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

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Restart this Saturday on International Repair Day

This Saturday 21st October sees the first International Repair Day and happily we are hosting another Restart Party with the Restart Project from 2pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Rd, by Nandos.  All are welcome to this free event.  International Repair Day will be a chance to shout about the importance of repair and the growing global community repair movement; so far, there are 36 events in seven countries.  TTT is proud to be part of this celebration of repair and the important effort to think differently about electronics and waste. 
A Tooting Restart Party in 2015

Restart is a community repair event where skilled volunteers will try to keep your broken electronics out of landfill by repairing them.  The aim is to extend the life of electronic items from kettles to gadgets to laptops - we'll have a look at fixing anything!  At the last event the chef from Mirch Masala dropped in with an impressive looking metre long power tool, sadly not functioning. We found out what was wrong with it and hopefully many more masalas have since been mixed! 

We combine this in Tooting with Sewstart our community mending and sewing project, where Jeni will be on hand with her sewing machine and box of tricks to help you fix, improve or remodel your perhaps tired but much loved wardrobe favourites.  Come along and ask for advice, you might be surprised what you leave with!

Do remember to take back-ups of any electornic data on devices before handing them over to fixers as we cannot be responsible for loss of vital photos, files etc. 
And in the words of Restart Founders Janet & Ugo:
"Obey your conscience, disobey the throw-away economy. Repair!"

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Foodival Growers Poster

Here is this year's montage of growers from the Tooting Foodival 2017, the 10th TTT Foodival - wow, the first one only seemed like the other day!  We are really grateful to all our donors of fruit and vegetables without whom the festival could not happen.  More on the Foodival blog about this years event back in September. 

Can you spot yourself or someone you know?!

In this picture we should be able to pick out some of our individual donors: Jon, Kath, Hilary, Debbie, Richard, Indrajit, Heide, David, Mal, Jane, Richard, Barbara, Maggie, Judy, Kelly, Chris, Esther, Eleanor, Chrsitine, Lucy & Helen!

Thanks also to Tooting Community Garden, Paradise Co-op, Doddington & Rollo Community Garden, SHARE Community Garden, Abundance Southfields & Tamworth Allotments for your amazing contributions!

We really love Foodival and hope if you came along to this year's street festival version that you had a good time, whether eating sutainable home grown live cooked dishes, getting involved with our Craft or Green Stage activities, or chilling by the Sound Lounge stage.  Maybe you even had a rant on the Soap Box?!  More on the festival here.

Roll on 2018?

Friday, 13 October 2017

"Shazifim yerakim, gojeh sabz, jarareng, erik, janarek...." Tooting Community Garden's plums

Did you try the sour plums at the Foodival?

'These sour plums are known as shazifim yerakim in Israel, gojeh sabz in Iran, jarareng in Lebanon, erik in Turkey, and janarek in Jordan.'

These plums were saved after pruning the Greengage trees that grow in the tooting community garden as part of a pruning workshop. They were not ripe for eating but nothing goes to waste so Charles experimented with pickling the plums. They were certainly delightful at the Foodival. Something Unique.

The pruning workshop was delivered by Ryan O'Kane from The Orchard Project and we were joined by people from other gardens that could benefit from advice on pruning fruit trees.

Once we knew which trees were remaining then we needed to prune them  to provide space for air and better light to help them be healthy trees. Ideally this would be a vase shape but our particular trees are grown from 'suckers' - that is a  self propagating system connected to the main tree.

While we all wanted to get going with the variety of exciting tools they had brought along it was important that first we decided what the aims of the pruning were. The trees have been allowed to grow a bit wild which makes them great as a habitat but the pruning would help to promote tree health and improved crop. The aims are not complementary and that made it difficult in the beginning to decide on a strategy.

This is often something that we can struggle with any of our gardening aims. Balancing the needs of nature and the needs of humans are not always compatible and these decisions are hard. Particularly as a group who may have divergent views, or feel they do not know enough to choose a course of action. In the end we were able to agree a compromise with half reserved for habitat with some pruning for health and the other half would be cut back quite dramatically to get to a spacing that would promote fewer but stronger and more productive trees.

There was also time to look at the Victoria plum and identify branches that we could prune to promote healthy and strong growth for the tree.

