Transition Companion and one of the main reasons we began this blog was to hear voices and experiences from inititiatives all around the UK and connect up the dots. We plan to run our regional weeks every two months, beginning in London in October.

We're kicking off in the East, which was a hot topic amongst the Eastern initiatives when we were setting up gatherings and a support network in 2009. What defined Transition East? How could we form alliances and give each other a hand? East Anglia is a bio-region characterised by its waterlands - slow rivers, fens and marshes - and the arable land that grows much of the country's grain. Its heartland is Suffolk, Norfolk, east Cambridgeshire and north Essex. The geographic East of England encompasses all those counties, plus Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. We decided to include all the counties, though in practice (due to distance and cultural orienteering of places and people), it is mainly East Anglia.

Many of us that met at the first gathering in Downham Market are still in touch with each other. We don't visit each other as much as we did (blame peak oil!), but we know who to get in touch with in a string of market towns and communities across the region: ranging from Shane Hughes in Bedford in an arc that crosses the estuaries and big sky country, down to to Graham Burnett in Southend-on-Sea (here teaching permaculture in Bungay). We help kickstart new initiatives, we speak at each others' events. We meet up in all kinds of situations, in farms and in church halls, at events ranging from an agricultural meeting in Ipswich, Cambridge storytelling in a Norwich school, a Transition Talk Training in Colchester, Festival of Transition in Stowmarket, and at the Waveney Greenpeace fairs.

So here to map out how it all began is Gary Alexander, Trustee of the Transition Network, founding member of Transition Diss and Diss Community Farm, and the originator of the Transition East regional support group (here on the right setting off to the Transition Conference 2011 - the top pic from a Transition Suffolk meet-up is from Rogueing in the Wheat and other Transition Gatherings by Mark Watson). Charlotte Du Cann

Transition Towns, but also regions, nations and world? by Gary Alexander

I’m very pleased to have been invited to open the series of reports on the role of regional networks in the Transition Movement. I have thought that to be very important since I first became active in Transition, and I’ve been involved in various ways, from helping to set up ‘Transition East’ (East Anglia in the UK) to the National Hubs.

If we are to pioneer community solutions to peak oil, climate change and especially our economic challenges, these must be inherently collaborative. Market-based solutions, where people are working against each other, where the purpose of an activity is to make money rather than promote the wellbeing of people and planet, are at the heart of our problems.

But it isn’t obvious how such a collaborative culture would work, at all scales. Most Transition groups and their activities are separately cooperative, but too often individual projects are not actively linked to other activities either locally or elsewhere. They miss out on the mutual learning and support that could make all the difference between success and failure.

These are some of the issues that have led to the spontaneous formation of regional groupings all over, which might be within a large town or city, a region of a nation, or a national group in the case of the new national hubs.

To give you a sense of how this can work, and also how difficult it can be, I’ll describe some of the events in Transition East over recent years, as I have experienced them.

TIs in East Anglia, UKBy 2009, there were a growing number of Transition Initiatives around East Anglia, ranging from large and well established in Norwich and Cambridge, to tiny and aspirational in some rural places. Several moves to bring us together arose spontaneously: a Google group for discussions, a blog, and many of us had met at a Training in Norwich. Then Downham Market organised our first Transition East Regional Meeting. It was like a mini-version of the Transition annual conference, with open spaces, mappings and shared meals for about 40 people from about 12 initiatives.

Downham MeetingAt it, we proposed setting up a regional network and also a regional support group composed of people who would co-ordinate the regional network and take an overview of Transition in our region. We found a lot of enthusiasm for this.

Our idea was that the purpose and function of the regional support group would be based upon ‘viable system’ principles. It certainly had no power or authority. (How could it?) It would be to promote information sharing (What’s going on & is it going well? Help with difficulties.), Synergy (How well are groups interacting, working together?) Liaising and Planning, Identity and Policy (What are our values? Policies? Goals?) The image was of the various transition groups and projects in our region working together as though we were a single organism!

The regional support group met several times, and in itself was a useful sharing of information between different groups, but it was more about what was happening and what immediate problems we were facing than the more ambitious functions above.

Later in 2009, there was a second regional meeting in Diss. The Diss group organised the hosting (venue, food, transport), while the regional support group organised the programme. One useful innovation was a ‘transition troubleshooting’ session, similar to an open space, but concentrating on the difficulties groups were having (conflict, burnout, lack of volunteers and resources...). Charlotte Du Cann contacted all the initiatives in the area and produced an excellent report.

transition suffolk attendeesThe following year there were no full regional meetings, but there were a couple of smaller, sub-regional meetings, each with people from a few initiatives. These were both provoked by the Stoneleigh talk at the national Transition Conference, predicting economic collapse in the near future! What should we do about that?

Old Hall communityMost recently, in late 2011, there was a regional meeting at Old Hall community, in East Bergholt, with about 40 transitioners from 13 initiatives. We had a fascinating tour of the community, which had been running for about 40 years. There was an interesting proposal for an East Anglian transition currency that we could all use. As the years had passed, it was clear that some ‘Transition’ groups were no longer active but in their place were active ‘transition’ projects (and especially food projects), not officially connected with Transition Network, more autonomous but still with the same spirit. For example, Transition Diss was no longer active, but Diss now has the Diss Community Farm.

Disscussions at Old HallWhere does this leave us? We had very ambitious plans for our regional network, way beyond what we achieved. (And perhaps this is true of most transition initiatives as well.) Very little happened in the aftermath of these events. Not much was actually implemented. But every event and meeting we held was quite universally appreciated by all who attended. We could all see how much was going on overall, so our own little parts seemed more significant. We could share our difficulties with people who faced similar ones, which felt great. We enjoyed ourselves in good company and had excellent pot-luck shared meals. Isn’t that enough?

Perhaps, if and when Stoneleigh’s predictions come home to roost (and that still looks likely to happen soon!) we will be forced to take much more drastic actions than we are now and all these preliminary actions will have paved the way.

Thursday 28 June 2012

DOWNHAM MARKET: Incinerator Protest in Norwich - 29 June

Norfolk County Council is threatening West Norfolk with a mass burn incinerator. Like nuclear waste, it is perfectly safe. It is to be sited 2 miles from King’s Lynn, near farming land and near the Wash, with its shellfish beds.

Nobody in West Norfolk wants this – 90% of 65,000 polled said NO INCINERATOR. The campaign against it are King’s Lynn Without Incinerator (KLWIN) and the Farmers’ Campaign. In 2010 there was a 400 strong demonstration outside the Town Hall (from a population of 30,000). When BBC Question Time visited Lynn, the unofficial mention of the incinerator stopped the show!

West Norfolk musicians and poets, a number in DOWNHAM AND VILLAGES IN TRANSITION, got together and made a CD of excellent and pertinent songs and poems about the incinerator. They then launched a Living Room Tour, where they performed in people’s houses and sold the CD, thus raising over £300 for the KLWIN campaign.

On Friday 29th June at 10.00 a.m. at County Hall, the Planning Committee will decide whether to build the incinerator despite the overwhelming public opposition. A lot of people are going to invade Norwich to protest and we will be singing our Incinerator Hymn! Come and join us!

For background read Transition Norwich's "Dash for Ash" story by Andrew Boswell here