Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Team London's International Volunteering Conference, December 5th at London's City Hall

Egle, Jenny and Chuck were honoured to be able to present our shared experience from the joint CARAS + TTT 'Rooting in Tooting' project at this free conference yesterday. It was run by Team London to celebrate the end of London's tenure as International City of Volunteering for 2016. Over 300 people attended.

We tried to tell the story visually with pictures of participants and activities over 2015 and 2016. Here's a snapshot of our presentation:

You can look at the slides in the normal way by clicking here on the conference website. Our session was shared with Alkisti Macrynikola from Ethelon, an NGO in Greece who also work with refugees.

We emphasised the project benefits for the young people, for CARAS, for the community, and for TTT. A graphic facilitator captured the day's learning and stories, and Rooting in Tooting features in the top right of the image:

We're glad that some of the key points have come through - including achieving a 'Sense of Belonging' with the young people from the CARAS Youth Club. You can see the graphic full size by clicking here.
There's a lot of detail to explore!

The main hall - wow!
It was inspiring and too much to summarise in a few sentences - have a look at all the session presentations by clicking here. (Scroll right to the bottom of the page). One debate was whether 'volunteering' could be called 'social action' to make it sound more focused or more attractive to a different audience -'to be continued!'

London's City Hall is a great venue, and the whole event was very welcoming. Thank you for inviting us!

Tower Bridge, Chuck & Egle

The garden at Potter's Field

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

TTT 2016 Gardening Celebration tonight!

Tonight is the TTT 2016 Gardening Celebration - plus we're looking forward to exciting things in 2017. The event is at The Selkirk near Tooting Broadway from 7:00 pm.

To celebrate the celebration:
here are five current growing, gardening and sustainability events and ideas to follow up even if you can't make it tonight:

1 TTT attended the bi-annual Wildlife Gardening Forum last week at the Natural History Museum. This is always an amazing and cross-cutting event with around 100 participants - private gardeners, schools, local authorities, biodiversity and growing charities, researchers, enterprises.
The theme this time was learning from European experience in Germany, Belgium, Austria the Netherlands, Ireland (oh, and Scotland).
Why learn from Europe? Click on the photo...

We learned a German word - schwammstadt  - meaning 'sponge city'. A sponge city is redesigned to be responsive and adaptive to climate change impact and allow for more natural rainfall retention, reducing runoff. (See the event on December 8th in para 4 below).
Anyone can attend the Forum; it's a great day when you can meet experts and work out what ideas you can use yourself. And all the presentations appear for free on the WLGF website in due course.

2 TTT joined Capital Growth's 'Roots to Growth' workshop.
We looked at the experience and potential of farming as an enterprise within London.

There's tons of good info on the Capital Growth site - all these reports are free downloads.

While the pleasure and impact of growing together is not only about saving money and managing our budgets, what do you think is the annual value of the crops grown by 2000 London gardens linked to Capital Growth? Include crops for sharing, not only veg which are sold, so you can include Tooting Community Garden's pumpkins in the calculation. Have a guess - the answer is at the end of this blog.
We could take up the challenge of recording our crops - see the Harvest-ometer from Sustain.  
This kind of data is very valuable in order to be able to make our case for more growing in London!
TTT's friend Mark at Vertical Veg has documented the equivalent value of what he grows - click here to read about it.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Restart and Sew-vember

An afternoon of fixing and mending!

On Saturday 12th November Transition Town Tooting and Restart held an event to get people reusing their broken things. Local connecting hub Mushkil Aasaan hall was a hive of activity with many people so keen they turned up early!

  The Restart project is a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics longer in order to reduce waste.

And so for 3 hours on a very wet afternoon tooting residents brought their broken electronics to be fixed. Around 30 items were brought in to the event and the Restarters worked hard to get things up and running again or identify the problem and give advice on how the residents themselves could solve the problem if it needed parts.

A very lively corner of the room was the Sewvember tables. Set up by local maker Jeni, as part of the TTT Meet & Make workshop series, the aim was to assist people who had clothing, curtains and soft toys that need mending to repair them. Right from the outset there were people wanting assistance and taking advantage of the sewing machine. 

The day started out with one sewing machine but at one point two more had been brought in and there was a whole crowd mending things.

 The rain didn't deter anyone from turning up, it was busy all day right until closing, good thing there were plenty of refreshments to keep people going at the TTT cafe.

 With both restart and Sewvember the great things is that the people bringing the items are an integral part of solving the issues so they learned new skills and hopefully they will be able to be applied to other items they own that could be reused.

Can't wait till the next one. Look out for more Restart parties here https://therestartproject. org/parties/ and more crafty events here

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Gardens of Refuge: yes we are through to the finals of the Aviva Community Fund!

Brilliant success at the voting stage: Aviva Community Fund has just confirmed that we're through to the finals for the Gardens of Refuge project! 
We now do some further application steps by December 7th, and then there's judging and then the results are announced January 10th '17.
Great news & thanks for all the support!
To see the project description, click here:

Saturday, 19 November 2016

First feedback after voting closed Friday 18th on Gardens of Refuge via Aviva Community Fund

We're proud to share where we reached when voting closed yesterday on the Gardens of Refuge campaign with CARAS.   
Over 600 people supported the project online.
We believe we came THIRD, with over 6200 votes. 

Our formal ranking will be confirmed on 22nd Nov by Aviva & we'll communicate wider after then. 

If we're in the top 4 in our project category, we go through to the next round - to a more familiar bid process.

By the way votes went from 3400 on Weds morning to 6200 by lunchtime yesterday!

Thanks for your votes, patience and energy in this period of repeated messages and nudges in every medium possible, dominating the TTT airwaves.

Normal service can soon be resumed on communicating the rest of TTT's rolling projects.

Every vote really did count!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Please vote by 12:00 Friday November 18th for 'Gardens of Refuge' project funding from Aviva

This week is the home straight for voting online for funding support for Gardens of Refuge at the Aviva Community Fund. It will come down to our tally of votes at the end of 18th November, and of course the other 'Aviva projects' are also doing a push this week.

Please vote by Friday 12:00 for Gardens of Refuge, and ask your family and friends to vote too. Together we can support this creative and forward-looking Tooting partnership project with the refugee and asylum-seeker community centred on the Tooting charity CARAS.
Every Vote Counts, and every vote is appreciated!

How to vote?
You have to register individually before you can vote. To register, please click here for the Aviva webpage
Then search for CARAS or Gardens of Refuge to vote!

Project Details:
Read the description of the project online here.

For the future: bulbs for 2017
You'll see that the project is all about growing the therapeutic benefits of gardening plus greening the community we share in Tooting.
And it's about building ways to enable refugees to share their own knowledge and skills locally.
Together we'll imagine and create a more beautiful neighbourhood as a legacy for all.

Legacy: flourishing from 2015's cuttings
There are three partners in Gardens of Refuge:
CARAS - with whom we have worked in depth for 18 months on Rooting in Tooting.

The Grange - a residential respite and permaculture centre in Norfolk who work with CARAS. Please see The Grange.

& Transition Town Tooting

 Thank you so much for your support & please vote by 12:00 on 18th Nov!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Celebrating and sharing learning from our experience of 'Rooting in Tooting'

This autumn TTT is delighted to be able to contribute to events to share our learning from Rooting in Tooting (our joint project with the refugee and asylum seeker community served by CARAS)
It's brilliant to be meeting new people and groups, and sharing in different ways: thank you for the invitations!
We certainly don't 'have all the answers' but we would like to join others in asking questions and sharing practice.

There are 4 very diverse autumn 2016 events where we're celebrating or telling the Rooting in Tooting story:

1 The Royal Horticultural Society OneRHS managers conference
                  Credit: RHS / Julian Weigall
CARAS & TTT were honoured to be the only outside speakers at this event for 175 RHS managers. We had fascinating discussions about how the RHS can most effectively engage with community projects.

2 Team London Volunteer Awards 2016
TTT is thrilled to be on the awards shortlist in the Greening & Cleaning category of the Awards. We'll be joining other voluntary groups for the ceremony. Here's the Mayor's tweet on Monday morning: will celebrate the capital's volunteering heroes at tonight's at City Hall.

3 Cause2Create: "where we find specific, targeted solutions to challenges posed by the refugee crisis"
We're invited to Cause2Create's 'hack' weekend. "We know we’re not going to solve the refugee crisis in one weekend, but we can explore some of the specific challenges and develop scalable and actionable solutions."

