About Us


We're part of a world-wide community movement in response to peak oil and climate change. This site gives you details of our up and coming events and meetings, as well as reports and related matters that are going on in Norwich and East Anglia.

NEWS AND RELATED EVENTS... Common Room - Low Carbon Cookbook - Magdalen-Augustine Celebration - Norwich FarmShare - Transition Free Press 4 - Visions for Change -On the Blog Harvest: Looking in the Archive 2009-2013 - Flight of the Butterflies - Where We Are Now

Friday, July 29, 2011

REPORT: Coming Together -Transition Conference 2011

What was the story of the conference? Last year Stoneleigh's talk on peak oil and the financial crisis burst upon the scene and shocked us into looking at the future as a unified group. This year the strands were many and subtle and required time to reflect on. One common response to the weekend's full-on networking and activities and celebrations was the need for core messages people could take home to their initiatives and transition towns.

Calm. Focused. Mature. Engaged were the words used by everyone. A willingness to get involved with Transition at a deeper and more committed level. A willingness to accept challenges and break the tyranny of superficial communications. What kind of culture do you want to create? was a key question asked by Nick Osborne of Transition Glastonbury.

A lot of the discussion was happening at the edges. Like the conversation about livelihoods, the national hubs getting together and organising themselves as networks, the people from Barcelona and Madrid talking about Transition in the squares of Spain. How Transition and permaculture provided a central organising structure when everything seemed to be falling apart . . .

Meanwhile I'll leave you with one of my favourite conference videos taken from the Social Reporting workshop I ran with Ed Mitchell and David Wilcox. Mike Grenville, editor of the Transition Network news talking about change . . . and those butterflies.

For full report, including write up of the sessions, recordings, videos and photographs, check out the excellent Transition Conference blog 2011 Charlotte Du Cann

Friday, July 1, 2011

RELATED EVENT: Encounters with Butterflies@UEA - 8 August

Sunday 7 August 10:30am-4pm there will be a day of fun and research with butterflies at the university. In the morning, researchers will talk about the impact of climate change on butterfly populations and distributions and focus on the importance of dispersal capacity for butterflies to shift their ranges.

After lunch, they will demonstrate some of the research techniques using common butterflies and explain how you can help with their project.

Free lunch!

Venue: UEA, Arts building, room 01.03, NR4 7TJ Booking essential before 4 August: contact Nathalie at n.gilbert@uea.ac.uk

Welcome to our July 2011 News!

Read all about it in the updates and reports below from our Transition Norwich news crew: Norwich FarmShare share their first of the summer's harvest, Economics and Livelihoods discuss plugging the leaks, Magdalen Street Celebration makes bunting, Transition Circle West maintains bikes, Low Carbon larder keeps growing and cooking and eating, plus all the key meetings, the latest on the blog and more . . . .

Norwich FarmShare - First Shares in the Harvest

Despite the near Saharan conditions endured early in the growing season FarmShare, Norwich's own community farm, has 5 acres of great looking vegetables at its Postwick site ready for harvest through the summer. Harvest shares started last week and have been greeted with enthusiasm by FarmShare members. That the vegetables are being shared only a few weeks later than originally planned is a testament to the hard work of head grower Laura, her assistant Tierney and team of irregulars.

FarmShare, which grew out of the Transition Norwich Food Group and is supported by local NGO East Anglia Food Link, has had a shaky start because of the weather but is really beginning to find its feet: almost 50 vegetable share holders (and rising) are now sharing the weekly harvest, meeting each other, volunteering on the farm, learning new skills and sharing their knowledge. There's enough space at Postwick to grow vegetables for over 100 people and the site has great potential for other activities - from training to beekeeping. Josiah Meldrum

To find out more about FarmShare and sign up for your harvest share email info@norwichfarmshare.co.uk or visit the FarmShare website: www.norwichfarmshare.co.uk

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Opening to the Public - 2 July

On Saturday 2nd July the garden opens to the public and during summer it will be open every day between 9am and 6pm, with shorter opening hours in winter. Thanks to lots of hard work by volunteers it is now looking lovely. The wildflower meadow is a mass of blue, yellow and white (cornflowers, corn marigolds and corn chamomile) and the borders are full of herbs and flowers. At the top of the garden the raised beds are full of thriving vegetables, with the promise of later crops (tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers) to come.

The Grapes Hill Community Garden Group will have a stall at St. Benedict's Street Fair on Sunday 10th July and a collection of photographs of the garden will be on display at the EXPOSURE Photographic Exhibition at St. Margaret's Church in St. Benedict's Street between 5th and 16th July (admission free; closed Mondays).

Later in the day after St. Benedict's Street Fair we will have an evening of food, drink and music in the garden from 6 - 9pm. Admission is free. Come along and see our Urban Oasis! Jeremy Bartlett.

Above: Grapes Hill Community Garden, 27th June 2011, photo copyright Jeremy Bartlett.

The Leaky Bucket of Norwich - Economics and Livelihoods - 7 July

It’s quite difficult to deny that the financial collapse has been quite a shock to the economy, but the big question is why should it affect me? Surely local services shouldn’t be affected by what London’s bankers are up to? Why have local workers lost their jobs because of a crisis that started in the USA’s mortgage market?

Imagine a leaky bucket. Water is being poured in, but as soon as the pouring stops, the water continues to flow out, and the bucket runs dry. This is a metaphor for our local economy, with national government and banks pouring money in, until a crisis comes along, and they stop lending and cut back budgets. The money currently in the local economy soon leaks out to banks in interest payments and to large corporations.

If we plug those leaks, by directing our expenditure back into the local community, rather than to national corporations, the local economy will become much stronger, multiplying the positive effect of each pound that you spend, generating local economic resilience. Much easier said than done? Definitely. But certainly not impossible. In the Economy & Livelihoods group, we'd like to see what we can do to help the process along.

If you are concerned with these issues, or want to know more about how economic resilience can be built, come along to an information and discussion session on “Plugging the Leaks” at House Cafe, 52 St. Benedict’s Street on Thursday 7 July, 6pm.

Contact: Simeon Jackson (simeon [at] simeonjackson [dot] co [dot] uk).

Transition Circle West Update - Bike Maintenance - 18 July

Since the last update, members of Transition Circle West have been meeting twice a month with our usual bring and share vegetarian meal to do a variety of activities, including: textiles skills-sharing; discussing issues from ethical holidays to socio-cultural evolution; sharing herbal remedies; and going on a foraging trip! Most recently we met to discuss the changing role of shops and shopping in the future, and some of us also joined in at the open day for Norwich FarmShare at Postwick. We are currently in the process of creating a resource-sharing library for the group. Our next group meeting will be on Bike Maintenance. Do come and tune up!

Transition Circle West is open to anybody living in the west of Norwich who is interested in getting involved with Transition Norwich and learning about low carbon lifestyles. If you would like more information or to join get in touch with Helen on mshelenpallett@gmail.com

Photo from This Low Carbon Life on community transport

It's all about the veg - Low Carbon Cookbook - 19 July

Suddenly the salads got intense, as the rain finally fell and the conversations shifted from the hungry gap to what am I going to do with all these courgettes? At our monthly meeting we discussed the lowest carbon ways to store the upcoming harvests from runner beans to gooseberries. Top of the glut preservation methods was lacto-fermentation (see Olivia’s blog on this subject) as as we sat down to our customary feast of local, home-grown, organic, freegan, fair-trade food. Erik’s jar of fermented parsnips added a zip to the new season’s potatoes, broad beans, sugarsnap peas, radishes, sea beet, French beans, asparagus (last of), artichokes (first of), eggs and raspberries. Mark's 14-herb medicine jelly refreshed our palates (and our systems).

Our other hot topic was rocket stoves: I’d just returned from the Sunrise Festival (see next week's Gatherings on the blog) and worked at the (totally off-grid) Tin Village making pizza in a wood-fired earth-oven. All our food was cooked on these extraordinarily simple and effective low-fuel stoves. Christine also talked about her super-efficient wood oven in the cottage she shares in the Thetford Forest. Community and field kitchens are a key way to share resources, swap skills and focus on the earthy, essential nature of food and cooking in a way that is hard to access with the batterie of the modern consumer kitchen - all its decadent recipes, techno-gadgets and supermarket-wrapped produce.

For low-carbon cooks the downshift is not just in the what, it’s also in the how. Charlotte Du Cann

For more info about the Low Carbon Cookbook or to join the group email Charlotte on theseakaleproject@hotmail.co.uk.

Local fruit: dessert and Morello cherries from Paul Jackson's and Bungay Library Community Garden; home-grown gooseberries and blackcurrents; whitecurrants from neighbours; home-made jam from Norman;s's gooseberries and Malcolm's strawberries: small rocket stove by Wild Stoves at the Sunrise Festival, Bruton, Someset.

