Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change (FOR TEN YEARS!)

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Growing Community across London - Part 2

Our previous blog post describes Growing Community Part 1 - and to recap in the last week of July our long-planned collaboration between Ravenstone School and Tooting Community Garden offered two interlinked local 'Growing Community in the Heart of the City' workshops as part of The Mayor of London's National Park City Festival

The common green thread running through both events was celebrating city growing and the outdoors, creating an environment which is good for ourselves, for the community and for nature.

Blog post Part 1 describes the Ravenstone School event on July 22.
Here we're sharing what we did together in the second of the two events, the Tooting Community Garden open day on July 28th.

The garden team of a dozen volunteers met early (no Sunday lie-ins) to put up signs, hang our TTT bunting, set up activities and then provide a warm welcome and an invitation to join in the day in any way people wished. We wanted to demonstrate that being outdoors together is accessible and enjoyable.

Over 80 people came along on a Sunday with an on-off forecast for rain. We decided to not put up gazebos, and we were all rewarded with a lovely afternoon.

The welcome table gave a focus for saying hello and having a chance to talk with visitors who either explored the garden, relaxed or joined one of our fun and practical activity workshops:

1. Creating vertical wall planters with Paul: sharing environmental, DIY, creativity and urban growing benefits.

2. Being guided by Sharon to select plants and re-purposed containers to take home - building growing skills and wellbeing.

3. Joining Jane's 'Drawn to Nature' drawing workshop: enjoying taking time to observe and be present, with wellbeing and drawing practice benefits.

4. Annie's creative workshops in the family zone: sharing benefits of creating together in unusual ways across generations or with people new to you and learning fun techniques to take home.

Feedback from visitors included:
'A lovely place, and lovely people' 'A lovely celebration of nature and community spirit' 'The day was beautiful, well thought-out and sustainable' 'A nice peaceful day and a great community feel' 'Loved the community feeling and how positive and welcoming everyone has been' 'What a lovely garden, and such friendly people. We'll be back'

Our own responses to the day?
It was very affirming for the Community Garden team to welcome so many people who enjoyed what we offered together. Sundays in the Garden are fun and informal, and it was a good challenge to do something different, facilitating an engaging and outward-looking day.
Plus, it was our 8th birthday as a garden project since being generously offered use of the land by Naseem Aboobaker.  

Many volunteers have opened the Garden space on over 400 Sundays. 
That's worth celebrating!

Thanks to all the volunteers: Amanda, Annie, Chuck, Deb, Jane, Kay, Keith, Paul, Ryan, Sharon & Tom. A big shout out to our new friends and qualified first aiders Alice & Charlie who joined us on the day to provide that cover - thankfully they had no cause to leap into action. Kudos to photographer Bryony Williams for images used here (plus more for another time) and to Kay and Chuck for other pictures in this blog.

Everyone is welcome to join us at the Community Garden every Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 (sometimes later into the afternoon). No experience necessary and we share any updates or changes on our Tooting Community Garden Facebook and Instagram pages.

The annual Tooting Foodival - our twelfth! - is TTT's next big community event! It's taking place on Saturday 14th September and we hope to see you there - it's going to be great!

Growing Community across London - Part 1...

130 people joined us for 2 events during London National Park City Festival Week!

Our 2 linked workshops, called Growing Community in the Heart of Wandsworth, invited people to come and get their hands dirty learning how to make vertical planters, potting on, creating leaf pressings and loads more. They also created a lasting echo in both locations, read on to find out more...

The first event was at Ravenstone Primary School on Monday 22nd July. What struck me most about this day was that we had way more young people than adults and all the young people wanted to get active.
The cloth planters were made using a staple gun, here's Kate and Chuck in action. 
These four friends knew exactly what they were doing making cloth planters 
These guys loved moving muck and making a wee home for their plants.

A big element of our day was to give a workshop on making vertical planters. Why? To show what can be made with largely waste materials - pallets, any cloth, cardboard tubes from carpet shops and homemade compost. Paul Wilson gave a fantastic session on the pallet planters, encouraging people young and old to get involved.

Paul in action taking through the endless possibilities of a pallet

All planted up and ready to go!
Grandpa/son tackle the drill

The day also inspired a diverse range of volunteers who not only helped deliver the event, but also had time to catch up, share experiences and enjoy the day. HUGE thank you to Miranda, Tara, Paul and Paul, Sarah, Mary, Peter, Claire and Claire and Veronica.

