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

Monday, 7 April 2014

Three practical local projects: do join us!

Furzedown Low Carbon Zone
We had a productive monthly planning meeting last week - please see the minutes and actions here
In outline we're at the stage of visiting local partners to explore sites where there is space and interest to be involved by 'hosting' renewable energy generation equipment - whatever technology is appropriate - and sharing in the benefits.
A second stage will be to engage with local people who can become involved as co-owners of a community generation scheme. The Furzedown Festival in June is a target for that, certainly for informal sharing of the project.
Next planning meetings are on 8th May and 3rd June in Furzedown...please come along if you would like to be involved at this stage. Details will be on the TTT Events Calendar on this blog. Contact us on this email link for any further information.

Eighth series of our 'Carbon Conversations' meetings
We are going to offer a free series of local Carbon Conversations from the 19th May to early July this year. Running on Monday evenings, this will be a set of six participative meetings which enable individuals to discuss, understand and take control of their carbon footprint, and work out ways to reduce energy consumption and expenses.

It's a very engaging and practical set of meetings.....and even fun.
We'll cover home energy, food, travel and transport, and general consumption of 'stuff'.
All the details are in the flyer for this next series: please click here.
Please contact Charles at TTT's email address with any questions.

'Cleaner Air 4 Communities' Project
This project brings citizen science and local action to the challenge of measuring and advocating for clean air. The toolkit - click here to link to a pdf copy - describes some of the steps that can be taken by a community group.
Graham Petersen recently took part in air quality measurement at Clapham Junction, with the Battersea Society (there's a case study on this experience in the toolkit). There is some funding available to support this project, and Graham is investigating that, with a view to improving air quality in Tooting. Please use the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone contact email for more info.

All welcome to join in with these three projects. Please get in touch!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Macro & Micro

Trying to read today's report from the IPCC about the effects of climate change on our planet, along with a mass of media commentary, feels like swimming through treacle, but the overall message is clear: the climate is changing like never before and with a high degree of certainty, the activities of our species are the major contributor. 
Watch the BBC's short animation
Though that might be evident to some (interested in for example and in no particular order peak oil, resource depletion, unsustainable fishing, pollutative extraction, toxic waste ... please go on ad nauseam to yourself), it's always good to get a reminder of the situation we face.  Human activity is screwing up the planet for humans and countless other species on a monumental scale.

So here in south London, TTT is one of the global network of Transition Towns trying to take actions at the micro level to turn this destructive juggernaut around.  Not easy and it can seem like a drop in the ocean, but then an ocean does actually come from many raindrops ... "raindrop" here was our successful growing & seed swap event aiming to reconnect people to the growing cycle and the possibility of greater sustainability, and we hope that Tooting will be full of fruit, vegetables and flowers as a result.  Congratulations to Caroline Partridge, the lucky winner of one month's worth of vegetables, generously donated by Abel and Cole.  Caroline happened across the event on her walk through Tooting on Saturday and has since planted plenty of the seeds out in pots in her garden.  We hope you enjoy your prize Caroline!

Meanwhile, Tooting Community Garden tips for growing potatoes, runner beans and sweetcorn can be found by clicking the picture of all those lovely Foodival growers from last autumn.  Will you be joining them?  Could you grow Tooting's biggest sunflower?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Growing Connections as Spring Arrives

The clocks are about to go forward and it’s officially spring time!  We celebrated the start of a new growing season by donating and swapping over one hundred packets of seeds with local people on Saturday.  The event aimed to encourage and support people, young and old, in growing food and flowers in whatever space they have.
It was a great opportunity to bring people together. We met some wonderful characters.  Two women excitedly took handfuls of seeds to share with friends and family, and a man, we coaxed in with offers of kale, shared a beautiful tale about how the scent of broad beans takes him back to his childhood in Cyprus.

Following on straight after Foodcycle,there were plenty of activities to entertain everyone. Heather, from Tooting Library, told stories like Jack and the Beanstalk; Sharon taught us how to make origami seed pots from newspapers; Belinda helped us make flowers out of plastic bags for the story walk on 5th May; and Stephanie wowed us all with paper making from straw collected from the wheat harvest at the garden last year.
One visitor summed it up, saying: “The paper making workshop was amazing. I’ve never seen paper made of straw! I enjoyed chatting with the gardeners and for the price of a piece of my overgrown mint plant, I left with poppy seeds, wild sweet peas, radish, sunflowers and hollyhock seeds – all grown in Tooting and so all the more special as I know that they could do well again this year. Thank you.”

