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

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Tour de Tooting Coming Your Way

There is a real buzz of excitement in the air, a sense of something big about to happen in the streets of Tooting as the launch date nears and the Grand Parade of Wheels takes shape. From now until 3rd July we will be holding ‘Reinvent Your Wheels!’ workshops and cycle-themed events to celebrate the people-powered wheels in our lives. 

The first workshop is at Bruce Hall, All Saints Parish Church (corner of Brudenell and Franciscan Roads) this coming Saturday 4th June 11.30-4.30pm. There will be lots to learn, make and enjoy: making, storytelling and wheel decorating. Light refreshments provided. Come for the whole time or part. Everyone is welcome, it’s free to take part and it is open to all ages. 

Why don’t you come along?  Bring your wheels to decorate and see how you too can be part of this Grand Parade of wheels in Tooting. On the day itself, Sunday July 3rd, we will leave Franciscan School together at 2pm. Take a look at what’s happening and how you can get involved. 

Lucy Neal, one of the Event organisers, says: "Transition Town Tooting has been working with Transport for London and Wandsworth Council for half a year to work out a route for our Grand Parade of Wheels so that our community can celebrate together. We are SO excited that we are now a month away from the big day. But there is lots to do to make the Parade gorgeously colourful and inventive. We need everyone to get involved reinventing their wheels and joining this people-powered Parade."

Pick up a leaflet from your local cycle shop to find out more and see our poster below for further details.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Growing together, Learning together, Working together: three years of Outdoor Learning in Gatton Primary School's own words

Early in May we held a delightful celebration of three years' shared experience of the outdoor learning project between Gatton Primary School and Tooting Community Garden
You can look at that blog report by clicking here

The sun shone on us all and lit the mosaic made at the school with every pupil involved. 
Among the natural images the tiles spell out the three phrases that are the title of this post.

What is outdoor learning? 'OL' covers many activities (not only gardening) and settings. OL offers opportunities for surprising and diverse impact on participants -not fixed or one-size-fits-all.

Have a look at this earlier TTT post on outdoor learning with younger children from Gatton School.
Also, click on OUTDOOR LEARNING in the Quick LInks at the top of this web page for stories from 3 years of the project.
We want to share Gatton School pupils' own words about their experience of the project. Young people from Year Six (10 & 11 years old) made confident and touching short speeches at the celebration, and you can read the texts here. All the statements are fascinating, and I'll quote just parts of what 4 different pupils said:

  • "For over three years now our school has worked as a team to create these projects which you see before you. Team work is necessary in our lives and Gatton School has used this advantage to work as a team and benefit the environment"
  • "We can cultivate land together and learn more social skills when we are engrossed in doing gardening together as either a family or as a community"
  • "Taking part in such activities even improves our Design & Technology skills and encourages children to do something that benefits them as well as having fun doing so. D&T inspires children's creativity and pushes them to think about important ways to support Mother Nature" 

  •  "Nature plays an important part in every religion and it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of it. We strongly believe that this community garden has brought us together and closer than ever before"

I asked Rifat Batool, Head of Gatton School, to share some of her vision for establishing and continuing the project. She said:

"Outdoor and engaging learning is a strong aspect of our work at Gatton School. The various projects carried out in the community garden over the past 3 years have allowed pupils to see first-hand how much we can do together as part of a strong partnership committed to learning. 

We continually challenge our thinking and way of learning to drive for more innovative ideas to enhance learning even further. This allows pupils to see that so much is possible when using creativity, imagination and sense of purpose. 

This partnership and celebration represents the coming together of people from different backgrounds and interests  and is an amazing representation of teamwork, collaboration and mutual respect".

TTT feels honoured to be part of three years of positive experiment, and grateful for the commitment shown by the children, Gatton School staff, Mushkil Aasaan the owners of the garden site and our own team, rain or shine.

Thank you all, and we're looking forward to the next three years!
- Charles

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Come along to our Annual Celebratory Extravaganza, Fri. 10 June

Come to our Annual Celebratory Extravaganza!

Fri. 10 June, 6.30pm
Rechere's Health & Wellbeing Centre, 163-165 Tooting High Street
(followed by 9.00pm drinks at the Trafalgar Arms for those who want to continue celebrating!)

Please R.S.V.P. by getting a free ticket on Eventbrite

Everyone is welcome!

If you’re on our mailing list, like or follow our Facebook or Twitter accounts, have been to any of our events, or are just interested to find out what we do in Tooting – come along.

ACE is an opportunity for us to come together to celebrate achievements locally and to thank everyone who has supported us over the last year.

