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

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 4 weeks to go! All welcome & here's Part Two of the plans.

Hello all and it's four weeks until the Tooting #Foodival2017 on Saturday 16th September!

In last week's blog post we shared Part One of the Foodival plans: all about food and cooking (surprise, surprise). We're inviting you to:
  • donate locally grown produce
  • enter the Top Tooting Cook Competition
  • come along to The Big Feast

Today we're sharing Part Two of the plans: all the other wonderful activities that are happening right in the heart of Tooting as part of the 2017 Foodival. These activities are all about:
  • growing
  • sustainability
  • creativity
  • community 
  • and fun 
All these activities are complementary to the Foodival's purpose of celebrating local growing, sustainable food, local cooking and the local community (the whole community including nature as well as people) - all done in diverse creative, refreshing and participative ways.

Timings to follow as the schedule comes together across the twin venues of Mushkil Aasaan at 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW and part of Hereward Road right next door.

What are we offering for all ages to come and enjoy and explore?
As well as Donating Local Produce (appear in our traditional 'I Grew This' poster!), the Top Tooting Cook Competition and The Big Feast, we're grateful to all our partners who are offering:

Sales of locally-made Jams and Chutneys; Upcycled Crafts; Local Honey (plus an observation hive of 16,000 bees - nearly the same as Tooting Ward's population).

Jeni's Crafty Arts
There will be a series of hands-on creative workshops led by local makers.
In one workshop you can come and make ladybird and lacewing hotels out of plastic bottles...learn about beneficial insects and create a safe place for them to roost and overwinter.

By artists from The Sound Lounge.
A sculpture to help check in with nature
The Story of Rewilding
A hands-on and imaginative storytelling event that introduces children to environmental thinking.
Join Andy to create amazing props with recycled materials and become part of the Story of Rewilding narrated by Emily our local storyteller.
Families are particularly welcome to participate together.

Spoken Word
With a food and growing theme - you can join in, surprise us!

The Green Stage
Three 45 minute workshops: Composting and Power of the Humble Earthworm; Autumn and Winter Gardening; Seed Saving and Propagation (with some more topics up our sleeves if we need them...).

Stands for meeting and discussion with local projects
Stands for Tooting Community Garden (explore how to make teas from your garden plants); for the Wandsworth Food Partnership, Carbon Conversations and more. Hear about 2017's Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project that has sown the seed for creating a growing network across the borough. Learn about the Gardens of Refuge project with our partners CARAS, and about Transition Town Tooting's plans (bring us your ideas!).

Our pop-up Big Bed
Made from a big recycled shipping container, the Big Bed will showcase vegetables and flowers grown in Tooting by the beneficiaries of Share Community garden. And you can help decorate the planter on the spot.

There's bound to be lots here to catch your interest - we'll share the schedule soon and you can plan your day.
Or just come along and see what you find, have a chat and enjoy the atmosphere.

Woven through all these activities and more will be judging for the Top Tooting Cook, cooking and eating together at The Big Feast and admiring the displays of locally-grown produce. See last week's post for the timings for those events.

If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer in preparation or on the day or in follow up, please email Malsara Thorne at
Please share the #Foodival2017 plans by following Transition Town Tooting on Facebook and Twitter - thank you!

'I Grew This!'

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 5 weeks to go! All welcome & here's Part One of the plans.

Saturday, 16 September 11am - 5pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 220 Upper Tooting Road (close to Nando's) 
We are thrilled that the award-winning and free Tooting Foodival organised by Transition Town Tooting will be celebrating its 10th year this September.

The Foodival highlights the diversity of healthy and sustainable produce that can be grown, cooked and enjoyed in Tooting & nearby.
We welcome all growers and cooks and everyone of all ages who comes to take part!
All the Foodival events will be inside Mushkil Aasaan and also outside on part of Hereward Road right in the heart of Tooting.

There are several exciting strands to the Foodival:
  • We invite you to donate some fresh local produce which you've grown - timings below
  • There's the Top Tooting Cook competition for local individuals and cooks, using the donated local produce (info below)
  • There's The Big Feast which will be cooked live by our fab chef Volker, also using the lovely local produce (info below)
  • There will be a great range of practical and fun growing, sustainability and creative activities (more info soon) 

Donating locally-grown produce:
There are wonderful crops being grown right here by many people!
Foodival is about sharing the love, not necessarily donating big volumes - so please don't be shy to share some of what you've grown.
All donations gratefully received from 5pm to 9pm Friday 15th Sept, or from 10am to 11am Saturday 16th Sept at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW.
Or let us know when you would like us to collect.