Permaculture Norfolk - June/July 2011

Welcoming those from 2010 and 2011 West Norfolk Permaculture Courses!
Brenna and Matt have connected up with the mailing lists of those who have recently completed their permaculture design certificates or attended intro courses with Hannah Thorogood of Designed Visions. Hooray for strengthening the Norfolk network! http://www.designedvisions.com/

Trip to Wakelyns Agroforestry
Thanks to Louisa who works at Wakelyns we have organised a tour and discussion with Martin Wolfe of the Organic Research Centre at his Suffolk Base. We very much look forward to meeting Martin and learning about the various research projects they are carrying out. http://www.wakelyns.co.uk

Workdays On the19th June Brenna, Callum and Brenna’s friend Luke assisted Erik to plant winter wheat as part of his ongoing cereals experimentation and winter vegetables. Next workday tbc. See googlegroup and TN calendar for details as they arise. New faces welcome! Tierney Woods tierneywoods@yahoo.co.uk)

Inter-cropping at Wakelyns Agroforestry. Top image, organic wheat understory. Pictures by Wakelyns.

RELATED EVENT: The Spuds Don't Work Rally - 23 July

Following the successful GM Gathering Momentum conference held in London earlier this year an anti-GM rally will be taking place in Norwich on Saturday 23 July...

Over the past ten years British trials of Genetically Modified blight resistant potatoes have been failing to deliver. However, a conventionally bred variety of blight resistant potatoes has now been on the market for seven years. On Saturday 23rd July a coalition of ngo's, farmers and activists will be delivering a trailer load of this conventional varietyto the doors of the Sainsbury laboratory outside Norwich. There'll be pedal powered tunes, fine organic chips and good cheer as we go and show them that we've found the potatoes they're looking for.

Emma Hockridge, the Soil Associations head of Policy, Pete Riley, chair of the GM Freeze campaign, Gerald Miles, potato farmer and others will beinviting the John Innes researchers to join them in debate. On Sunday 24th July a day long camp will plan the next stages of the campaign. Help build projects on everything from getting the GM oil out of takeaways to next years proposed GM wheat trials, raising awareness of the new studies on human health effects to European public decontamination solidarity work.

Meet at the Forum in Norwich City Centre at 12 noon for free chips and fun. We will set off from there to the John Innes Research Centre by bike, tractor and coach at 1pm. Bring waterproofs and umbrellas! Camping spaces are available from Friday pm onwards. For practical details seewww.stopgm.org.uk/gathering-momentum or ring 07595 506673

Transition Conference 2011 - 8-11 July

This year’s Transition Network conference will take place between July 8th and 11th at Hope University, Liverpool. Although, like last year, and like last November’s ‘Diverse Routes to Belonging’ conference, we will offer great virtual coverage for those around the world who can’t make it, still nothing beats being there in person.

Imagine immersing yourself for 3 days in the latest thinking on Transition, hearing from the most ground-breaking projects, going deeper into what it’s all about, putting faces to names you only know from reading them online, meeting hundreds of other Transitioners from all over, and going home revitalised, refocused and refreshed.

That’s what we’re talking about. There will be 3 sessions of workshops, 10 in each. Here is a taste of some of what is being planned:

How to work well together as groups; Kids in Transition The role of the Arts; Inner Transition; An update on Transition local currency projects; Community Supported bakeries, shops, farms, breweries…. Social reporting; Social Enterprise; Constellations; Action learning; Creating a new local food system: stories from various projects; Group dynamics; ‘Engaging words’: how your writing style can affect your effectiveness; Investing for Transition; Transition education Transition and health; Engaging and working with your Council and more!
There will also be tours of Liverpool and the opportunity to see some of the fantastic projects underway in the city. The workshops are also, of course, only a small part of the overall programme. There will also be many opportunities to meet other Transitioners and find out what they are up to, including the chance to meet in theme groups, so you can, for example, connect with all those who share your passion for local energy, food or education. There will be some large group activities, which were, for many, the highlight of last year’s conference.

Also, this year the team are trying a different approach, substituting Open Space, which has been a focal point for each of our previous conferences, with the Fishbowl technique, which will allow a much deeper exploration of some of the more charged and pertinent issues that you bring to the conference (a questionnaire will be sent round before the event to gather your thoughts on what those subjects should be). Our hope is that this will bring more focus and will be more insightful. Rob Hopkins

For further details contact Transition Network

RELATED EVENT: Green Community Challenge at UEA - 16 July

Can you help? The Green Community Challenge is at UEA on 16th July from 10 am to 1 pm. It is donating any profits to the Transition Network. In return, we hope to promote it, to have a stall there and to have Transitioners on hand to answer questions.

It looks like an interesting event, concentrating on reducing energy use, bringing together energy experts, community groups and relevant companies. The keynote speaker is Charles Clarke, the former Home Secretary. It is organised by students on the Strategic Carbon Management MBA.

I have agreed to be the contact person for Transition Network, but will be away on 16th July. If anyone is willing to attend or to organise a stall please contact me at garyalex@earthconnected.net. If you have any other mailing lists or places to promote this, please do that too. Gary Alexander

For more information http://www.greenchallenge2011.com