It’s a place to meet other local people who share our goals:

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

And a chance to find out about our projects and get involved.

What to expect

  • TTT sustenance – a.k.a tea, cake, samosas, Turkish bread & hummus
  • Test your knowledge of Tooting with our quiz
  • A celebration of what was achieved last year
  • Discover more about TTT’s projects
  • Share an idea you might have to improve our neighbourhood
  • A look ahead and an invite to get involved
  • Conversations with friends new and old

See you there...
Don't forget to get a free ticket on Eventbrite
so we know how many cakes to bake!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Growing Tooting: the fifth weekend of our enjoyable local grow-your-own classes

Gardeners in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth are seeing results in the soil, in trying out new skills and having some fun together.
As our fortnightly free Growing Tooting classes continue, have a look below at what we've been doing, and do get in touch to share ideas or with any queries.

Very proud gardeners! 

Basil seedlings transplanted into the ground at Melanie's allotment.


More proud gardeners, indoors this time:

Veronica, Diana and Morena sowing seeds, transplanting lettuce seedlings (Sainsbury's, 60p), dividing Moroccan mint to take home in pots.

Back outdoors, gardeners of all ages at Ravenstone School are getting their school raised beds going

Growing Tooting Handout 5 This is now available for participants and for TTT friends who read this blog and who would like to catch up on the details. 
Themes are Pests, Companion Planting, Square Foot Gardening
Please click here to download and keep a copy of Handout 5.

Square Foot Gardening is useful for the home gardener because it helps you focus on making best use of space, putting plants together that make sense, and creating an interesting mini-landscape.

What's in the square foot bed below?
Tallest plants top RH corner (= north side).
Gail's donated tomato and borage (top RHS squares).
Maxine's lemon balm and 2 strawberries (top LHS).
Seeds elsewhere - bell peppers (top), English marigold (centre), radish, dwarf nasturtiums, basil (bottom L to R)

Square foot bed planted with veg, herbs and flowers for pollination.

Here's a small bed full of different herbs, spotted at Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Come to the Hubs & Spokes Cafe - Thu. 19 May, 6.30pm @ Rechere's

Want to find out more about Tour de Tooting?

Come along to our second Hubs and Spokes café on Thu. 19 May, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Rechere’s Wellbeing Centre, 163-165 Tooting High Street in anticipation of  the Tour de Tooting, Sun. 03 July.

What will be doing in this Hubs and Spokes Cafe?

The gathering on Thu. 19 May from 6.30pm to 8.30pm will fill in the gaps of what remains to be invented. Do we need more rides? More people? More materials? What part might you like to play?

Pedal by pedal, we will look at compatibility between the Tour's four components:

  • Creating and making:  Decorate your wheels, bring your machines if you like!
  • Roads and Rides:  Catching up on our route and sites – we need people to marshall / steward / site manage. Would you like to ?
  • Connecting and Communication:  Telling people in Tooting what's happening
  • Resourcing:  Join our team! Time, sweet time – do you have any you might like to give? Whether it be for something specific or getting involved in the co-ordination. We need Principal Pedalistas! Social Media advocates, Volunteer Stewards, Leaflet distributors and poster putter-upperers, Site Managers for on the day and help with Volunteer Co-ordination! Roll up! Roll up!
We're wheely looking forward to seeing you, please do spread the word and bring folks who you think might be interested.

In the meantime, have fun trying to Draw A Bike From Memory!

What happened at the last Hubs and Spokes Cafe? 

Those who came along to the first Hubs and Spokes café enjoyed Cake! Tea! and a short movie on the bici-machinista-cycle-powered marvels of Guatemala and the collective energy of creating this emerging event! 

Lots has happened since:
  • We’ve been developing Route, Traffic and Event Management plans
  • Leaflet and Poster design are underway
  • A logo, thanks to everyone, with help from Sue Rentoul!
  • We’ve engaged with Wandsworth Cycle Campaign and Wheels for Wellbeing, a fantastic charity that removes barriers to cycling
  • Organising workshops with children at Franciscan School, our Départ point     
  • Continuing plans for a wheel-themed film night in Tooting Market
  • Co-ordinating a bike-themed Tooting Restart Party on June 21st Tuesday

We look forward to seeing you. Come join in the fun! #tourdetooting

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Growing Tooting: the fourth weekend of our flourishing grow-your-own classes

The fourth weekend in our fortnightly series of workshops on growing your own local food was fun and successful. We're half way through the run of 8 workshops at each of the sites.
The Balham-Tooting-Wandsworth structure is stimulating as there are differences and common ground in the settings and interests - plus there's healthy cross-pollination between locations and local partners

Have a look at the Fourth Growing Tooting Handout by clicking here - all welcome to download and use to help your own garden choices. Collect the set! (And any feedback welcomed, of course).

