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

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Six gardens to inspire us

TTT people have made six fascinating garden visits (well five visits to new gardens, and our garden seems fresh every day). We want to share our impressions of things that excited us in many settings, from diverse and creative points of view, all of which can inspire our growing in Tooting.
Yes we are only showing snapshots - on another day, and for another visitor, there'd be a different experience.
Two gardens are in New York, in Manhattan's Alphabet City - where guerilla gardening began in the early 1970s in a bid to develop community ties and reduce unsafe areas. It wasn't set up by politicians, but by individuals mobilising together.
Which is your favourite garden; what inspires you to grow?
Share a comment below this post...
First, the Tooting Community Garden. We have been sowing beans, corn, and more beans - one of our contributions for Growing for the 2014 Foodival. Come and see them at our Garden Open Day, from 1000-1700 on Sunday 15th June, when we're open as part of Open Garden Squares and the Furzedown Festival.
Bursting out on 21st May

Sowing on 5th May

Second, El Jardin del Paraiso in New York City.  Home to the most fantastic tree house (or should I say tree nest) I've ever seen. It was great to see so many children enjoying the space and hear music being played (much like our garden every Sunday).
The tree nest was the result of a partnership with local artists, and
reminded me of the Furzedown Oak project that we're part of in Tooting. It really brought to life how art can inspire people's connection with the natural environment around them and help their enjoyment of that space.

Third, Chelsea Physic Garden.
A paradise since 1673 for lovers of plants and botanical history, right on the Thames near the Royal Hospital (and the Chelsea Flower Show right now). It is very welcoming, and in beautiful condition, with the wow factor of expert planting and interpretation.

I love the 'Shelf Life' project tucked away in the teaching area: growing common shop and supermarket foods in their sales packaging: from aloe vera to guava to wheat.

Fourth, Rosendale Allotments in Dulwich. Founded in 1908, the allotment assocation has 480 plots (and a long waiting list). The site lies on a steep hill, and every kind of crop is grown around the gardeners' benches and sheds - some for relaxing to enjoy the view towards Canary Wharf and The Shard. Thanks to the Site Officers Marco and Sophia!
The website is full of good growing guidance

Fifth, Sissinghurst Castle, in Kent.  There's the stunning National Trust garden (really, there were no weeds in the beds), and also a new kitchen garden to reduce the 'food miles' of the fresh food used in the two cafes. There are two full time kitchen gardeners - yes we are envious!

Sixth, it has to be the 6th Street and Avenue B Garden in New York City.
What struck me about this garden was the beauty and variety of the space - it was full to bursting with flowers and plants, grouped closely together. The joy was the exploration along tiny paths and under canopies - each revealing another space - a pond with fish, plentiful raised beds for herbs, wild flowers, ferns and vegetables, a stage for community events, shady secret seating areas for tranquility and reflection, and much more besides.
I discovered that this site is so loved by the community that it is now permanent, and welcomes 200 children through its doors every week as part of an education program that has gone from strength to strength. Truly inspirational.

As well as coming to garden with us in the Tooting Community Garden any Sunday, another great activity is the wonderful and creative Chelsea Fringe, running now until 8th June.  



Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Our 8th 'Carbon Conversations' series has begun

We began last evening...........our small group's exploration of understanding, choices and action on carbon reduction.
The participants aren't all starting from the same place on this journey. Some people in the group know a lot, some know less, and for all of us terms like a low-carbon future or carbon footprint may be simple words, but what do they mean?
Yes, we've promised to be careful of jargon.
However there is no getting away from the fact that it's useful to become more 'carbon literate', and engage with some new terminology, and some measurement ('where are all those tonnes of C02?') -without becoming carbon bores or confusing people.

Sketch of an earlier carbon conversation, by Alice Maggs
We asked ourselves the question: why do we bother? to act on sustainability and carbon-reduction in our lives.
Here are our responses, and no one needed to mention carbon at all in these personal and passionate comments:
  • I feel more powerful and in control, rather than helpless
  • It's a crime not to
  • I wish to look after the world
  • I hate waste and with my 'cheapskate tendencies' I love to recycle
  • I care about the future, and my children's lives
  • I believe doing positive things makes more positive things happen
  • We are all at risk - people, countries, nature
  • This is a global challenge, and I want to know what I can do
These comments show a range - maybe some are from the head and are about understanding and facts; maybe some are gut feelings from the heart; some are about taking action that's hands-on.
We have a creative mix in the group for this series!

This session was designed to frame the whole series, and the next meetings are focused on separate practical topics. The second meeting is Tuesday 27th May, and you can still join the rest of the series then.
For more info, click here for the flyer.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Painting of the Wandle Valley Girls - Tonight at Sprout

Come and see how easy it is to paint things in a totally artistic way!

We are creating a community of papier mache ladies for the Deen City Farm exhibition as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival. Last month we created the structures and at this evening's Meet & Make its time to get the paints out!

Here are some finished ones to give us some inspiration..
We are working together on this project so come along even if you didn't make a head last month I am so sure you will have a great time reconnecting with your creative self!

Meet & Make 
6:60 - 8:30 ish
Sprout Community Arts Space
74 Moyser Road
SW16 6SQ.

brought to you by S.M.Ar.T network of  T.T.T.
call or email Jeni on 07944693015 and

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Join us for Carbon Conversations 19 May to 7 July

All welcome to our eighth series of Tooting Carbon Conversations.
We have a group formed now to start on 19th May, with a couple of places left - please do join in for a free, instructive, practical and non-judgemental tour around reducing your own carbon footprint.

Click here for the flyer with all the details. And click on CARBON CONVERSATIONS at the top of this blog page to read past TTT posts.
To sign up or chat, email Charles at - but don't leave it too late!

And we have a fascinating new offer:
Our Transition Town Tooting colleague Jenny is developing the idea for Carbon Collaborations - an informal space, online and face to face in other meetings and workshops.
Carbon Collaborations can encourage people to share their own successes and challenges in understanding and managing their own journey with carbon reduction in home energy, travel, food, consumption, and more.
We'll share What does that look and feel like?
That could be expressed through wishlists, diaries, sharing equipment or time, confessions, pleas for help if stuck, photos of achievements... 
We'll get into this at the end of this next Carbon Conversations series.

Monday, 5 May 2014

AGM Report

The 2014 AGM and 6th birthday party took place last Tuesday.  There was a Tooting related quiz and the usual AGM formalities of re-electing co-chairs and presenting accounts before a brief update on projects past present and future. 
While we look forward to big events like the Foodival, three exciting new ideas include a drive to promote products "Made in Tooting", Carbon Collaborations to add to Conversations and an autumn Looking Out For Tooting event finding alternative viewpoints of our beloved urban nexus.  Keep a look out for more on these on this blog and social media.

Meanwhile today there's a well being walk (Sir Owain and the Lady of the Well) ending on the Common where fanSHEN will perform the Applecart, both as part of the Wandsworth Arts Festival Fringe. Get down there if you can!