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

Sunday, 29 October 2017

All welcome to the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth Project Celebration, Sat 11th November

We're very pleased to invite everyone who loves urban gardening with insects and other wildlife in mind to our free Pollinator Paths Wandsworth Project Harvest Celebration. This is a celebration sharing ideas, experience, fun, citizen science and community.

Here's the basic info about the project which has been running all year, linking together dozens of local gardeners and four community gardens in the borough and led by the London Sustainability Exchange.

We'll be thanking participants, sharing experience, enjoying workshops and other fun activities, networking and celebrating.

We're also welcoming anyone - gardener, community garden or other group - who might like to join a future project aimed at enhancing London's green spaces and biodiversity.

Project methods will always be accessible, encouraging people to grow pollinator-friendly plants in gardens, planters or balconies.

Plenty for families, friends and neighbours of all ages to do:
  • Enjoy the 'Your Local Insects Need Your Love' workshop 
  • Marvel at 'Worm Composting For Salads and Herbs Indoors'
  • Design and build Plastic Bottle Ladybird Houses to take home
  • Play 'Match the Pollinators to their Plants'
  • Design and make Insect Badges to wear with pride
  • Gasp at the Pollinator Paths project map
Date: Saturday 11th November 2017
Venue: The Penfold Centre, 1 Neville Gill Close, SW18 4TJ. The venue is right in the middle of the borough, on the west side of Southside Shopping Centre facing King George's Park.
Timing: 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Delicious snacks and drinks provided

Download the Harvest Celebration invitation and venue map here 

Free entry: please register online here

For more info: contact us by email here

All welcome!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Pop in to Stay With Love at the Sound Lounge on Saturday 28th and help us explore ideas for 2018

Last chance this weekend to see the lovely Stay With Love exhibition of refugee and asylum-seeker arts and creativity at The Sound Lounge  210 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EJ.

CARAS and TTT will be there at the exhibition ready to share tea, ideas and conversation from 3:30pm to 5:00pm on Saturday 28th Oct

Look for us on the two long tables at the back, right next to the exhibition.

All welcome on Saturday to:
  • have a cup of tea with us
  • see the exhibition of expressive and exciting creativity from many people and in many media
  • share ideas for 2018's activities and local partners for projects with the varied groups supported by CARAS with TTT
  • help us plan what's next in contributing to a welcoming and inclusive community in Tooting
 There's plenty to explore for the future together!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Pumpkin Party - This Sunday 29th October

Come and join our autumn festivities in Tooting Community Garden.

Following on from our normal open gardening session (11am-1pm), we will celebrating all things pumpkin – you can carve your own creations into the pumpkins, help make some fresh pumpkin soup and learn how to make delicious damper bread over a fire. All activities are free and suitable for children and adults

Pumpkin carving, pumpkin soup making and campfire cooking
Date: Sunday 29th October
Place: Tooting Community Garden, 5 North
Drive, London SW16 1RL (see map)
Time: 1pm-3pm

Following the activities on Tooting Community Garden, Friends of Tooting Common will be holding their annual Pumpkin Parade on Tooting Common by the cafe, from 3.30pm to 5.15pm.There will be competitions for the funniest, scariest, and most artistic pumpkin
(entry fee £2 per pumpkin, up to a maximum of £5 per family), plus competitions for fancy dress (in four different age groups). In addition, there will be storytelling, refreshments, tree dressing, and the event will finish with a grand parade of lit pumpkins.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Restart this Saturday on International Repair Day

This Saturday 21st October sees the first International Repair Day and happily we are hosting another Restart Party with the Restart Project from 2pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Rd, by Nandos.  All are welcome to this free event.  International Repair Day will be a chance to shout about the importance of repair and the growing global community repair movement; so far, there are 36 events in seven countries.  TTT is proud to be part of this celebration of repair and the important effort to think differently about electronics and waste. 
A Tooting Restart Party in 2015

Restart is a community repair event where skilled volunteers will try to keep your broken electronics out of landfill by repairing them.  The aim is to extend the life of electronic items from kettles to gadgets to laptops - we'll have a look at fixing anything!  At the last event the chef from Mirch Masala dropped in with an impressive looking metre long power tool, sadly not functioning. We found out what was wrong with it and hopefully many more masalas have since been mixed! 

We combine this in Tooting with Sewstart our community mending and sewing project, where Jeni will be on hand with her sewing machine and box of tricks to help you fix, improve or remodel your perhaps tired but much loved wardrobe favourites.  Come along and ask for advice, you might be surprised what you leave with!

Do remember to take back-ups of any electornic data on devices before handing them over to fixers as we cannot be responsible for loss of vital photos, files etc. 
And in the words of Restart Founders Janet & Ugo:
"Obey your conscience, disobey the throw-away economy. Repair!"

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Foodival Growers Poster

Here is this year's montage of growers from the Tooting Foodival 2017, the 10th TTT Foodival - wow, the first one only seemed like the other day!  We are really grateful to all our donors of fruit and vegetables without whom the festival could not happen.  More on the Foodival blog about this years event back in September. 

Can you spot yourself or someone you know?!

In this picture we should be able to pick out some of our individual donors: Jon, Kath, Hilary, Debbie, Richard, Indrajit, Heide, David, Mal, Jane, Richard, Barbara, Maggie, Judy, Kelly, Chris, Esther, Eleanor, Chrsitine, Lucy & Helen!

Thanks also to Tooting Community Garden, Paradise Co-op, Doddington & Rollo Community Garden, SHARE Community Garden, Abundance Southfields & Tamworth Allotments for your amazing contributions!

We really love Foodival and hope if you came along to this year's street festival version that you had a good time, whether eating sutainable home grown live cooked dishes, getting involved with our Craft or Green Stage activities, or chilling by the Sound Lounge stage.  Maybe you even had a rant on the Soap Box?!  More on the festival here.

Roll on 2018?

Friday, 13 October 2017

"Shazifim yerakim, gojeh sabz, jarareng, erik, janarek...." Tooting Community Garden's plums

Did you try the sour plums at the Foodival?

'These sour plums are known as shazifim yerakim in Israel, gojeh sabz in Iran, jarareng in Lebanon, erik in Turkey, and janarek in Jordan.'

These plums were saved after pruning the Greengage trees that grow in the tooting community garden as part of a pruning workshop. They were not ripe for eating but nothing goes to waste so Charles experimented with pickling the plums. They were certainly delightful at the Foodival. Something Unique.

The pruning workshop was delivered by Ryan O'Kane from The Orchard Project and we were joined by people from other gardens that could benefit from advice on pruning fruit trees.

Once we knew which trees were remaining then we needed to prune them  to provide space for air and better light to help them be healthy trees. Ideally this would be a vase shape but our particular trees are grown from 'suckers' - that is a  self propagating system connected to the main tree.

While we all wanted to get going with the variety of exciting tools they had brought along it was important that first we decided what the aims of the pruning were. The trees have been allowed to grow a bit wild which makes them great as a habitat but the pruning would help to promote tree health and improved crop. The aims are not complementary and that made it difficult in the beginning to decide on a strategy.

This is often something that we can struggle with any of our gardening aims. Balancing the needs of nature and the needs of humans are not always compatible and these decisions are hard. Particularly as a group who may have divergent views, or feel they do not know enough to choose a course of action. In the end we were able to agree a compromise with half reserved for habitat with some pruning for health and the other half would be cut back quite dramatically to get to a spacing that would promote fewer but stronger and more productive trees.

There was also time to look at the Victoria plum and identify branches that we could prune to promote healthy and strong growth for the tree.

While there were many people helping the plums are close together and it wasn't practical to prune more than two trees in the area at a time. So there is still more work to do but we now have a strategy that should be maintainable in the future.

It was a fantastic learning experience and if you have fruit trees in your own garden then check out for more advice and opportunities for you to learn about caring for your fruit trees.

Maybe you're inspired to start a new orchard? This year our friend Martin Cobley has helped establish the first Community Orchard in Wandsworth Borough. Congratulations! If you want to visit, contact him at

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Moth Night on Friday 13th October - all welcome!

This Friday 13th October as a part of Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project, all invited to a Moth Recording Walk at Putney Heath
This is a fun mix of citizen science and being outdoors in the city. If you have never seen live moths close up, it's a great opportunity.

Poplar Hawk moth in summer

Timing? Meet 6:30 pm 
Start Location? Boyd Court, 101 Carslake Road, Putney SW15 3DD
Activity? We'll set live moth traps, go for a short evening walk and then return to the traps to see what moths hve been attracted to them. 
Then, those that wish to can return to the Green Man Pub nearby to continue the discussion.
Clothing? We'll be working and walking on the Heath at dusk, so wear appropriate shoes. You could bring a torch.
Who is this for? Anyone interested, including children of course. Have they seen live moths close up?
Organisers & info? Contact or

We'll be guided by David Howden from London Natural History Society and hosted by Putney Community Garden representatives.

Moth Night is the annual national celebration of moth recording organised by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation, with local events aimed at raising awareness of moths among the general public.

Come and enjoy getting close to moths - and many of us are not aware that moths are significant pollinators. Time to change that!
Let’s learn more and help promote those great pollinators together.

More info about the the Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project - click here.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Opening night of Stay With Love exhibition - we celebrated with poetry, music and good company!

On October 3rd the opening night of the Stay With Love exhibition at The Sound Lounge in Tooting saw a very diverse group of 75 join in to celebrate the exhibition. There were teenagers, families and young children from the asylum-seeking and refugee community who are served by CARAS. There were many of the CARAS team of staff and volunteers, and lots of TTT volunteers. All have been contributing to the creative and expressive work that makes up the exhibiton.
Plus there were friends old and new from the wider community - it was a great welcoming mix from many countries!

Carrie was our MC for the night. She welcomed everyone and reminded us that the offer to 'Stay With Love' had been written in July on one of the pallet-benches made in the Youth Club. That's a poignant invitation for a young refugee to make.
We saw the delightful CARAS Youth Club short film: two minutes capturing the experience of sharing and value that many of us have enjoyed as volunteers over the past two and a half years. We'll add a weblink asap.

Hannah White, co-founder of the Sound Lounge, celebrated the work and good humour of the young people from CARAS who are doing certificated training as coffee baristas and as sound engineers at the café.

We shared poems and prose linked to the experiences of living in and valuing a new place, of changing perceptions and of new languages and relationships. Here is a poem read and written  by Resina Chowdhury:

To move away from a land
We must break ourselves off it completely. 
The split leaves a wound
a loss of memory, huge and gaping
which nothing material can fill. 

O Mother of a false birth, 
you were not ready for me. 
Where was the milk to offer your baby, all drained of blood? 
Dying, I was taken to where
the milk was plentiful
where there was blood to give, rich and warm
and we survived, 
more or less, weaned by another. 
But cannot forget those who held us before. 

What is the treatment for the loss of a culture? 
To see oneself continue in history? 
What can be said when the spirit is forgotten? 
When a life is not nurtured
because it is not understood? 
Still we seek out a tongue that will define. 

Teach me who I am. 
Give me knowledge to recover myself. 
Give me understanding to fill the loss. 
Give me strength to withstand hostility. 
Give me love to endure.  

We had live music of many kinds -
Dermot and Gerri led half an hour where the children 
used all the percussion instruments we could find. 
They were the backing band for extempore songs with words taken from some of the CARAS participants' statements about their heroes or ambitions.
David sang about Cristiano Ronaldo, Carrie sang
'I Want to Be a Dentist', Emiliano drummed...all fantastic!

Shonar Spiral from London played two gutsy songs.

Fadhil Alfadly and Kaspar King from Iraq rapped in Arabic over iPhone tracks and live drumming. One of the children stayed on to accompany their songs: she was very composed.

Dermot played a solo set as conversation continued until it was time to tidy up and head home after a lovely evening together.

Please visit The Sound Lounge and enjoy the exhibition any time the café is open. There are two interactive pieces alongside the wide range of creative work done by the Youth Club, the Family Groups and the ESOL classes.
There's a comments book set up, you can take a CARAS or TTT leaflet and please get in touch with CARAS or TTT if you want to know more, or if you want to find out how to volunteer. 
Please take a #StayWithLove sticker or two and ask your friends to visit!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Restart and Sewstart in Tooting Saturday 21st Oct

  • 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
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,

Friday, 6 October 2017

Time to celebrate!

October is our six-month anniversary as your Pips!

As well as marking our half birthday, it's a chance to catch a breath after the huge successes of the Tooting Twirl pop-up village green, our 10th annual Foodival sustainable food festival and countless other brilliant events this year.

October's meeting is about celebrating, checking in and changing things up

We have a working list of items to discuss and make decisions on but there will also be the chance to relax after the formal stuff, with some making activities, drinks and chat.

TTT is an exciting group with limitless potential and we want you to play a part in our future plans, so come along to our open meeting and find out how you can get involved.

Tuesday 10th October
The Wine Room
The Trafalgar Arms
148-156 Tooting High Street, SW17 0RT

We really hope to see you on the 10th!

Jeni (co-chair), Sharon (co-chair) and Eleanor (secretary)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Stay With Love exhibition is open and ready to visit. You can add your own views to the show.

We're thrilled that the Stay With Love exhibition has moved from concept to reality alongside our partners CARAS and The Sound Lounge. We experienced so much energy, creativity and patience from all the volunteers and staff involved in this experiment: Thank You!

We hung the show on the 2nd October, and then the exhibition opening was brilliant last evening. Now the show is available to enjoy whenever The Sound Lounge is open, until October 29th.

Drilling holes for hanging
Suspending the figure drawings

Two of the exhibition pieces ask for your views and ideas. 
We hope you get there and add to When I Dream and Thread Your Story devised by CARAS and the adult group. Of course, you can enjoy the whole show with coffee or a sandwich served by young people from CARAS who are engaged in certificated work training at The Sound Lounge.

'Thread Your Story'
'When I Dream'

The exhibition opening festivities yesterday included an afternoon family crafts workshop and then the main evening celebration - we'll report on the celebration in the next blog post.

Afternoon Family Crafts
Straight from school, two dozen children & adults launched into an hour and a half's making, all crowded around two long tables. It was a great scene and we admired their energy after a whole day in school. We offered two of our favourite and valuable projects. Both are related to the purpose and content of the creative work we have carried out alongside the refugees and aslyum-seekers from CARAS over the past two years in the Rooting in Tooting and Gardens of Refuge projects

"Tooting's insects need your love!"
We looked at photos of some local garden insects (predators and prey; garden crop-friendly and also less desirable) and then made plastic bottle insect shelters for beneficial ladybirds and lacewings in the garden.
With some clever planning, decorations onto the rolled-up corrugated cardboard could be protected from rain by being placed inside the bottle rather than stuck on the outside of the plastic (= design and technology for real).
Families took their bottle-houses home to hang in the trees in their own gardens or neighbourhoods.

She's added a #StayWithLove sticker

"Feel safe and breathe!"
Secondly, we painted garden row markers with messages of welcome on them. That's in the same spirit the CARAS Youth Club showed when they wrote inviting comments in many languages on the on four inscribed pallet-benches for the Tooting Twirl - one is in the show and two more are being used in the cafe.

Children and adults devised messages - another design and planning challenge - which they painted on narrow wooden slats we've rescued from discarded bed frames - very neat recycling as the slats are strong and a perfect size. The artists donated all the painted markers to the Tooting Community Garden, which we really appreciate.

All the new markers, laid out on one of the benches

More soon on the evening opening celebrations....

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

'Stay With Love' exhibition opens today in Tooting

It's the day of the opening of our CARAS partnership 'Stay With Love' exhibition at The Sound Lounge in Tooting - 210 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EJ

All very welcome, and here are the timings:

4:00-5:30pm Pop-up session making and crafts for all the family
7:00pm Doors open, come and enjoy the exhibition
7:30pm Formal welcome to 'Stay With Love' exhibition plus celebrating the young people who have gained work experience certificates. Followed by sharing any poems or spoken word pieces, and time for mingling and exploring the exhibition. Soft drinks only until 8:00.
8:15pm Live music begins - some special treats in store

It's going to be a really enjoyable evening & we look forward to seeing you!
Background info here. The exhibition continues thoughout October.