Do you know your Rooster from your Vivaldi?
One theme in the Handout is building awareness of varieties of vegetables and fruit. What's the benefit of there being so many?

So, here is a 'Brown Turkey' variety fig being planted at the Balham class site, St Mark's URC

TTT recently won a prize draw from The Conservation Foundation (see last item below). Our reward was a diverse bundle of 3 varieties of potatoes: 'Sherine', 'Rooster' and 'Vivaldi'. Each has different characteristics and cropping times...the result of plant breeding over the past 400 years. Thank you! - we have some to give away.
Plus there's 'Centurion' onions and 'Red Sun' shallots which we've planted.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Celebrating Community Outdoor Learning with Wandsworth's Mayor

This afternoon a formal celebration of three years of Community Outdoor Learning with Gatton School took place at the Tooting Community Garden, attended as guest of honour by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Nicola Nardelli, plus site owner Naseem Aboobaker of Mushkil Aasaan and Rifat Batool, Head at Gatton School. 
The celebration was joined by many of the children, staff and volunteers who have contributed to the development of the garden and the Outdoor Learning programme.
The Mosaic and Vertical Garden
The Mayor officially opened the vertical garden made by Year 6 children in recent weeks as well as unveiling the mosaic curated by artist Kirsteen Ritchie and made with the help of many of the children at school.  
Naseem expressed her thankfulness for the community connections made in the garden and a group of the children read out their own tributes and reflections on the garden projects.  
Rifat spoke about the educational value of the outdoor projects over the past three years.
A community collaboration

Mayor Nicola Nardelli & Naseem Aboobaker

The Mayor with Gatton School Year 6 children
We're very grateful to all who took part on a lovely day to celebrate this project.
More to follow ...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Growing Tooting: our third weekend of free local food-growing classes went very well

The third weekend in our practical, sociable and free Growing Tooting workshops went well in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth. 
A fourth 'waiting list' group starts on the 24th April in Wandsworth. 
Please scroll down this blog to see our earlier posts.

At this stage of our classes, participants have seeds sown or seedlings coming through in their own planting pots and trays at home: here's some spinach on the right. We discussed together just how to get to this stage successfully!

We also looked at dividing clumps of perennial plants such as mint as in this photo. 
Each smaller clump can be planted out to multiply your crops. 
Hands-on superhuman strength sometimes needed if the old clump is dry...

We have a Third Growing Tooting Handout - all welcome to click here for a copy.

One group of participants has a new allotment, so the timing is great to share what they are doing and trying out.
A key message in the classes is to learn from each other, that's certainly more fun.

You'll remember we are encouraging participants to be partly garden-detectives and partly growing-scientists...there's no need to shy away from some helpful technical tips when learning about growing good local food. One 'technical' but practical topic in the third handout is 'crop rotation' - swapping around what you grow where, year by year.

In our Tooting Community Garden plot, we do 'rotate' what is planted in the beds every year exactly as in the handout. We keep a sketch map of what we are growing, so we can remember what's planted, and to help plan for next year.

Come and visit us sometime at the Community Garden: all welcome to pop in and chat about growing or help out. We're open every Sunday from 11:00-1:00 at 5 North Drive, SW16 1RN. 
Latest info on Facebook: Tooting Community Garden.
Good Gardening!  - Charles

Sunday, 10 April 2016

You're invited to the Hubs & Spokes Cafe, Tue 19 April, 7pm

Join us in planning a wheeled parade and ride through Tooting!

Over the last few months, Transition Town Tooting have been experimenting with the idea of a wheeled parade and some bike rides through Tooting - a chance to celebrate the possibilities of safe, open roads for everyone where clean air and community conversations meet.

In early July, we will be running Tour de Tooting!

On Tuesday, 19th April at 7pm, we'll be holding an open meeting at the pop up Hubs & Spokes Cafe to bring everyone "up to speed" with plans so far. If you'd like to find out more about how to get involved and generally get to grips with all the exciting possibilities of this new Tooting Wheeled Venture, come along!

Hubs & Spokes Cafe
Tuesday, 19th April at 7pm
Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road

We'll be making more announcements about the Tour de Tooting very soon, so if you can't make the meeting, keep an eye on the blog. There will be pop ups happening in the weeks leading up to the main event, so keep an eye on the blog or search #tourdetooting!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Growing Tooting: the second weekend, with three workshops plus an allotment visit

All went well in the second weekend of our free workshops devoted to growing our own good local food - one class each in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth. (Details of the Growing Tooting programme here).