See The Big Feast below for some special donation requests.
There are still five weeks to go, so get out the watering can, the nettle tea or whatever it takes! Ready, steady, GROW!

The Top Tooting Cook competition: 
Open to anyone living, growing or cooking nearby & free to enter. 
Full details about collecting ingredients and how to enter - click here for the flyer

Why enter? It's a fun way to celebrate local food; you can try out your skills; you meet others who are interested and share recipes; it will be fun; there'll be media coverage..and there are prizes!

Prize categories:
1. A dish made with apples and pears
2. A savoury dish
3. A pudding, dessert or cake
4. Pickles, preserves, jam, jelly or chutney

Foodival produce donors will supply the seasonal ingredients (or grow your own!) for you to cook and serve to our panel of hungry judges. You can collect ingredients at Mushkil Aasaan from 7pm to 9pm on Friday 15th Sept, or from 10 to 11am on Saturday 16th Sept.

Dishes need to be delivered by 2:00 pm on Saturday 16th, and judging follows.
Winners announced at 3:30pm!
Then the audience can taste as well - and get the recipes soon after.

The Big Feast:

Volker, our very own in-house gourmet chef at the Foodival has created a very special seasonal 3 course menu for this year’s Tooting Foodival. He's asking the green-fingered of the great South West London public to donate their locally grown produce.

  • Starter: Sizzling Pakoras Ingredients needed: Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 
  • Main course: Rainbow vegetable stir fry Ingredients needed: Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other vegetables including tomatoes, garlic, herbs
  • Dessert: Fruity Crumble Ingredients needed: Any fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries, grapes, bananas (yes we've had them donated, locally-grown!)
Volker will cook the dishes live and answer questions so you are able to make these at home

Details of the growing, sustainability and creative activities to follow.

For more info on Foodival, please contact Malsara Thorne via email
There's more info at the Foodival blog - click here
Please share on social media, and use the hashtag #Foodival2017

We hope to see you, and thank you very much - The #Foodival2017 Team.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Ready Steady GROW! for the 10th Tooting Foodival

The Tooting Foodival celebrates local growing, cooking and eating together. It's based on what people locally grow and donate - so we can all admire Tooting's skills and productivity. Plus we can offer super ingredients to the Top Tooting Cook contest and the chefs' delicious demonstrations. More info here.

Sowing radishes
Radishes harvested just 4 weeks later
There's still time to grow from scratch so you can donate to the Foodival on Saturday Sept 16th. It's about sharing the love rather than growing big quantities. We're  delighted by the diversity of what's donated
every year!

Starting now, what can you sow, grow and harvest for the Foodival?

If you can get sowing by the end of July, you could harvest these by mid-September:
  • Rocket
  • Coriander
  • mixed cutting Lettuces
  • Mustard Greens
  • Cima di Rapa (that's turnip tops)
  •  And more - do share your suggestions.
White turnips

Sunday, 23 July 2017

One week ago today... The Tooting Twirl!

Transition Town Tooting asked the buses and cars to budge over for the day and created a pop-up village green on the Bus Turning Circle. With lots on offer and nothing for sale, we invited everybody to re-imagine this space in a spirit of peace and celebration, what if it was something different? What opportunity would that create?

Over the afternoon, we played music with The Sound Lounge (thank you!), made things, whittled wood with The Furzedown Oak (thank you!), talked on benches made by Caras (thank you!), ate tremendous food from Dawat Restaurant (thank you!), got our bikes fixed with Dr.Bike (thank you!), drank Ethiopian coffee with Mona (thank you!) and gently and deeply asked the question, what if this place was something other than a Bus Turning Circle?!?!?