While there were many people helping the plums are close together and it wasn't practical to prune more than two trees in the area at a time. So there is still more work to do but we now have a strategy that should be maintainable in the future.

It was a fantastic learning experience and if you have fruit trees in your own garden then check out for more advice and opportunities for you to learn about caring for your fruit trees.

Maybe you're inspired to start a new orchard? This year our friend Martin Cobley has helped establish the first Community Orchard in Wandsworth Borough. Congratulations! If you want to visit, contact him at

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Moth Night on Friday 13th October - all welcome!

This Friday 13th October as a part of Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project, all invited to a Moth Recording Walk at Putney Heath
This is a fun mix of citizen science and being outdoors in the city. If you have never seen live moths close up, it's a great opportunity.

Poplar Hawk moth in summer

Timing? Meet 6:30 pm 
Start Location? Boyd Court, 101 Carslake Road, Putney SW15 3DD
Activity? We'll set live moth traps, go for a short evening walk and then return to the traps to see what moths hve been attracted to them. 
Then, those that wish to can return to the Green Man Pub nearby to continue the discussion.
Clothing? We'll be working and walking on the Heath at dusk, so wear appropriate shoes. You could bring a torch.
Who is this for? Anyone interested, including children of course. Have they seen live moths close up?
Organisers & info? Contact or

We'll be guided by David Howden from London Natural History Society and hosted by Putney Community Garden representatives.

Moth Night is the annual national celebration of moth recording organised by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation, with local events aimed at raising awareness of moths among the general public.

Come and enjoy getting close to moths - and many of us are not aware that moths are significant pollinators. Time to change that!
Let’s learn more and help promote those great pollinators together.

More info about the the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project - click here.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Opening night of Stay With Love exhibition - we celebrated with poetry, music and good company!

On October 3rd the opening night of the Stay With Love exhibition at The Sound Lounge in Tooting saw a very diverse group of 75 join in to celebrate the exhibition. There were teenagers, families and young children from the asylum-seeking and refugee community who are served by CARAS. There were many of the CARAS team of staff and volunteers, and lots of TTT volunteers. All have been contributing to the creative and expressive work that makes up the exhibiton.
Plus there were friends old and new from the wider community - it was a great welcoming mix from many countries!

Carrie was our MC for the night. She welcomed everyone and reminded us that the offer to 'Stay With Love' had been written in July on one of the pallet-benches made in the Youth Club. That's a poignant invitation for a young refugee to make.
We saw the delightful CARAS Youth Club short film: two minutes capturing the experience of sharing and value that many of us have enjoyed as volunteers over the past two and a half years. We'll add a weblink asap.

Hannah White, co-founder of the Sound Lounge, celebrated the work and good humour of the young people from CARAS who are doing certificated training as coffee baristas and as sound engineers at the café.

We shared poems and prose linked to the experiences of living in and valuing a new place, of changing perceptions and of new languages and relationships. Here is a poem read and written  by Resina Chowdhury:

To move away from a land
We must break ourselves off it completely. 
The split leaves a wound
a loss of memory, huge and gaping
which nothing material can fill. 

O Mother of a false birth, 
you were not ready for me. 
Where was the milk to offer your baby, all drained of blood? 
Dying, I was taken to where
the milk was plentiful
where there was blood to give, rich and warm
and we survived, 
more or less, weaned by another. 
But cannot forget those who held us before. 

What is the treatment for the loss of a culture? 
To see oneself continue in history? 
What can be said when the spirit is forgotten? 
When a life is not nurtured
because it is not understood? 
Still we seek out a tongue that will define. 

Teach me who I am. 
Give me knowledge to recover myself. 
Give me understanding to fill the loss. 
Give me strength to withstand hostility. 
Give me love to endure.  

We had live music of many kinds -
Dermot and Gerri led half an hour where the children 
used all the percussion instruments we could find. 
They were the backing band for extempore songs with words taken from some of the CARAS participants' statements about their heroes or ambitions.
David sang about Cristiano Ronaldo, Carrie sang
'I Want to Be a Dentist', Emiliano drummed...all fantastic!

Shonar Spiral from London played two gutsy songs.

Fadhil Alfadly and Kaspar King from Iraq rapped in Arabic over iPhone tracks and live drumming. One of the children stayed on to accompany their songs: she was very composed.

Dermot played a solo set as conversation continued until it was time to tidy up and head home after a lovely evening together.

Please visit The Sound Lounge and enjoy the exhibition any time the café is open. There are two interactive pieces alongside the wide range of creative work done by the Youth Club, the Family Groups and the ESOL classes.
There's a comments book set up, you can take a CARAS or TTT leaflet and please get in touch with CARAS or TTT if you want to know more, or if you want to find out how to volunteer. 
Please take a #StayWithLove sticker or two and ask your friends to visit!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Restart and Sewstart in Tooting Saturday 21st Oct

  • Have you got electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away?
  • Got 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?
  • Simply good at fixing and mending stuff?
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?

Whatever the reason - come along on
Sat 21st October - 2.00 - 5.00pm
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, 6 October 2017

Time to celebrate!

October is our six-month anniversary as your Pips!

As well as marking our half birthday, it's a chance to catch a breath after the huge successes of the Tooting Twirl pop-up village green, our 10th annual Foodival sustainable food festival and countless other brilliant events this year.

October's meeting is about celebrating, checking in and changing things up

We have a working list of items to discuss and make decisions on but there will also be the chance to relax after the formal stuff, with some making activities, drinks and chat.

TTT is an exciting group with limitless potential and we want you to play a part in our future plans, so come along to our open meeting and find out how you can get involved.

Tuesday 10th October
The Wine Room
The Trafalgar Arms
148-156 Tooting High Street, SW17 0RT

We really hope to see you on the 10th!

Jeni (co-chair), Sharon (co-chair) and Eleanor (secretary)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Stay With Love exhibition is open and ready to visit. You can add your own views to the show.

We're thrilled that the Stay With Love exhibition has moved from concept to reality alongside our partners CARAS and The Sound Lounge. We experienced so much energy, creativity and patience from all the volunteers and staff involved in this experiment: Thank You!

We hung the show on the 2nd October, and then the exhibition opening was brilliant last evening. Now the show is available to enjoy whenever The Sound Lounge is open, until October 29th.

Drilling holes for hanging
Suspending the figure drawings

Two of the exhibition pieces ask for your views and ideas. 
We hope you get there and add to When I Dream and Thread Your Story devised by CARAS and the adult group. Of course, you can enjoy the whole show with coffee or a sandwich served by young people from CARAS who are engaged in certificated work training at The Sound Lounge.

'Thread Your Story'
'When I Dream'

The exhibition opening festivities yesterday included an afternoon family crafts workshop and then the main evening celebration - we'll report on the celebration in the next blog post.

Afternoon Family Crafts
Straight from school, two dozen children & adults launched into an hour and a half's making, all crowded around two long tables. It was a great scene and we admired their energy after a whole day in school. We offered two of our favourite and valuable projects. Both are related to the purpose and content of the creative work we have carried out alongside the refugees and aslyum-seekers from CARAS over the past two years in the Rooting in Tooting and Gardens of Refuge projects

"Tooting's insects need your love!"
We looked at photos of some local garden insects (predators and prey; garden crop-friendly and also less desirable) and then made plastic bottle insect shelters for beneficial ladybirds and lacewings in the garden.
With some clever planning, decorations onto the rolled-up corrugated cardboard could be protected from rain by being placed inside the bottle rather than stuck on the outside of the plastic (= design and technology for real).
Families took their bottle-houses home to hang in the trees in their own gardens or neighbourhoods.

She's added a #StayWithLove sticker

"Feel safe and breathe!"
Secondly, we painted garden row markers with messages of welcome on them. That's in the same spirit the CARAS Youth Club showed when they wrote inviting comments in many languages on the on four inscribed pallet-benches for the Tooting Twirl - one is in the show and two more are being used in the cafe.

Children and adults devised messages - another design and planning challenge - which they painted on narrow wooden slats we've rescued from discarded bed frames - very neat recycling as the slats are strong and a perfect size. The artists donated all the painted markers to the Tooting Community Garden, which we really appreciate.

All the new markers, laid out on one of the benches

More soon on the evening opening celebrations....

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

'Stay With Love' exhibition opens today in Tooting

It's the day of the opening of our CARAS partnership 'Stay With Love' exhibition at The Sound Lounge in Tooting - 210 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EJ

All very welcome, and here are the timings:

4:00-5:30pm Pop-up session making and crafts for all the family
7:00pm Doors open, come and enjoy the exhibition
7:30pm Formal welcome to 'Stay With Love' exhibition plus celebrating the young people who have gained work experience certificates. Followed by sharing any poems or spoken word pieces, and time for mingling and exploring the exhibition. Soft drinks only until 8:00.
8:15pm Live music begins - some special treats in store

It's going to be a really enjoyable evening & we look forward to seeing you!
Background info here. The exhibition continues thoughout October.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

'Stay With Love' Exhibition opening 3rd October in Tooting, plus a snapshot of the summer with families in the 'Gardens of Refuge' project.

Two updates about our partnership project with the local charity CARAS and the refugees and asylum-seekers they support.

1 'Stay With Love' Exhibition during October '17 at The Sound Lounge in Tooting.  
The Sound Lounge, 210-212 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting SW17 7EW

We're all thrilled that The Sound Lounge is hosting 'Stay With Love' - an exhibition of diverse work of all kinds that's been produced together over the past year at CARAS and in our 'Gardens of Refuge' project workshops. So much creativity and enjoyment supported by a multi-skilled and diverse group of volunteers!

The exhibition is opening on Tuesday 3rd October and will run throughout the month. Visit whenever the Sound Lounge is open.

All welcome to the opening at The Sound Lounge, Tuesday 3rd Oct. We'll be offering:
  • 4:00-5:30 pm A free after-school drop-in crafts workshop for all the family and all ages, with all materials supplied. And maybe we can add to the exhibition with what we make...
  • 7:00-8:00 pm: View the exhibits, join tours by their creators
  • 8:00 pm: Performances and celebration
  • 10:00 pm: Close
We look forward to chatting about any of the work and the project, and thanks again to The Sound Lounge!

2 Sharing our summer with families in the 'Gardens of Refuge' project.

To whet your appetite, here's an account of two summertime days in the 'Gardens of Refuge' Project. Resina is one of the volunteers with the project and she's written this account. Thank you, Resina!

"We've had a great summer. On 15 and 22 August two family activity days were held in the Tooting Community Garden. This gave families the opportunity to be introduced to the garden, which we'd been talking about in other activity sessions since Spring.

On 15th August the families examined different vegetables and grains that had been grown in the garden and guessed what they were. One challenge was identifying what turned out to be our weird-looking patty pan squash!
We used maps of the garden to actively explore it - and created a game of colouring in all the parts they visited - a fun way to become familiar with the different spaces of the garden. It was even better once we explained the game more clearly - one boy promptly collected in all the coloured felt pens we'd carefully placed at each point! 


We arranged the previously-painted materials for the big garden mural.
Some of the women enjoyed identifying the vegetables they recognised:  it was great to have our teff from the Horn of Africa appreciated by experts!

One woman acknowleged that her own children didn't play outside the way that she used to in her own country, a phenomenon that is occurring everywhere as children are becoming more sedentary in their lifestyle. 
However in the community garden everyone had the opportunity to explore the 'hidden' areas, pick blackberries, plums, kale and coriander and run around in the sun. 
Turnip-top seeds were planted to crop later in the year. Marshmallows were toasted and tea was brewed. It was a fun and relaxing day! 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Foodival 2017: "Thank You" to Tooting's community of volunteers

The 10th Tooting Foodival was only possible because of 
many volunteers' help and donations.
Thank you all!
Click here to see the details. Well over forty people helped on the day, plus many in preparation and in the long tail of follow up.
Each of these people and organisations made the Foodival happen, and while there's no priority order we want to highlight Naseem Aboobaker who has demonstrated such community spirit by offering us the hall at Mushkil Aasaan for free at so many Foodivals past.
It's always a risk to make a list and get it 100% correct - please let us know if we've left you out.