People as young as five and as old as seventy five took away sunflower seeds collected from the community garden, to grow at home.  Tooting Community Garden is running a challenge this year to see who can grow the tallest sunflower in Tooting.  All you have to do is take a photo of the sunflower you have grown this summer and post it to our Facebook page.  We’ll announce the winner at Foodival (13-14 September). JT

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Spring Growing Celebration & Seed Swap

Keen gardeners and even those with not-so-green fingers are invited to come along to a Spring growing celebration and seed swap, this Saturday 22nd March in Tooting. The event will aim to show how easy it can be to grow your own produce, even if you don’t have a garden or allotment.

Click 4 Flyer
Event organizer Jenny Teasdale said: "Anyone can grow food and flowers, whether you have a garden, a balcony or just a windowsill.  We want local people to come along on Saturday to learn about growing, to share their expertise and seeds, and to meet new friends and neighbours.”

There will also be free activities on the day including story telling, papermaking, flower making and seed sowing.

You don’t have to be an expert gardener to attend or even have anything to swap. Tooting Community Garden are donating seeds and seedlings, many of which if started now, will produce vegetables in time for Tooting Foodival, the annual festival, now in its 7th year, celebrating locally grown food, cooked by local restaurants and served up free to the community, which will take place 13-14th September.

The Spring growing celebration will take place in the Mushkil Aasaan community space at 222 Upper Tooting Road from 2-4pm.  We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

TTT SMArT Notice board update: 18th March 2014

Arts & Making Happening Right Now In Tooting, courtesy of SMArT
The newest items on the board this week are are on yellow post-its. You can email Jeni for more info on Alternatively just take the contact details from the post-it you are interested in.

Great news for our next Meet & Make!
Cressida from the Wandle Valley Girls Project has very kindly offered share the project with us as our feature make for April and you are invited. Attendees work will be exhibited as part of the chealsea fringe. ( work can be collected to keep at the end).
Just for this special workshop Jeni is asking for people to let her know if they are planning to come so we can be sure of numbers. Cressida will be providing transported materials, and her expertise at cost and effort so lets make the most of this fantastic opportunity! email Jeni on

Dates for your diary

9th April: Meet & Make - Sprout - Wandle Valley Girls Project  
14th May: Meet & Make - Sprout - Furzedown Oak project 
11th June: Meet & Make - Sprout - Activity TBC 
9th July: Meet & Make - Sprout - Activity TBC

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Spring Growing Celebration & Seed Swap

All welcome, and all activities are free:
  • Meet the Tooting Community Garden team and local growers in your area
  • Pick up seeds, swap seeds, plant seeds and celebrate growing food and flowers in any space
  • Activities – story telling, flower making, paper making from wheat straw grown in garden, and seed sowing
  • Help us map the green spaces and gardens in and around Tooting
Don't worry if you don't have seeds to swap, just pop in and take some seeds with you to grow, donated by Tooting Community Garden and other local growers.

And: the Tooting Foodival. We're also encouraging local gardeners to grow and donate vegetables for this year's Foodival, which will be on September 13th and 14th.
The Foodival is a celebration of local growing, cooking and eating - and a lot of fun.
Much more information to come through the spring and summer. Have a look at what we did in 2013 by clicking on FOODIVAL in the top line of this blog page - and talk to us at the Seed Swap about getting involved in '14.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Ecobuild 2014

This year's Ecobuild had plenty to catch the eye and ear.  I was particularly interested in the Resource section on reuse and the circular economy. Here's three projects which sounded good:
  • The RSA's Great Recovery Project about how redesigning systems can help conserve valuable resources and minimise waste. 
  • The London Re-use Network who give young people a chance to develop skills repairing unwanted household items which are then provided to those most in need, in social housing for example, at the same time saving more dumping in landfill. 
  • Rentez-vous which enables women to rent fashion items from each other and from fashion houses rather than buying wardrobes full of things rarely to be worn.
Meanwhile a seminar we attended on Community Energy will definitely be helpful for the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone project.  As well as these highlights, Ecobuild as usual hosted the best in sustainable design, construction and renewable energy.  It's invariably an inspiring event to sample all the latest ideas and to gather useful information.             dt