Our friend Rob, co-founder of the Transition Town Movement, came along from Totnes, he's written great blog and podcast about the event with reflections on the meaning of doing things like this for communities, you can read Rob's blog here

Huge thanks to all who supported the crowdfunding campaign via Fundsurfer and to Wandsworth Council, London Buses, Tooting Town Centre Management, London Sport, Batca, Khalsa Centre, Mushkil Aasaan, Work and Play Scrapstore, SLSC, Furzedown Community Network, Tooting Daily PRSS, Tooting Town Centre Business Partnership, Centre for Catholic Formation, Crowdfund 360, Tooting Bec & Broadway Neighbourhood Plan and all who supported and enjoyed the day. Let's keep the conversation going!

Here's some photos...

Along the way, there was a lot of making...
And workshops imagining our Village Green...
Jeni presents... and the fruits of making at Franciscan Primary School 
Jeni presents... a mini-make at Ravenstock! Summer Fair
Once the van was packed... we headed off to The Bus Turning Circle and did a bit of this...

Let nobody say after today that its not possible... Lucy, Jeni and Richard

Thursday, 20 July 2017

'Stay With Love': Gardens of Refuge Project update

We're reporting back every six weeks on the Gardens of Refuge Project. That's our local project running throughout 2017 with refugees and asylum-seekers living in and nearby Tooting, alongside our project partners CARAS and The Grange.

Our previous summary at the end of May can be read here.
In June and July we've worked with the CARAS Saturday Youth Club. 

Elly Brown, MD at CARAS says:
"We've already witnessed the
transformations that take place
when people from far and wide
can use their skills and knowledge
to create something shared."

What have we been doing together?

'Stay with Love' Making instant pallet benches:

In one mighty 4-hour session, a loose and changing group from the CARAS Youth Club co-designed, shared ideas, problem solved and brought in new team members to make four of these pallet benches.

Hats off to that dedicated group whose pride meant they insisted on eating their communal lunch sitting on the new benches.
Part of the production line was to write messages of welcome and invitation on the seat backs. 

These are in many languages.
These young people have come to the UK in search of a welcome, safety and to put down new roots. It's poignant that they felt comfortable to contribute their own personal invitations so directly to all-comers.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Foodival Menu

For the 10th Foodival on September 16th we need lovely local growers to help us deliver this free menu to the streets of Tooting:

Starter: Pakoras : Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 

Main Course: Vegetable Stew : Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other veg including tomatoes, garlic, herbs etc.

Dessert: Fruit Crumble : Any soft fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries 

Are you growing any of these? Can you help?

Some home grown donations from 2015
For details on the Foodival and how to get involved growing, cooking, eating or celebrating please visit THE FOODIVAL BLOG

Monday, 17 July 2017

Restart and Sewstart are back in Tooting this Wednesday

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 next Wednesday (we're back in October too!)

Wed 19th July -   6.30 - 9.00pm
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,

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

All welcome at The Tooting Twirl! This Sunday 16th July, 12noon - 4pm

4 days to go to Tooting's Pop-Up Village Green comes to life at the Bus Turning Circle, Longmead Road.

We'd love for everyone in Tooting to come along to the Tooting Twirl on Sunday to celebrate all the cultures of our town, make a grey space green and have a good dose of fun by opening a highway to games, music and food!

What's happening when?

12noon - 1pm: Come join in building the Village Green - hang some bunting, place some benches... give the Bus Turning Circle a beating heart!
1pm - 2pm: Twirling Street Games and a sharing picnic
2pm: Parade around the Bus Turning Circle in your Twirly best!
3pm - 4pm: Meet, mingle and relax on the pop-up village green

Do you do social media?

Please do tweet, Facebook and share on the day #TootingTwirl

We'll also be joined by the Tooting Bec and Broadway Neighbourhood Plan...

What is it about Tooting that you love? What might you want to change? What do you think we don't have that we need? What stories or places from the past do you cherish? The Tooting Twirl is the perfect place to collectively imagine what good change might look like for our town.

Would you like to take part? It'll take all of us to make the town green... 

Bring a colourful potted plant for the Giant Twirly Flowerbed or plant up a wheelbarrow to turn this grey space green...

Make something Twirly to wear in the 'What's your Twirl?' parade...

Bring a skipping rope or a street game you'd be happy to share...

Decorate your wheels to cycle in the 'What's your Twirl?' parade...

Bring a sharing picnic and a blanket...

All images: Rachel Miller

Jeni, Lucy and Rich - Co-Twirlers from TTT!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Welcome to TTT's new governance team!

There's been another election recently in Tooting: TTT has a new governance team who will be carrying out their roles until spring 2019.

TTT was established in 2008, and by 2011 we agreed to formalise the key governance roles and also fill them with willing volunteers who serve a term of two years. That means that:
  • no one has to do (or get stuck doing) the same role 'for ever'
  • there's an expectation that different individuals can step into these roles and carry them out in their own diverse & fresh ways
  • we share between us the responsibility for doing these useful roles which support us all in TTT
Give them a wave! Welcome to TTT's new governance team:

From the left: meet the Treasurer David, the two Co-Chairs Jeni and Sharon and the Secretary Eleanor. They look forward to meeting you!

All these roles are voluntary, and these four people work alongside TTT's project co-ordinators - and maybe lead TTT projects themselves. Earlier in the year we shared the role profiles. The Co-Chairs, for example, fulfil a leadership rather than a management role for TTT as a whole.

The election was part of TTT's Annual Celebratory Extravaganza, where we invited partners, volunteers and the curious to join us to recap strategy and activities in the previous year and look forward to the next.

We had an evening full of energy and heard from many colleagues who explored 15 projects large or small, long-term or one-off:
  • Thank you to all who spoke about projects and asked questions - and brought refreshments
  • Thank you to Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP for her vivid summary of the value of bringing people together in a practical and creative way across the Tooting community's diversity of views, voices and concerns.
One group game we did was partly aimed at meeting new people and finding out who was in the room, and partly aimed at imagining (on the spot) some new potential taglines for TTT. There are some great comments written on these balloons! You'll have to click to read them.

There's plenty to be involved with right now in TTT - no need to wait for the 2019 AGM. Please read the events listing and blog, sign up to our monthly email and keep an eye on facebook & twitter. Come and chat!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Fancy a Twirl in Tooting? Crowdfunding Campaign launched!

Imagine if the buses moved over for the day in Tooting's busy town centre to create a pop-up village green where children could dance and play and families and friends could share a picnic and watch the world go by?

The Tour de Tooting, 2016

Pledge to our crowdfunding campaign!

Transition Town Tooting has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Fundsurfer for The Tooting Twirl. The crowdfunding campaign runs until Tuesday 11th July. We'd love you to contribute so we can create space for the community to come together in a spirit of peace and celebration.
Can you pledge to support the campaign?
What's going to happen? Read on to see how you can get involved...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Join the 10th Foodival This September

Tooting Foodival is back this autumn.  What are you growing now that could be cooked up in 3 months time?  

On Saturday 16th September we'll be celebrating the range of low food mile food that can be grown in and around SW17.  Come along and join in, in whatever capacity you like.  We guarantee it will be FUN!

We Need Local Vegetable & Fruit Growers
And We Need Local Cooks!
Could It Be YOU? 

For more information or to get involved please email


Monday, 5 June 2017

Refugee Week 2017: Tooting activities starting Sunday 18th June

Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. 

Refugee Week 2017 starts in under a fortnight, and there are plenty of London activities to choose from.

Plus here are two local events to share:

1. Queens of Syria - free film Sunday 18th June

We're showing this thrilling and absorbing film about 50 Syrian refugee women joining together to prepare to perform an ancient Greek play about women and their families in war. It's definitely NOT simply a 'film of the play' - it's all about how the women explore telling their shared stories with passion and creativity. It's a moving and positive film.
Click here to see the flier, and save the date! Here's the listing on the Refugee Week site.
We're showing the film in the Hall at Mushkil Aasaan, the local charity supporting families, young people and the elderly.
  • Date: Sunday 18th June
  • Timings: Doors open 4:00 pm for tea and samosas, film at 5:00.
  • Venue: Mushkil Aasaan, 220 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW

2. Midsummer Merriment with CARAS
- Thursday 22nd June
Book now for the comedy night in Tooting Market, put on by TTT's partner CARAS. The host will be Arthur Smith - the Night Mayor of Balham. Many of the tickets have been sold already, here's the link.

  • Date: Thursday 22nd June
  • Timings: 7:30 to 10:30
  • Venue: Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN

Images from past Refugee Week activities: