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

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Growing Tooting

TTT is delighted to launch Growing Tooting, a new project to promote community gardening in Tooting and nearby neighbourhoods. This is a year-long project which aims to attract more people into growing healthy local food.
You may be familiar with some of the benefits of community growing, for instance:
  • Socialising with a shared interest 
  • Improving your health via gentle physical exercise and eating fresh, highly nutritious fruit and veg 
  • Helping the environment by reducing food miles 
Whether you are completely new to growing fruit and veg, or whether you are an experienced gardener wanting to develop your growing skills, this project can help you. Having a garden isn’t necessary: we can also give you ideas about growing on a windowsill, windowbox or balcony. If you’re a school, community group or club, or a local enterprise and you’d like to set up a growing space or develop an existing one, we can help too, with ideas about crops, composting, encouraging wildlife, etc.

In the coming months we’ll be holding a number of community events, so please follow the Growing Tooting posts on this site. In the meantime, if you’d like to contact the project: call Martin on 07980 095 152 or EMAIL US

We are very grateful to Wandsworth Borough Council Big Society Fund for their support of this project.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Electrical or electronic items that need fixing?

Broken something & reluctant to throw it away?
The Restart Project, encourage and empower people to use their electrical and electronics longer!  They are back in Tooting on Saturday 26th September - 2.30 - 5.30pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nandos), so do come along! blog post image
Do note that Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please do not forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing!

Restart Parties have become a regular feature in Tooting and we are on the lookout for skilled local fixers. If you are interested come along and say hello - or email Hilary Jennings for details.

More info re the Restart Project HERE including details of regular skillshares all over the UK and further afield.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Foodival Stories

Over on the Foodival blog we have been rounding up the stories from this year's sustainable food event in Tooting.  There's a Balham woman who grew bananas ...
Bananas grown by Susan in her Balham back garden
And Sophie was the new face winning the prestige title of Top Tooting Cook 2015 with her beautiful culinary creation.
Top Tooting Cook Sophie with her prize winning dish
Pooja produced the tastiest dish according to the judges and Jenny Shand from SHARE Community Garden managed to cultivate the ugliest vegetable!  There's more on the prize winners here

Dave says: "Gimme Fracking not Solar!"
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister tried to persuade us that subsidies for those dodgy polluting, diminishing, ever harder to reach fossil fuels are much more important than those for renewable technology.  Indeed this government plans to make community solar power generation unviable by slashing solar feed-in tariffs.  Sign the petition here to try to get this folly debated in Parliament.  Thanks to Furzedown Low Carbon Zone for highlighting this issue.

Then there was the mysterious Giant Pea spotted up and down Tooting High St and featured in this Wandsworth Guardian video
Children show off the Ugly Vegetables - the red pepper was voted the winner!
Keep an eye out for more stories from the Foodival, some great pictures and a video over the coming days.
Meanwhile what did you think of this year's Foodival?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Transition Network International Conference

You may know that TTT is part of a network of Transition Towns round the world - community groups of all shapes and sizes who are each taking local action on environmental and social sustainability. TTT's motto is Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change. That encourages a wide range of activities, and inspires us to want to get on with it alongside local partners who are 'transitioning' to establish a better future now.

The Transition Network is hosting its first international conference for 3 years: hundreds of people are booked in from dozens of countries this weekend in Devon. 
Nine of us from the TTT family are attending. It's only a week after the Foodival - there are still many great and tired memories to share, and now we are about to make new ones.

As I post this blog four of us are zooming down the road towing a cute caravan. 

The others are packing or looking for their train tickets...

Between us we've been invited to facilitate three workshops, and we're proud to be able to do that: 
  • Tomorrow Lucy is co-facilitating a day workshop on 'The Art of Invitation: creative engagement for ourselves and our communities'. Details are here.
  • On Saturday morning, Charles, Jenny, Richard and Sharon are hosting a workshop on 'Outdoor Learning with Young People'. Details here.
  • On Saturday afternoon, Dan and Rachel from fanSHEN are offering a workshop on 'Creative Facilitation'. Details here.
We'll all attend other sessions and there will be a lot of interaction and chatting in the lunch queues.

