Aiming to tackle the big issues of climate change, peak oil, sustainability and scarce resources at a local level

Friday, 21 November 2014

Restart Party, Wed 3rd December - let's get stuff fixed!

Do you have an electrical or electronic item that needs fixing and don’t want to have to throw it away? 

After a fantastically successful evening in September we are delighted to announce that the Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics longer, have agreed to run a second “Restart Party” with TTT in Tooting next month.
Sound interesting? Then come along to the event. 

Restart Party at Mushkil Aasaan

220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW, 

Wednesday December 3rd from 6.30 - 9.30pm.


Challenge the culture of built-in obsolescence and take back control of all your electronic stuff! 

Do note that Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please do not forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing!

See great reports of our last event here and on How We Get to Next here.

Could we have a Tooting Restart Group so that we could hold more regular local Restart Parties?  If you are interested in the idea do come along on the night - or if you can't make it contact Hilary Jennings on

You might also be interested to know that Restart hold regular skillshare get togethers

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Growing, jenga, community energy and wellbeing at St George's Community Open Day, 15th Nov.

Thanks so much to St George's Healthcare NHS Trust for the invitation to have a stand at the Open Day last Saturday - our third year running.
And thanks to all who came to talk, share ideas, participate in the games for all ages, and sign up to our email lists to keep in contact. 

We chose three areas of what we do locally to share with visitors:
  • The Tooting Community Garden
  • Sustainable living and wellbeing games
  • Our sister project, the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone

Some high points included:
Playing with the planet: 
plotting the sources of common foods on the world map

Giant jenga, with green living tips

There were twelve volunteers on the varied activities through the day, and there was a lot of preparation...

Sometimes action takes over
...the most valuable aspect of the day was having the time to talk to visitors about plans and ideas.

Making drinks carton wallets

Rhubarb on the St George's Allotment

Doing the day together as a team was also special.

TTT and the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone have some great events happening in the next month - see our Events Calendar on the top right of this blog homepage.  

All welcome!


Plus: we are discussing future projects with St George's
We'll share news soon..

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Week 2 of the Insect Hotel

 On Tuesday 11th November, we enjoyed the second session of our Insect Hotel Project at the Community Garden, with Year 6 from Gatton Primary School in Tooting.

 Each week there is a new group of 10 students from the two classes of Year 6, so it's always good to welcome them to the garden before cracking into our project work. Charlie showed the 4000 yr old flint tool and the sea urchin fossil - found when the original veg beds were dug, only 3 years ago. Come along to witness them yourself.

Can you spot the eco-system Engineer?
It's always good to ask the simple questions for any TTT project we undertake and our schools work is no different.

 So why build an Insect Hotel? This week's group thought it would help the insects, give them protection and shelter and be a place to hibernate - all good, thoughtful points we reflected on for the rest of the session.

Cutting the corner posts for the Hotel
The measure...
...the cut...

 Each group of 3 students figured out how to mark out before cutting. In the session, we completed work on our 4 main supporting posts, made from re-purposed fence posts. 


  This engages maths, logical  thought and, of course, safe tool  use with every child using the  saw.

 Our group were brilliant -  engaged and enthusiastic  throughout.

St.Bug's Hotel!

Exploring Insect Habitat 

 Each week, we're playing with habitat by making a quick and dirty floor level hotel to inform the habitats we will place in the final structure. This weeks theme was crevices - nooks and crannies to encourage invertebrates and ladybirds - and was mostly built with tiles, twigs and an earth mound for our master ecosystem engineers - the humble worm. 

 So come along to the community garden, see the Insect Hotel emerge and explore the temporary accommodation the students of Gatton are creating! The Garden is open every Sunday, 11am to 1pm at 5 North Drive, Tooting, SW16 1RN.

Friday, 14 November 2014

'Growing Tooting' - the third theme for our stand at St George's tomorrow

We're keen to help more people - individuals, families, groups and clubs, enterprises - grow healthy local food in Tooting. Come and have a chat on Saturday at our stand at St George's about how we might do this together.

We'll be on the 1st floor in the Lanesborough Wing, in the Ingredients Restaurant.

We are so lucky to have the Tooting Community Garden, where we have enjoyable sessions every Sunday.

We also want to reach out to more people:
  • who can't get to the garden on a Sunday, 
  • or who would like to start their own growing space, 
  • or who have a garden and would like some ideas and advice, 
  • or who grow on a balcony and window box and want to be successful  'vertical gardeners'
  • and others...
 ...and including coming to join us at the Community Garden on Sundays, special project days, or at the Open Day in June..

We're calling this 9-month project 'Growing Tooting'

Between now and the Foodival in September '15, we'll offer and arrange guidance and workshops on many aspects of growing.
  • We'll encourage people to volunteer and get involved with others locally to look at many practical aspects of successful growing
  • We'll get to grips with Tooting's soil and conditions, with home composting and waste reduction, with choosing what and when to grow and harvest, plus sharing recipes and cooking - maybe cooking together outdoors over the summer.
We're not replacing the Community Garden - we want to widen the impact of what we are all trying to achieve in there.

We hope there will be more gardens flourishing in Tooting after these next months - we have some contacts already who have space and potential energy. If you come and chat at St George's tomorrow, we'll ask if you have some ideas for locations and groups who would like to garden and grow.

A successful Foodival will be a great milestone for the project as for the past seven years it has always drawn together many aspects of community growing - gardening and plants, social contacts and relationships, ideas and surprising achievements, enjoyment, fun and teamwork.

There are many diverse growing skills that we can share in Tooting!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Green living & games: a second theme for our St George's Open Day Stand

A theme we'll be looking at with our stand in the hospital at St George's all day on Nov 15th is green living, with games and activities to explore home and personal sustainability. Living green is a practical response at family and community level to global climate change.

Professor Chris Rapley's play / lecture called 2071 'explores the future of life on earth and climate change' this week at the Royal Court Theatre. Some of us from TTT saw the play today, and one of the conclusions is simple and powerful:
  1. Global population will probably stabilise - say at c9.5 billion
  2. That population will need energy
  3. That energy must be carbon-free for us to have a successful future
Blunt words.
Getting rid of 'carbon' in energy and production is not the only key to being sustainable and happy...but it's a core step. TTT have found the practical focus on everyday carbon reduction has been successful in the series of Carbon Conversations meetings we've offered locally since 2011. To see a recent run through of our 2014 series in six blog posts, click here - and we will be happy to talk about the meetings with visitors on Saturday.

What about games?

We know playing games is a simple (and sophisticated) way of understanding a new subject or rehearsing larger-scale challenges.

In Carbon Conversations, there are a lot of games - for example on our choices in managing home energy, and on travel options, and on 'where is the carbon in the food we use?'

Come along on Saturday and we guarantee you will enjoy our games for all ages: Giant Green Living Jenga, Food Mapping, Food Footprints, and making a Drinks Carton Wallet.

We've been making these wallets in Tooting since 2010 (last seen at the 2014 Foodival, where dozens were hidden around Tooting, each with a local chilli pepper and an invitation inside...).

Like to see a step-by step guide to make 
them at home?
1 First squash your carton, with a concertina fold in each side:
2 Fold into three and then....
  ...well, come along on Saturday and find out! 

Here are some finished wallets:

We look forward to seeing you all day on Saturday 15th at St George's, and all ages are welcome to come and play.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sustainable, Healthy and Resilient Tooting

We're hosting a TTT stand at St George's Community Open Day, this Saturday 15th Nov from 10:30 to 4pm. The event is held throughout the hospital and medical school . Do come and chat with us, and catch up with what we're doing - and we'd love to hear your ideas on what a more sustainable Tooting would look and feel like.  
We'll be upstairs on the first floor of the Lanesborough Wing, in the Ingredients Restaurant.

We're painting a new banner
We can talk about TTT plans, and about sustainable living, and about the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone. We'll have some fun on the stand too: we'll have games, activities, and things to make for all ages: so all are welcome.

We're doing three daily blog posts for the rest of this week to lead into the St George's Open Day, on three themes that make a green thread running through our activities:
  1. Enjoying the outdoors in Tooting
  2. Sustainable living and low-carbon games 
  3. The 'Growing Tooting' project
Please read on as we explore these themes, and come and chat about them on Saturday.

Enjoying the Outdoors in Tooting - one theme for our St George's Open Day stand

Come and talk to us at our stand at St George's Community Open Day on Saturday 15th Nov. about opportunities to get outside in Tooting. Outdoor Tooting can be a surprising and rewarding place for all ages, and TTT want to encourage more young people and adults to get outside - for fun, to play, for exercise, to meet people, to learn - & more.

Four glimpses of our outdoor project with Gatton School:                                                      

This morning we hosted 70 
Year 4 children, staff and parents who were investigating what's living in six different Community Garden habitats - with the group braving showers and wind.

The end of today's session, under the holm oak.
Time to go home, and now the sun has come out.

Last week, in one of the weekly sessions with Reception children


A year ago, Year Six made a practice DIY drainpipe system to learn about getting water from the roof to the butts for the rainwater harvesting build project. 
It worked!


Back in September, just before the Tooting Foodival, teenagers from The Challenge project helped to harvest potatoes at the Garden, and much more. 
(The rainwater build now doubling as an outdoor room, nice...)

Adults are welcome outdoors! 
Another way to enjoy being outside is to try on of FanSHEN Theatre's Tootingwalks: two audio tours of Tooting that you can download to your mobile, and then walk the guided tour - or load on your computer to preview at home, like a radio programme. 
For all the details online, click here
Chat with us about the Tootingwalks if you come to St George's.

Or, get ideas with Project Wild Thing: click here for info. Adults or young people can be bold and pledge to spend an hour outside for every hour spent looking at a screen.....try it!

We're going to plan some Wild Days Out(doors) in Tooting in 2015, and also show the  'Project Wild Thing' film one evening - keep in touch, chat at St George's, and come and get involved.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Pumpkin power in the Community Garden

We harvested our pumpkin today:

And within an hour or so, lunch was served (looks great, Diana!):

More pictures: click on GARDEN in the links at top of this page.  
All welcome any Sunday....
(to the Garden, I mean...and yes we should cook lunch there one day)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Our exciting outdoor programme with Gatton School continues

Since September we have had Year One groups coming every week to the Community Garden. It was a great run of sessions, and we didn't miss a day because of bad weather. 
All credit to the children, staff and volunteers.
Now we have Reception and Year Six children coming each week until the end of term. We'll share much more detail from both classes.
Meanwhile, here's a picture during last Tuesday's short window of sunshine with Reception. Isn't this an amazing leaf -

See the post below for news from the new Year Six programme.

Construction Begins on the Insect Hotel!

This week we embarked on our next garden-based project with Year 6 students and teachers from Gatton Primary School in Tooting. This follows the Rainwater Catchment and Cold Frame projects of last year, as reported in this blog and on the education page of Issue 6 in the Transition Free Press.

What is an Insect Hotel?
Over the next 7 weeks we will be making an Insect Hotel! Why? This particular project is interesting to us and the school because it turns our attention to creepy crawlies, master pollinators, mini beasts, ecosystem engineers! Essential members of the garden food chain, both up and down!

We'll be encouraging solitary bees, worms, ladybirds, invertebrates, centipedes and millipedes to move in - still doesn't tickle your fancy? How about spiders and wood lice, lacewings and stag beetles not to mention fungi and bacteria. All essential for enhancing biodiversity in the garden as well as the health of our wider ecosystem - something we all need.

It might look like this!
How will we do this? We'll focus on creating the habitats that they love to make a 5 Star, concierged, en suite bug palace. Who wouldn't want to move in!

The project engages carpentry skills, exploration into bug habitats, study into ecosystems, recycling and re-using of materials and will be an ongoing learning resource at the garden.

This first week, our main task was to start cutting the uprights for the structure of the hotel, defining its height. For this, we're re-using fencing timbers donated from our site at 5 North Drive.

You can find out more at Inspiration Green's Insect Hotels article and The Wildlife Trust Building an Insect Hotel Habitat