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

Monday, 23 April 2012

Growing Successfully in the City

The 'Monthly Do' on Sunday April 22nd at Wandsworth Borough Council’s Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park saw several of us from Transition Tooting join with gallery staff to offer a drop-in afternoon about on ‘Growing Successfully in the City’. Yes - that broad topic included different prompts for the ways ‘urban growing’ is expressed: growing food and flowers; developing green space and experiencing nature; building wellbeing and happiness; growing knowledge and skills; playing; and making new links across the community.
We were lucky to a few hours of sun within a weekend of blustery weather. After a quiet start, 145 people were counted into the Gallery by 4pm. The activities and displays attracted some of them – usually in couples it seemed – to join in:   
Ø  to explore the networks of waste and new social relationships created and recorded by Jane in her Plastic Bottle Tops project
Ø  to pick cards and share ideas, and think of personal actions to take in the DIY Happiness game guided (in the wind) by Belinda
Ø  to play an outdoor Food Footprint game about CO2 in the UK food chain with Charles, using painted boxes from Tooting market
Ø  to make urban-styled seed planters with Li
Just as Charles’ talk on urban growing and transition was about to kick off at 3:30, the sky went black and a strong gust capsized one of the gazebos. All the helpers and audience went out to sort it out in the driving rain – a great image of community spirit in action…
Difficult to plan, but I recommend it as a way to start a talk!  We began with a vivid sense of shared experience among a group who met as strangers: completely relevant to the topic.

Thanks loads to Laura, responsible for Participation & Education at the Gallery, for conceiving the idea and inviting us, and to all the Gallery staff & Justin for a lot of work on the day. The Pump House is a great venue, and we’d love to develop something else together in the future.        Charles

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