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Growth in the Tooting Community Garden

On a sunny day, after 7 weeks with mean temperatures a couple of degrees warmer than normal, it's easy to hope that spring is here. (But last year there was a hard frost in March). Have a look below at some encouraging views in the Community Garden today:

Robin's-eye view: autumn-sown garlic is looking good
We photograph these every year

Winter wheat: future sourdough bread
for the Tooting Foodival!
March 25th 2013: Reception children inspect a perfect disc of ice
Next to bloom: it look like it will be the primroses.
The Community Garden is open every Sunday from 11:00-1:00, and we're located at 5 North Drive, SW16 1RN, opposite Tooting Common. More info on our Facebook page.
Don't forget to come along to our Seed Swap (and more) event from 14:00-17:00 on 22nd March at 222 Mushkil Aasaan, Upper Tooting Rd.
All welcome!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Meet & Make update from SMArT

The Meet & Make at Sprout last Wednesday was really relaxing. The next time I feel like stepping off the treadmill of life for a few moments I might just reach for another 'cathedral window' quilting project which was our featured craft. Just look what we achieved in the 2 hours! It turns out it is more simple to do than it looks.Thanks go to Grandma Lawes in Salisbury who was caring enough to share this skill with me and, now lots of us.
All hand sewn
and to keep you up to date with Arts In Transition locally, here is the SMArT Notice Board.
Things are warming up
for info or questions about making and arts in Tooting you can send Jeni an email on

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

"An experience none of us will forget..."

Celebrating the Community Garden & Gatton School rain water catchment project.

In November and December 2013 we posted blog reports about the 'Big Build' project that we've been doing in the garden with Year Six children and staff from Gatton School, and with TTT volunteers. 
We ran this for seven weeks, and today we managed to get all the main parties together to celebrate the successful completion of the project, and thank everyone who contributed.

YES it rained a lot in January, and the water butts are full: with a theatrical flourish we lifted the lid off one of them and gazed admiringly at the beautiful water.

NO we don't need the water now! But last summer we ran out completely, and we want to garden within the natural limits of the place. Accommodating unpredicatable weather is going to be a key growing skill in the future!

And as well as creating a tangible result with the project, we went through a fascinating process over the series of sessions with the children and volunteers. To see all the past TTT blog entries for highlights and pictures, click on Community Garden in the 'Cloud' section on the right hand side of this blog page, below the Tweets. 
And we'll share our learning as a practical case study.

Today, eight children combined to give a speech they wrote themselves about the project (and also said a bit about the whole experience of coming to the garden). If you would like to read the whole speech by the children , please click here. Here are some of their delightful words:

"Our newest project, to build a 'state of the art' water shelter, was an experience that none of us will forget. We helped to saw the wood, make concrete (not cement!) and build the structure. I doubt if any other experience we have will beat this one." 

"All this has been a phenomenal and amazing experience for us. We have not only benefited by learning to make a difference to the community that we live in but also how to be worthy citizens who are aware of what being eco-friendly really means." 

"For some of us, who have only seen vegetables in the supermarket, we were amazed to find out that potatoes grow underground and that sunflowers grow as big as our heads!"   

We were also very pleased to welcome Naseem Aboobaker from Mushkil Aasaan, the local social care service which owns the garden site. In 2011 she talked to us in TTT about using the land for a community garden. Thank you, and we appreciate that trust!
Thanks to Malik Gul of the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network for joining us, too.

More thanks to Richard who designed the structure - without his energy (and tools), the project would have remained just another nice idea.
And respect to all the volunteers - twelve of us - who have been flexible and amazingly cheerful!
Gatton School funded the water butts, the new timber and roofing materials: thank you! Special gratitude to the school kitchen for making the delicious tiffin today.

Most thanks are due to the 60 Year Six children who were so involved with this. 
Now we'll aim to develop something together for the spring and summer which will catch all our imaginations in the same way - and link with the School's Eco Project. We're continuing to offer outdoor learning with the Reception classes, too.

If you would like to contribute to this school project, or join in with other Community Garden activities, please email us

  All welcome!