What did we do last weekend? 

We compared everyone's window-sill grown pea plants, 2 weeks after sowing.

Different conditions (amount of light and watering; depth of planting) produced different growth.

Overall there were crops to be eaten (or planted out) even without having a garden!

Plus: We looked at the components that make up healthy soil

We discussed what 'food' plants need to feed their leaves, roots and flowers

We looked at the herbs we like, what conditions they need...and shared recipes

We now have Handout Number Two - everyone is welcome to click here for a copy

A group also visited two participants' breezy allotment - their very first opportunity to garden outdoors.
As a team, we tried to be observant detectives as well as scientist-gardeners: exploring what is already growing there (celery, blackcurrants, strawberries); proposing what to do first (make a plan, prepare beds, maybe cover future beds with weed-suppressing mulch or sheeting and dig later on); and shared visions of the harvest.

Thanks to all for your enthusiasm and sharing ideas and questions, however new to gardening you are.

This Sunday April 10th all local gardeners are invited to drop in at the Tooting Community Garden to say hello, have a cup of tea made with the volcano kettle, and share some seeds if you have spare.
We'll be open from 11:00 to 1:00, at 5 North Drive SW16 1RN, tucked behind the big house.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Growing Tooting - our practical and sociable grow-your-own local food classes have begun

On March 18th & 20th we started Growing Tooting by launching our new free series of 8 classes on learning to grow your own local city food by participating and sharing with others in your neighbourhood. 
That's 8 classes in each of 3 locations in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth. Many thanks to Martin for the tireless co-ordination!

Yes it's ambitious to be offering 24 classes between now and the end of June. We're thrilled that all the classes are now full. 
In fact, there's a big waiting list and we may offer a fourth series tucked into this busy calendar...we'll be in touch with those on the list.

Hands-on right from the start

In that first class we started with the basics:
What knowledge do participants have? 
What kind of space are you using for gardening? 
What do you want to grow?

What are annuals & what are perennials, and so what?

Re-purposed DIY planter
Martin prepared a handout for Session One, and everyone is welcome to a copy - please click here

Even though the classes are full, we'd like to share what we're doing...and we encourage anyone to get in touch with us and find a local place to garden.
We want to help make local growing spaces much more visible, and get a useful network going for our area's urban gardeners.

Encouraging new community growing spaces is the other objective of Growing Tooting. Our purpose has been to help 6 new sites start growing. Some of these are the locations of the growing classes described above, and the others are new initiatives where there's great potential for getting growing together.
The six growing spaces are diverse in scale, purpose, style and in community setting. They are situated at a church, an enterprise, a primary school, a refugee charity and at two council estates:
  1. St Mark's United Reformed Church, Balham 
  2. Route to Juice, Tooting
  3. Ravenstone School, Balham
  4. CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), Tooting
  5. Wendelsworth Garden Fruit Project, Wandsworth
  6. Avening Terrace Garden, Wandsworth 
We'll report much more from each site, and we'll share the learning from the combined gardening class and garden-creation activities of Growing Tooting: it's all about building local participation to grow and enjoy good local food. Many thanks again to the Wandsworth Big Society Fund for giving the project financial support. Much appreciated!
- Charles

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Cleaning Up A Tooting Grot Spot

Earlier this month TTT organised a clean up of the Church Lane car park, which had embarrassingly been listed as one of the UK's Top Grot Spots.  With the help of Wandsworth Council this notorious dump was "cleaned for the Queen" and TTT held conversations about, well, anything really with a surprising number of passers by, in the hastily set up pop-up Living Room. Amazing what Lucy and Simon can fit in that van! 
TTT Team in the Pop-Up Living Room in Church Lane Car Park
And with Council Leader Ravi Govindia
More on this site from the Council here.  Do you know any other neglected areas of Tooting or around that could do with cleaning up?  Let us know.  It would be great to convert some unloved urban spaces into something the community can enjoy.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Conversations About Waste

Today, Saturday March 5th 12.30-3pm, join us in our colourful Pop Up Sitting Room in the Church Lane Car Park in Tooting, near the junction with Mitcham Road! TTT is hosting community conversations about reducing waste and how we make 'good change' in Tooting. Supported by Wandsworth Council, as part of the Keep Britain Tidy nation-wide celebrations to 'Clean for the Queen we'll be doing our bit to tidy up, save resources and cherish the place we live in. The nearby Al Farah cafe will be providing some provisions! Drop by! We would love to see you.