4 International Volunteering Conference at City Hall, celebrating London as European Volunteering Capital 2016
CARAS & TTT are co-facilitating one of the conference workshops in December. Joining in with the Greek volunteering NGO Ethelon, the aim is to explore training and community engagement aspects of working well with refugees. What benefits do both refugees and communities experience when working together?

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Restart and Sew-vember - an afternoon of fixing and mending!

Come and join us on Saturday November the 12th for an afternoon of fixing and mending!

Whether it’s electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away

or a sewing machine that is broken or you’re not sure how to use.

Have a favourite piece of clothing that needs mending or altering and you’d like to learn how?  Or simply good at fixing and mending stuff.

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 on

Saturday 12th November, 2 - 5pm

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 www,


Friday, 21 October 2016

'Gardens of Refuge': our new partnership project for 2017 with CARAS & The Grange. Vote for funding online through the Aviva Community Fund!

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” (Audrey Hepburn)

We are thrilled that Gardens of Refuge, our new partnership project plan has reached the final public voting stage of the Aviva Community Fund! The project is centred on the refugee and asylum-seeker community who are supported by the Tooting charity CARAS.

Read the description of the project online here.

For the future: bulbs for 2017
Gardens of Refuge is listed under 'CARAS' on the Aviva Community Fund website.
You'll see that the project is all about growing the therapeutic benefits of gardening plus greening the community we share in Tooting.  
And it's about building ways to enable refugees to share their knowledge and skills locally to imagine and create a more beautiful neighbourhood as a legacy for all.
Legacy: flourishing from 2015's cuttings
There are three partners in Gardens of Refuge:
CARAS - with whom we have worked in depth for 18 months  on Rooting in Tooting.

The Grange - a residential respite and permaculture centre in Norfolk who work with CARAS. Please see The Grange.

& Transition Town Tooting

As of today, the website is live for the public to vote for the projects they would like Aviva to support. 
Voting is open until 18th November: but please don't delay!
Please vote and encourage Aviva to support Gardens of Refuge!  

You have to register individually before you can vote: to register, please click here for the Aviva webpage
Then search for CARAS or Gardens of Refuge to vote!
Thank you so much for your support, 
and please contact us by email if you have any queries.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Tooting Green Drinks! Roll up! Roll Up!

Lovely Green Drinks in Tooting last night at The Selkirk, thanks for hosting! 
We got to know the London National Park City initiative better and asked how we would raise London's green cover from 48% (current) to 51%???? Our answer is..., Parklets! Green up the base of trees, hand over 1 car parking space to green infrastructure! Guerrilla Garden where you can! Turn the small spaces green, lobby the council to use
So... where would YOU create a Parklet?
We launched Green Book Club! Whoop! Want to join in? We have 2 articles to read which will be part of the discussion at the next Tooting Green Drinks: 
  • Is talk about it the most important thing we can do about climate change?…
  • After plastic bag tax what should we tax next?…/six-billion-plastic-bags-cant…
So... How could Green Book Club work best for you?? Online discussion? Articles? Youtube vids and TEDtalks? Books?
AND... we talked about a programme of short, informal talks in the new year - watch this space for announcements on that.
So... who would you like to come to Tooting Green Drinks to give short talks? What themes could we cover?
AND!!!! We talked up Dipa's secret, tasty idea... but you really will have to wait to hear more about that one... yum!
Green Drinks is an International idea to create informal spaces for discussion and getting to know like minded people in your area.
We host a Tooting Green Drinks on the third Wednesday of every month at The Selkirk Pub, 60 Selkirk Street, SW17 0ES between 7.30pm and 9.30pm

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Building on the 2016 Tooting Foodival at home - home-made pasta recipe, plus seed sprouting

There are new posts on our Foodival blog (click on that link) which follow up on two of the fun events at this year's Tooting Foodival: celebrating local food together as a community.
One post gives Minestra Supper Club's recipe based on Elisabetta's pasta-making demonstration.
The other shares all the how-tos of our grow-you-own home seed-sprouting crusade.
Do enjoy both. Maybe you can combine the two...?
Let us know how you get on!

Both these posts celebrate local Foodival themes which have been London-wide campaigns in September: Urban Food Fortnight and Zero Waste Week
Click for more information.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Foodival Top Tooting Cook entries - wow!

Feast your eyes on these amazing photos of the #Foodival2016 Top Tooting Cook entries!  All grown principally from donated home grown produce. More details on recipes and prize winners will follow ... but I thought you'd like to see this hot off the press!

Thank you to Charles for these stunning shots.  There'll be some from the Soup Disco photo booth soon too!

What if London were a National Park City?

Next week Transition Tooting will join 100s of others at the Royal Festival Hall to make London the world’s first National Park City.

Hosted by comedian Josie Long, there is a great line-up of speakers. Former Gatton School (in Tooting) Headteacher Rifat Batool, now Principal of The Olive School, Birmingham will be talking about her experiences of outdoor learning and creativity with children at our Tooting Community Garden.

Come along on September 21st;  bring a group of family, friends, Tooting neighbours and colleagues. For tickets visit the Southbank website Tickets start at just £10.

Help make London the world’s first National Park City. A city where people and nature are better connected. A city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. Together we can make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. Together we can make London a National Park.

Tooting's Fishponds Fields
Entertaining, provocative and proactive,The Making of a National Park City will be an evening to remember.

...and while we're talking about London's green spaces,  fantastic news that Tooting's own Fishponds Fields is open for public use for a trial period into October.  More details and times here ...

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Foodival, Top Tooting Cook, Soup Disco

Don't miss the Foodival 2016 Soup Disco at Tooting Market this evening. Low food mile sustainable veg peeled, chopped and cooked up into a community feast to the sound of classic dance beats.  You couldn't make it up!  Well you can if you come tonight ...

Optional checklist: peeler, glitter, apron, platform shoes, wig, chopping board, friend, inner Travolta

Before that, check out the Top Tooting Cook competition from 4pm at Mushkil Aasaan.  Still time to plunder the vegetable patch (or your neighbour's!) and enter. Cooking demos and taster dishes from Minestra.  All sorts of other malarkey.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Foodival 2016 Celebrating Locally Grown Produce

Foodival Growers
Foodival Day One brought a glut of locally grown fruit and veg for the Top Tooting Cook competition and tomorrow's Soup Disco at Tooting Market. See the Foodival blog for more. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

#Foodival2016 starts tomorrow! Join in, donate produce and celebrate local grow-&-cook-your-own

The Tooting #Foodival2016 starts Saturday 10th from 1300-1700

This is the ninth year we've run the Tooting Foodival, and every year we call out to local gardeners for home-grown donations.

Every year we're amazed at the range and quality of what gets grown locally by beginners and experts in backyards or pots, on balconies or allotments.
Maybe you took part in our Growing Tooting classes in spring 2016?
Maybe you have been growing your own all your life.

Here's our 'I Grew This' poster of locally-grown donations at the 2015 Foodival.

To contribute your locally-grown donations, please select something you've grown which you'd like to share and bring it along to Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday 10th Sept. There are lots of other activities at the venue on Saturday.
  • After 4:00 pm on Saturday 10th, local cooks taking part in the Top Tooting Cook event will be able to choose produce from what's on offer. There will be the potential for wonderful dishes - maybe with surprising ingredients that the cooks had not anticipated using before seeing the selection. Top Tooting Cook will be judged on Sunday afternoon at Mushkil Aasaan.
  • Then we'll store remaining vegetables overnight for use in the Soup Disco cook-up with music and dancing on Sunday evening in Tooting Market.
  • Any surplus will be donated to the Battersea Canteen supper clubs being run by the London Cooking Project and Tooting's own Be Enriched. The clubs aim to reduce food waste and feed those in need.  And to CARAS, who run clubs and support services for refugees and asylum seekers in south west London.
A huge Jerusalem Artichoke!
And small ones - but with big leaves!

Whatever you decide to bring along, donating is all about celebrating local food and wanting to share that enthusiasm with others.
It's about sharing Tooting's flavour, diversity and interest! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Soup Disco ... What Are You Wearing?

This year's Foodival culminates in a Soup Disco in Tooting Market on Sunday night at 7pm. What are you wearing and what veg are you chopping?  Send us a picture inspired by veg and disco (see above!). Bring a peeler and your dancing shoes, DJ till 10 pm, Unwined and Graveney Gin will both be open, too.

As usual the Tooting festival of sustainable food starts with donations of locally grown produce at Mushkil Aasaan on Saturday 10th, where you can enter the Top Tooting Cook and Ugly Vegetable Competitions, learn about bee-keeping and sample some taster dishes.

All the info you need is HERE on the Foodival blog.  We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Counting Down To Foodival

This year's Foodival is nearly upon us as next weekend we will run our 9th annual celebration of all things local and sustainable in Tooting's food culture.  For the latest news head to the Foodival blog.

As usual we will be collecting donations of locally grown fruit and vegetables at Mushkil Aasaan on Saturday and there'll be a chance to enter the Top Tooting Cook and Ugly Vegetable competitions, as well as check out many other food related goings on.
On Sunday we have the truly marvellous concept of a Soup Disco where you can help wash, chop and cook all the fantastic locally grown, donated produce to make an enormous soup, before cutting up the dance floor with your vegetable-themed moves!  

Other dance styles will be perfectly acceptable and our resident DJ will be keeping you grooving till 10pm.  We hope to see you there!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Celebrating Local Food Together as a Community: Preview of #Foodival2016 on the 10th & 11th Sept

We're very excited about TTT's ninth annual Tooting Foodival which is all about Celebrating Local Food Together as a Community. 
We're planning the details now - here's a snapshot preview.
Plenty more information to come later on.

'Local food plus local community' is the weekend's theme:

I Grew This! (Foodival 2015)
Saturday 10th Sept activities run from from 1pm to 5pm and are based at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW. 

On Saturday we welcome all local growers to share and donate some of their local produce - maybe a bag of potatoes, or a single chilli pepper...whatever you would like to share.

Mark where you've been growing on our Growing Tooting Map.

We'll take your photo proudly holding your fruit or veg for our 2016 I Grew This! poster and we'll display what's shared.

Where will all this wonderful donated local produce go?

Top Tooting Cook! 
First, donated produce goes to anyone who wants to enter our fun Top Tooting Cook event. Take some produce or recipes away (or cook with what you have grown at home), and bring back what you make on Sunday for the light-hearted judging and more at Mushkil Aasaan from 4 to 7pm.
The TTC hat - not the only prize you might win
Show off your culinary skills using fruit and veg grown locally and you could win a prize... and the coveted title "Top Tooting Cook"!
Find out all about the competition here and get in touch with Belinda to enter.
For inspiration, look at these delicious dishes - sorrel soup, risotto with cavolo nero, fava bean toast with egg - cooked by visitors to the Tooting Community Garden, using produce picked that day!
Thanks Naomi, Charles and Janine.

Soup Disco!

Second, local produce donated on Saturday will go to Sunday evening's Soup Disco party from 7pm to 10pm in Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street SW17 0SN.

From 7pm, we will all starting chopping the veg to make our delicious Tooting soups for a shared meal. And throughout this collective cook-up, our top local DJ will be spinning the tunes so you can show off your dance skills as well as your kitchen skills.

Beginners welcome throughout... fabulous outfits very welcome!
Plus, some Graveney Gin and Unwined will also be open for business - it's going to be a memorable night!

Other activities for all ages on Saturday at Mushkil Aasaan from 1pm to 5pm will include:

Celebrate reducing waste and having fun by displaying your Ugly Veg. Or as it's called in the USA: Produce with Personality.

Learn about urban beekeeping, taste SW12 and SW17 honey and get close to bees. Local beekeeper Richard is bringing a demonstration hive of live bees. He can chat about bees & honey - and about sources of info for planting and gardening to encourage bees and other pollinators.

Sprouted teff seed
Practice being a successful home farmer by sprouting seeds - easy and delicious. Fresh seeds sprouted at home only have to travel a few inches 'from plot to plate'
NO food miles!

Play our fun low carbon living games including exploring food's footprint and much more.

Get hands-on and creative with crafts linked to food and the Soup Disco - all ages can come and enjoy making.

In the garden...
Explore the local network of community gardens which can offer you fun, exercise, friendship, time outdoors in nature and a place to grow healthy local food.
Plus, you will pick up plenty of growing advice and encouragement to grow your own fresh food on window sill, a balcony or in a front garden.

Discuss the other local sustainability projects that Transition Tooting facilitates with many different partners, find out how to get involved - and we welcome your suggestions and new ideas.

All welcome to #Foodival2016!