It's very inspiring to me that 'Transition' includes TTT's local Tooting focus and the wide international network. 

In the last month we've been lucky to welcome visitors from 2 overseas Transition initiatives - Catherine and Leonard from Transition Albany in the Bay Area of California...

...and Caroline from Transition XL in Ixelles, Brussels. 
We've learned a lot from them all, and also shared the joys of Tooting. 

At the conference we're looking forward to sharing ideas that encourage us and make our community projects more effective. 

We'll let you know all about it. -Charles

Monday, 14 September 2015

Foodival 2015 Rocks!

Thank you to every veg and fruit donor, every restaurant cook, every great musician, every ugly vegetable, every volunteer, stall holder, artist, sponsor and Top Tooting Cook who made Foodival 2015 a fantastic celebration of home grown food cooked by local cooks. So many great connections made in a melting pot of south London's food community. A mountain of photos and video will be sifted and we will report back on who won what. 

But it's back to the real world of (non-Foodival, non-Transition) work for most of us this morning, unfortunately, so bear with us! Keep an eye out of the Foodival blog for more in the next few days ...

If you missed the action over the weekend, you can see what you missed in the PROGRAMME HERE

Roll on Foodival 2016 (10th/11th September 2016)

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Fantastic Day One At Foodival

It was a great Day One at Tooting Foodival with more local fruit and veg donated than ever before.  Thank you so much to all those who gave some of their hard grown produce.
Tomorrow's celebration of home grown home cooked food should be epic.  The action starts at 12.00 with plenty of food related stalls, music and some theatre involving a giant pea.  See you there!

Foodival Starts Today

Tooting Foodival 2015 starts today with the collection of home grown fruit and vegetables at Mushkil Aasaan at 222 Upper Tooting Rd, next to Nandos!  If you can contribute even the tiniest carrot to the Foodival cause, we would love to see you!

Have your photo taken in the I Grew This frame or enter your misshapen marrow in the Ugly Veg competition.  Perhaps you could enter the Top Tooting Cook competition?  Volker Nissen from Volker & Quinn will be doing cooking demos and you'll be able to taste what he cooks.

The produce will be gathered and given to local restaurants and cooks for tomorrow's big day out at Samaj Hall where there'll be music, stalls, a Giant Pea, lots of locally cooked, locally grown dishes to try and we'll find out who really is the ugliest veg of all - competition winners win meals for two at local restaurants, so why not join in for a chance to win.

We hope you enjoy the Foodival weekend!
#seedtofeast #uglyveg #Foodival2015

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Who's Playing At This Year's Foodival?

Two singer songwriters, two bands, a ukulele combo plus some alternative making & carnival will light up this weekend's Tooting Foodival at the Samaj Hall.  But can you guess who the performers are? Clues below:
Head over to the Foodival blog for the full details of this great line up. 
We look forward to seeing you at Mushkil Aasaan on Saturday for the vegetable and fruit collection or for the food and entertainment at Samaj Hall on Sunday. Or Both! Don't forget to bring your plate!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Exploring facilitation choices for our 'Rooting in Tooting' project with asylum-seekers and refugees

Our new 'Rooting in Tooting' project has been developed with the Tooting charity CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers). We've written two posts so far, please scroll down this blog to read them. You'll see that our pilot project in May and June was enjoyable and positive. 

For Those in Peril on the Sea - Hew Locke
Quiz question A: what percentage of the migrants who have come to Europe so far in 2015 have reached Calais? 1%, 4%, 8%, 15%? Answer is at the end of the post.

On Sept 1st, 11 of us gathered at CARAS for an orientation hosted by the charity team. 
Against a background of dramatic media coverage, our intention was to understand just a bit more about the 'whys, whats and hows' for refugees and asylum-seekers, and the experiences of the young people and families with whom CARAS works.

We know a lot about the activities we are going to do offer: growing and gardening and improving biodiversity at the CARAS office, creative projects, telling the Rooting in Tooting story over the next year, and exploring low-carbon living. 
We're not familiar with the reality of life for refugees now
  • How should we offer activities so that they are meaningful to participants, and so that we share them in an appropriate way? 
Rug People - Paloma Varga Weisz

A 2-hour discussion on this topic had to be very selective, and we take our TTT hats off to Eleanor and Molly as guides. 
Thank you for your preparation and care, and thoughtful, challenging comments.

Quiz question B: What was the country of origin for the largest number of unaccompanied children entering the UK so far in 2015?  
Afghanistan; Eritrea; Albania; Syria? Answer is at the end of the post.

Three of the topics that we discussed:

1. Refugees and asylum-seekers have been repeatedly processed and questioned...of course those are the steps for coming to an agreement about official leave to stay in the UK. 
  • To balance that experience in our activities: we'll ask for and trust that individuals have skills and that they can teach each other; we'll tackle things together rather than directing.We'll let participants volunteer what they want to tell us.
The Folkestone Mermaid - Cornelia Parker
2. Unaccompanied teenagers are resilient and ambitious, not passive. They have crossed many countries (at CARAS 18 home countries are represented), and weathered many setbacks (the ones that make it). Asked in youth club discussions about their ideal futures, they want to give something back - for example become a teacher, or a pharmacist. "In many ways they are the alpha children of the world", and they deserve respect. 
  • We're encouraged not to shy away from new vocabulary that can be stretching and thought-provoking. We'll explain specialist and unfamiliar language.
3. What is going well in the UK for refugees? The UK system sees teenage unaccompanied asylum seekers as 'children first' and provides a range of services to support them, so that as far as possible they can experience life like other teenagers locally - with everyday choices, opportunities, and challenges. 

Public Works - Folkestonomy
These approaches are role models for other countries.
  • We'll try and reflect the atmosphere in the youth club, which "feels like a group of people having a nice time together".   We'll encourage putting down roots.
All the photos are taken at Folkestone Sculpture Triennial shows 2008-2014, which included themes of dislocation and distant travel in the setting of a derelict Channel port railhead. 
And the two quiz answers? Question A: 1%. Question B: Albania.

Please contact TTT if you would like to discuss or contribute to this project. - Charles

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Reducing Waste for Foodival

In today's news we learn that 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic and are likely to retain some in their gut. It's pretty horrendous that so much waste plastic ends up polluting our oceans and we will be highlighting waste at this year's Tooting Foodival

An Albatross takes a shine to a plastic bottle

It is easy to forget that plastic comes largely from fossil fuels, that diminishing supply of 300m year old organic matter [see US Dept of Energy] that currently powers the global economy. 

An event we ran nearly five years ago, Plastic from Oil Well to Ocean via Tooting, looked in more detail at this topic and, perhaps surprisingly, is by far the most read post in the history of this blog!  Some of our readers evidently think this topic is important. 

As usual, as part of Foodival, we will aim to give the south west London public a taste of locally grown, locally cooked, low food mile, tasty food.  But we really want to minimise the waste we create as much as possible and especially waste from plastic that is so harmful to our environment, the natural world and ultimately us.  So, can you help us?

This year we are asking all festival attendees to BRING YOUR OWN plate and cutlery to the Foodival.  That way we will have less waste, fewer CO2 emissions and a lighter environmental footprint.  Yes it might be a bit of a hassle and something we are not used to doing, but also is this small change that hard to accomplish?  We hope that as many of you as possible will try to join in with this initiative.  We will have biodegradable plates & cutlery on hand as a back up, but there is still an environmental impact inherent in any product manufacturing, so we will be charging for these! 

So the message is please BRING YOUR OWN or suffer the £1 a plate!