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

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Growth in the Tooting Community Garden

On a sunny day, after 7 weeks with mean temperatures a couple of degrees warmer than normal, it's easy to hope that spring is here. (But last year there was a hard frost in March). Have a look below at some encouraging views in the Community Garden today:

Robin's-eye view: autumn-sown garlic is looking good
We photograph these every year

Winter wheat: future sourdough bread
for the Tooting Foodival!
March 25th 2013: Reception children inspect a perfect disc of ice
Next to bloom: it look like it will be the primroses.
The Community Garden is open every Sunday from 11:00-1:00, and we're located at 5 North Drive, SW16 1RN, opposite Tooting Common. More info on our Facebook page.
Don't forget to come along to our Seed Swap (and more) event from 14:00-17:00 on 22nd March at 222 Mushkil Aasaan, Upper Tooting Rd.
All welcome!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Meet & Make update from SMArT

The Meet & Make at Sprout last Wednesday was really relaxing. The next time I feel like stepping off the treadmill of life for a few moments I might just reach for another 'cathedral window' quilting project which was our featured craft. Just look what we achieved in the 2 hours! It turns out it is more simple to do than it looks.Thanks go to Grandma Lawes in Salisbury who was caring enough to share this skill with me and, now lots of us.
All hand sewn
and to keep you up to date with Arts In Transition locally, here is the SMArT Notice Board.
Things are warming up
for info or questions about making and arts in Tooting you can send Jeni an email on

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

"An experience none of us will forget..."

Celebrating the Community Garden & Gatton School rain water catchment project.

In November and December 2013 we posted blog reports about the 'Big Build' project that we've been doing in the garden with Year Six children and staff from Gatton School, and with TTT volunteers. 
We ran this for seven weeks, and today we managed to get all the main parties together to celebrate the successful completion of the project, and thank everyone who contributed.

YES it rained a lot in January, and the water butts are full: with a theatrical flourish we lifted the lid off one of them and gazed admiringly at the beautiful water.

NO we don't need the water now! But last summer we ran out completely, and we want to garden within the natural limits of the place. Accommodating unpredicatable weather is going to be a key growing skill in the future!

And as well as creating a tangible result with the project, we went through a fascinating process over the series of sessions with the children and volunteers. To see all the past TTT blog entries for highlights and pictures, click on Gatton School in the menu bar at the top, below the blog title.
And we'll share our learning as a practical case study.

Today, eight children combined to give a speech they wrote themselves about the project (and also said a bit about the whole experience of coming to the garden). If you would like to read the whole speech by the children , please click here. Here are some of their delightful words:

"Our newest project, to build a 'state of the art' water shelter, was an experience that none of us will forget. We helped to saw the wood, make concrete (not cement!) and build the structure. I doubt if any other experience we have will beat this one." 

"All this has been a phenomenal and amazing experience for us. We have not only benefited by learning to make a difference to the community that we live in but also how to be worthy citizens who are aware of what being eco-friendly really means." 

"For some of us, who have only seen vegetables in the supermarket, we were amazed to find out that potatoes grow underground and that sunflowers grow as big as our heads!"   

We were also very pleased to welcome Naseem Aboobaker from Mushkil Aasaan, the local social care service which owns the garden site. In 2011 she talked to us in TTT about using the land for a community garden. Thank you, and we appreciate that trust!
Thanks to Malik Gul of the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network for joining us, too.

More thanks to Richard who designed the structure - without his energy (and tools), the project would have remained just another nice idea.
And respect to all the volunteers - twelve of us - who have been flexible and amazingly cheerful!
Gatton School funded the water butts, the new timber and roofing materials: thank you! Special gratitude to the school kitchen for making the delicious tiffin today.

Most thanks are due to the 60 Year Six children who were so involved with this. 
Now we'll aim to develop something together for the spring and summer which will catch all our imaginations in the same way - and link with the School's Eco Project. We're continuing to offer outdoor learning with the Reception classes, too.

If you would like to contribute to this school project, or join in with other Community Garden activities, please email us

  All welcome!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Tooting Transitioners Visit Lewes

The sunshine on Saturday was a welcome break after long weeks of endless rain and stormy weather. It turned out to be a special day as a core group of Tooting Transitioners ventured out on their first outing to the historic market town of Lewes in East Sussex in hope of a "Fun Day Out".
Juliet from Transition Town Lewes met us at the station and showed us around, our first stop being to buy some Lewes Pounds, which have an established presence in many of Lewes’s shops and businesses. After a breeze through a vibrant farmers' market, we headed to Seedy Saturday, a busy well attended event with a plethora of stands selling and swapping seeds, exchanging ideas on everything from growing fruit and vegetables to wild basketry and pottery.

Whilst the sun was still out, the group decided to take in the local sites. Lewes is a cute market town with a castle on top of a hill and lots of narrow alleyways and twittens.  Few high street chains clutter up the high street here, but instead numerous individual shops, cafes and restaurants attract the eye. Lewes really is an idyllic place to spend exploring on a Saturday afternoon.

After a hearty lunch at the Lewes Arms washed down with a pint or two of Harveys, we got the opportunity to enjoy a good chat and exchange ideas with Lewes transitioners, and compare the joys of living in our respective boroughs.

After a further meander around town and down to the Ooze flood plain we were ready to finish our afternoon with another pint in the Snowdrop, the site of a tragic avalanche of snow (hence the name) which killed a number of Lewes cottage dwellers in that area.

By now the TTTers and TTLers were on very friendly terms and before we kissed and departed we promised to keep in touch with each other in the hope that one day they too could be tempted to venture out to sample the delights of Tooting.  Malsara