Here she is at the 2010 Foodival

The Foodival is nothing without an audience! We lost count at around 500 people - first-timers and some very loyal regulars.
Here is one young girl we know and want to celebrate - same road, maybe the same chair.
2010 to 2017! 

And at the 2017 Foodival

Get in touch with us if you fancy being part of TTT's 2018 Tooting Foodival co-ordination group.
We promise you fun, space to try out creative ideas, experience of live project management and lots of community support!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Top Tooting Cook 2017: the winners!

Top Tooting Cook, the Foodival's fun competition was ably co-ordinated by 'firm but fair' Belinda. We had a record-breaking number of entries.
Here are the dishes - photographed during the judging, so some dishes have begun to be sampled. These are dishes crying out to be tasted (some people had to be held back...):

There's a wonderful variation of international cultures, colours, local ingredients, skills and why-not-have-a-go represented. How would you choose the different class winners and the overall Top Tooting Cook?

Our three judges worked up and down the long tables in Mushkil Aasaan with their clipboards. They recorded their own views with 25% of marks awarded to each of four criteria:
  • How well does the dish fit the category it was entered for?
  • Taste?
  • Look?
  • How local to Tooting are the dish ingredients?
The judges conferred, debated and added up their marks.

Tension mounted in the hall as we looked from dish to dish and back at the judges' impassive faces. Who would win? When could we eat all the dishes?

The overall award of Top Tooting Cook went to...Imira for her Squash Compote!


Here's the full list of other winners per competition category:

Savoury dish: 
Muna Mohammed, Ethiopian Mixed Vegetarian Dish & Injera

Savoury dish Runner Up: 
Lila Benderdouch, Tortilla de Patatas

Debbie Morey, Raspberry Jam

Under 16: 
Maryam Uddin, Flower Fruit Cake Crumble

Pudding / Apples and Pears: 
Debbie Morey, Apple Cake 

Organizers' Prize: 
Charles Whitehead, Salty Pickled Tooting Plums 

Click here to see the full TTC report.                                                                
Thank you, judges: Saira, Brian and Rick!
Thank you, local enterprises and organisations who donated prizes!
Thank you, entrants, local vegetable and fruit donors and other contributors!
We'll share the recipes as soon as we can, to add to our community low food-mile localicious cookbook.

The results are announced...

More Tooting Foodival blog posts to come very soon: the famous 'I Grew This' poster, the list of produce donors, all the Thank Yous and a slide show of photos and videos of the day.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A great Tenth Tooting Foodival!

Well that was fun! 
What a great event the 10th Foodival proved to be.  Using Hereward Road beside Mushkil Aasaan gave the event a really good flow.  Outside, Volker manfully orchestrated the Big Feast, feeding the masses with sustainable locally grown fruit and vegetables, serenaded by the different artists on the Sound Lounge stage.  Bees drew the crowds to Richard's camper van, while local resident Corinne painted faces, punters supped Kombucha from Thirsty House, sampled Debbie's jams or discovered Wandsworth Oasis, Sutton Community Farm & Wandsworth Food Partnership.
The Soap Box was a popular new addtion, providing an instant stage for environmental thinking while inside on the Green Stage we heard about propagating, insects and compost!  Jeni's Crafts and the YUM-JAM kept kids young and old busy in the Mushkil Aasaan hall and in Hereward Rd.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to making this a great event, especially our fabulous growers without whom there would be no Big Feast or Top Tooting Cook Competition.  More thank yous, reports and pictures to follow, but first I need a lie down!


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Guide to Foodival 2017

So what's happening at this year's Foodival?  Hopefully you've been keeping up with our recent blog posts and will have an idea, but for a handy print out or download version here's our plan of the events.  It's not set in stone, some of the timings may move a little, don't worry just come along and see what takes your fancy.
To make Foodival happen we really need your fruit and vegetable donations tomorrow night!  It's this lovely produce that we use to cook up the communal Big Feast and that anyone can take to enter the Top Tooting Cook Competition.

We are delighted to have the Sound Lounge curating the music stage this year, have loads of activities for the kids, talks on the Green Stage and the Soap Box as well as some great stalls and Arts & Crafts.

We are hoping that the 10th Foodival will be great fun.  Come and particpate in any way you like!  It all starts Friday evening from 5pm.