Big up the Volunteer Team!
We were planting for community, for ourselves and for nature. At Ravenstone, the vertical planters for community will be used in a brand new Wild Place for Nature. This project, led by parent volunteers and quite literally digging up the asphalt down to the subsoil to build up new planting areas and provide much needed connection to nature for the 400 children at the school, not to mention parents, teachers and staff.

Everyone got to take a plant home and, of course, all the planting was good for nature.

Feedback, child-style... do we really hate plants??
Both events for part of a London wide National Park City Festival with events happening over 9 days and the announcement by Mayor Sadiq Khan of London being the world's first National Park City. Many more Cities across the World have their eyes on London and are exploring what National Park City status means for them. For us, its about advocacy for green and blue spaces in celebration for all that they give us. Its also about feeling part of a much bigger ecological and social system across London whenever we come and garden at home, at Ravenstone or at Tooting Community Garden. Its a fantastic response to the Climate Crisis, embracing imagination, communities and wonder in making London healthier, greener and wilder.

Blog 2 will be all about the linked workshop at Tooting Community Garden, keep those eyes peeled!

Follow London National Park City Foundation HERE
And their website HERE
Check out the National Park City Festival Website HERE

Saturday, 27 July 2019

99% Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

Just as a marker for the next time you encounter anyone who doubts or denies Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) aka warming of the planet caused by the actions of humans, an article in the Guardian this week explains that the scientific consensus on this is now over 99%. I guess most readers of this blog don't really need persuading but ... if like me you still know a few people who think it's all a big lie, this page could be worth linking to at some point.
The impact of global warming denial cannot be underestimated, with plenty of vested interests, for example those corporations that benefit from the continued burning of fossil fuels or cutting down of forests (and there quite a lot of them), keen to invest in putting a dissenting point of view out there. With media coverage often seeking to put both sides of a story, a vocal minority with no scientific backing can get their views amplified.  The skeptical science blog for example, referenced in the Guardian article, shows that in 2018 despite near total scientific consensus, the public perception that there actually is a scientific consensus for AGW was only around 50%!!!

There are plenty of reliable sources that support this view. The NASA website lists loads mainly in America, but they are apparently under pressure from vested interests to remove this information.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been clear for some time on the subject: 
“Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.”
(From Summary for Policy Makers 2014

If you know any other reliable reviews of the subject or good debunking of denial, or even some persuasive denial (ha ha!) please do send TTT a link and we'll be happy to quote it. DT

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Growing Community in the Heart of the City: two linked local events offered as part of The Mayor of London's National Park City Festival

'Growing Communities in the Heart of the City' is this weekend in the Tooting Community Garden!
We'll be running our free open day on Sunday 28th July from 12:00-4:00 to celebrate the National Park City Festival and also our 8th birthday (we've opened the garden on around 400 Sundays!)


What will we be doing on Sunday?
  • Welcoming everyone to come along and enjoy the space - no need to book.
  • Bring a picnic, and we'll provide activities, green space, shade and plenty of cool water!
  • We're offering a particular welcome to families with young children or babies - come and have some outdoor time in a safe and welcoming place.
  • We'll have a range of fun garden-themed activities for families and young children.
  • We're also offering three timed workshops, just drop in:
    • 12:30 - 1:30, learn about making vertical wall planters so you can garden anywhere with very little space
    • 1:00 - 2:00, learn about selecting and taking care of plants, and choose some to pot up and take home
    • 2:30 - 3:30, be 'Drawn to Nature' and join our plant life drawing workshop for adults and teenager
  • Of course you can simply come along and enjoy being in the garden - so do bring a blanket to sit on and a picnic.

All welcome!
You can follow Tooting Community Garden on Facebook and Instagram - join us!


We're celebrating city growing and the outdoors, creating an environment which is good for ourselves, for the community and for nature.

We also facilitate other community programmes in the Community Garden. 
For six years we have run outdoor learning with Gatton School and garden and wellbeing activities with the beneficiaries at CARAS the Tooting charity working with asylum-seekers and refugees.  

We're proud to be able to offer to share the space with everyone locally and also very grateful to Naseem Aboobaker of Mushkil Aasaan for the free use of her land to create this community garden during these years.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Time to be growing for the Foodival!

There are over two growing months until the Tooting Foodival.

That's plenty of time to grow local vegetables from scratch to donate or cook for the Foodival community festival on September 14th.

What can you grow well in your garden, containers or window box in a couple of months?
Who can you get involved? There's a school summer holiday soon, and could the children be in charge? The RHS has a guide to getting children interested in gardening, here.

The varieties below will all grow fast.
Click on the vegetables in the list for more information from gardening websites.
Are some of these new to you? Try them out:






Kohl Rabi  and Beetroot
are worth a try too.

Click here to download a copy of these suggestions with the links to the gardening websites.

What else could be grown quickly? Please share your ideas with us all: Tooting Foodival and Tooting Community Garden are on Instagram, and the garden is on Facebook too.

Happy growing and see you at the Foodival. 
It will be great to see your produce and we'll add you to our 'I Grew This!' poster, 2019 edition

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Restart & Sewstart Party Sat July 6th

Help us break the myth that things can’t be fixed!  
Do you have broken electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away? Or a favourite piece of clothing that needs mending or altering? Check out these happy fixers from our last session in May - who mended a pancake maker, a rucksack and a handheld vacuum cleaner! 

Maybe you’re already great at fixing and mending stuff – or you’d like to learn how? We have a great and growing groups of local fixers working together to solve problems and sort out fixes… 

Our head fixer, Mike Grahn, recently featured in the celebration of Volunteers Week– have a read of this lovely piece

Mike says: "We help fix, show how to fix and expel the myth that things can’t be fixed. Throwing away electronics as soon as they don’t work anymore is a mind-set that needs to be changed. And I can see from my involvement in Restart, that there are lots of community-minded people starting to change their opinions on how they view tech.”  

Or maybe you fancy a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chance to find out more about Transition Tooting and what we get up to? Come along between 13.30 - 16.30 on 6th July 7th Sept 9th Nov Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nando’s) 

(Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please don’t forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing! More info about Restart including details of regular skillshares at

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

TTT Meeting notes for June Monthly Meeting

Thanks to Richard for chairing the June TTT meeting. Subjects covered included:
  • Renewable Energy (Heide)
  • TTT Governance (Lucy)
The full notes can be found HERE.  

Our next open meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 9th July, keep an eye on the TTT diary for time (it'll be about 7/7.30) and location. All welcome to offer items for the agenda, speak or just come to listen in and discover what TTT is about.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Jellybrella: TTT's invitation to be creative

A second set of photos of our Jellybrella creative workshop on May 11th. These  are all about the day as an invitation to be creative...welcoming people in new ways...and what participants thought about it.

All the background on this participative creative community sustainability project is in a past blog post - please click here It includes "what and why is a Jellybrella?" 

We asked for feedback and below there's a photo of two of the evaluation forms completed on May 11th (click here to enlarge):

We're proud that participants found the Jellybrella day welcoming and inviting.

Reaching parts we had not expected, David even wrote a very special Jellybrella song for one young girl who is a fan of Morrissey (think 'Jacky's Only Happy When She's Up On The Stage').

May 11th lyrics here

About 60 people came along on May 11th; over half were children. The participants were very diverse: half were english and half from many other places: several European and S Asian countries - and Mexico!

In our earlier adult workshops in March and April the balance was 2/3 of participants from countries other than the UK.
Lastly, everyone was from other countries in our February family workshop with CARAS refugee family participants. 65 took part in that workshop (2/3 were children).

A total of 140 people of all ages and cultures took part in our 5 Jellybrella workshops.

We're going to write up our collective reflections on the Jellybrella project, and we'll share our learning soon.

And we'll share our ideas for Jellybrella 2!

Friday, 17 May 2019

May 2019 Newsletter

This month's newsletter can be read HERE

Don't forget tomorrow's Restart/Sewstart Party at Mushkil Aasaan 1.30 till 4.30. All welcome.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Making together to create a Jellybrella on Saturday

We were thrilled with the Jellybrella creative workshop on last Saturday May 11th which we facilitated at Sprout Arts in Furzedown as part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe.
The weather was mostly kind and we did most of the day outdoors. Thanks for all the support and to Nikki, David, Jane & Chuck for facilitating.

Lots of people came and many of them worked together - parents and children, friends, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren - as well as others who created solo.
It was fascinating to experience the energy of all these different relationships expressed in making together. 

Do you work closely, or independently? Is there a plan or are you both developing the Jellybrella as you go along? Who's leading? What's the energy like - thoughtful, stimulated, quiet, noisy?

These photos celebrate making together - and we'll share some more sets of photos on other aspects: happiness, pride, fun, wellbeing, surprise, working with the re-purposed materials, the Jellybrella's message & story. 

Jellybrella has been fascinating and we have a lot to reflect on in terms of community participation and carrying off bold ideas.
We also have more to share on the adult workshops that led up to this public event on Saturday.
If you missed it, here's a link explaining the Jellybrella project which we've been working with throughout this spring: