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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome to our February News!

Spring is stirring as everyone in the Norwich community growing projects has been breaking up the winter soil and planting trees in the city's gardens, allotments and our CSA at Postwick. Other stirring events have been happening inside the creative kitchen of the Low Carbon Cookbook and outside in the garden as the Permaculture group get chopping wood, fetching water and preparing the land for spring sowing.

Also getting ready for lift off is the Resilience Plan's Millennium Babies project, which has received funding for The Oil Game - about to be played by all cool Year 6 schoolchildren in Norwich. Pupils in the Hewett school are also about to be surprised by the transformation of an old playing field into a vibrant school market garden. If you're searching for inspiration for your own burgeoning project, book now for the "Dragon Dreaming” weekend. Still a few places left.

On the personal carbon reduction front (that's Transition 2.0) two new groups are starting up this month - a Transition Circle at UEA and a Carbon Conversations course at County Hall. The reunited Transition Circle West also have two meetings in Feb and Transition Hethersett is looking to buy a community woodland. And everyone is invited to our Big Spring Session to meet up and discuss how TN can flourish in this (our third) year.

On the blog, This Low Carbon Life we've been sending Transition Postcards from the edges of the world - from Arizona to the Scottish Isles. And we've also run our second Transition Themes week and in between been reporting on the fate of local libraries, shifting cultural values, living without a car, the government selling off our forests (shame!), vegetable brushes and the Return of the Housecoat. Don't miss our bloggers in the TN news today - John Heaser reviews It's All About the Bike and Helenofnorwich (and NR3) is giving back life to redundant umbrellas. And if you're in the neighbourhood, check out UEA's Cafe Conversations at Aladdin's Cafe where all the great planning happened for the Magdalen Street Celebration. Time to lighten up!

Text: Charlotte Du Cann Photo: Snowdrops by Mark Watson

RELATED EVENT: Pete the Temp verses Climate Change! - 28 February

Pete the Temp verses Climate Change! is an innovative spoken word stage-show. It aims to educate inspire and entertain on the theme of climate change.

Pete’s high octane stand-up poetry will be backed up by lighting, visual projections, props, music and all manner of creative energies. Those expecting a heavy show, packed with graphs and tips on insulating the home will be disappointed.

Pete the Temp verses Climate Change! employs comedy, satire, performance poetry and audience participation in an effort to capture hearts and minds on this most crucial of issues. It has already had a very successful scratch night at the Oxford Playhouse.

Peter the Temp at the Arts Centre, St Benedict's St on Monday, 28 February. You need to book online for Arts Centre tickets on line. This event is for over 14’s only. Standard Ticket £5.00

Transition Circle West - 23 February

The Transition Earlham circles are having a bit of a makeover for the New Year! We decided that we should recombine the Earlham North and South circles, not least because it is sad to divide a friendly community in two unnecessarily. To avoid the problems of too many people we are instead going to have two meetings a month and people will have to RSVP to meetings so that we know we can fit everyone in and hosts have a bit more forewarning of numbers! We have also set up a google group (noo not another one!) to make communication easier.

We have come up with an exciting list of possible meeting topics ranging from bike maintenance and foraging to household warmth and natural remedies. At our first meeting of the new year we shared a lovely meal and discussed setting up a resource-sharing library amongst the group members, including items from garden chairs, to travel cots, and even knitting lessons!

February's Circle meetings will be held on 8th and 23rd February. On the 8th February we are having a textiles skills-sharing session, where we will bring along our current knitting or sewing projects, share new skills, and give each other tips and a hand with difficult projects. The 23rd February will be an ethical and green holidays discussion, where we will discuss the ethics of different kinds of holidays and share tips about how to make our tourism more sustainable.

If you are interested in coming to either of these meetings then please let Helen know (mshelenpallett@gmail.com)

Photo: Beth Sissons

Hedge planting for the Norwich CSA

16 excited and determined tree-planters arrived at our field this morning, despite the ominous clouds. We all had wrapped up warmly, but quickly shed the extra layers as we got digging. Jason- our forester- gave us all a quick demonstration of the right way to plant a tiny two-year-old tree and we set to with a will. We had 200 trees to plant in our hedge, 4 to the metre in 2 staggered rows. Jeremy brought spades for us to use, kindly lent by the Grapes Hill Community Garden. Most people arrived with thermos flasks of tea, and Adele brought delicious flapjacks to share. It is easy to see how a community will grow up around this small patch of land and the produce we will enjoy from it. I came home covered in mud and sweat, but very happy to have contributed something to the land which will soon be feeding me. And for the first time in my life, I have contributed to something that could well outlive me. That feels very satisfying. (Elena Judd)

Photos by Jeremy Bartlett

Millennium Babies Project wins CUE East funding

The Millennium Babies Project team is delighted to report that we've won a funding award from CUE East to develop the Oil Game, in partnership between members of Transition Norwich, UEA and local schools. The inspiration for the Oil Game was the Transition Tales project on peak oil, Transition Norwich's Resilience Plan and creative workshops with Year 6 children. The original Oil Game was invented by Rob Hopkins and developed by Steph Bradley. Tom Harper and Charlotte Du Cann used this format as a base when they played the first TN Oil Game at Catton Grove school last year.

Tom, creative director of the project, says: "This is fantastic news for us. This prestigious award enables us to expand our innovative programme of work with children in Norwich schools. With our partners, we'll be exploring sustainability issues in a fun and creative way. The children will discover the extraordinary story of how dinosaur poo and ancient sunshine became the oil that we use today, and how, during their lifetimes, they will have to find creative new ways to live well without this ancient resource!".

For more information contact Tom Harper: tomharper@ekit.com

Pic: Tom and Year 6 children exploring peak oil at the Millennium Library, Norwich

New! Carbon Reduction at County Hall and UEA - 1 February

Carbon Conversations Tuesday February 1st marks the start of the next inspiring and practical course on carbon reduction - Carbon Conversations - due to take place at County Hall, Norwich. Eight green and keen County Council staff members have signed themselves up to the sessions which will be facilitated by Esme Holtom and Elena Judd who did the course themselves and were trained to facilitate by Cambridge Carbon Footprint.

Transition Circle UEA Having just completed our final session on Carbon Conversations at UEA we decided that we didn't want to go cold turkey. So we are starting a Transition Circle UEA with our first meeting next month looking at low carbon Transport and Travel.

Other people linked to UEA, who haven't done the Carbon Conversations course, but are still trying to reduce their personal carbon footprint are welcome to join us. Just let Kerry know (kezereky_the_first@hotmail.com)

If you would like to hold a Carbon Conversations course in your neighbourhood or workplace and can organise a group of 6-12 people, do get in touch with Christine at transition@phonecoop.coop and she will find facilitators for the six-week sessions.

Spring Session - organising meeting - 3 February

Join us - that's Kerry, Elena and Tom - on the afternoon of Sunday 20th March to decide where Transition Norwich goes next.

We have achieved a lot together in the last 2 years - now we need to work out what our next projects will be. Whether you have been involved with Transition Norwich in the past, are at the moment or want to be in the future come and help us set the direction of Transition Norwich.
If you would like to be involved in designing this event you are welcome to join us at The Workshop, Earlham Road at 8pm next Thursday 3rd Feb, or send Kerry an email (kezereky_the_first@hotmail.com).

Community Growing Projects - 10 and 13 February

Norwich CSA Elena writes: It's all go at the Norwich CSA. We've done shedloads of work. Surely the most exciting piece of work was done by Tully, Erik and William, who have successfully recruited us a farm manager. We are very happy that our preferred candidate, Laura, accepted the job and will be starting in post mid-February.

We've held a visioning session to get our values and dreams for our farms down on paper: you can see the results here. Some people's passions led them to very concrete outcomes: keeping bees or learning to coppice; while others considered the whole nature of our food system and the way we treat our land. It's very inspiring to look forward and envisage what we can grow on this site- it won't just be vegetables! Read the whole article here.

The School Market Garden Eileen reports: There was once a time when schools had gardens ('dig for victory'!), and there was a time (pre Jamie Olivier), when school meals were only something to laugh about. Between these two points lie opportunities for the School Project. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of the Governors, and the time and effort put in by Toni Hassett and Tully Wakeman, the NCA school site should begin surprising Hewett students by April.

The school garden will offer fresh produce to on-site caterers, provide curriculum linked opportunities to staff and students, and illustrate an alternative relationship with how food is grown, and the choices we make about that food. It is early days yet. Just as the earth is slowly showing signs of spring warming, and tender shoots begin to appear, these ideas begin to take shape. There is support and interest from local schools, and how this project evolves will in part be influenced by those who take part in it. A 'schools' group wing of NCA has been mooted and will meet after the 31st. Our ground is being tilled and is ready for planting, and growth!

Grapes Hill Community Garden: Jeremy reports: On Sunday 23rd January 2011 we planted fruit trees, soft fruit and grape vines in the garden. It was hard work (especially breaking up the subsoil) but very enjoyable and we managed to plant everything! Thanks to everyone who took part. A full list of the fruit trees and bushes planted is here. The trees and bushes came from Reads Nursery at Hales Hall, near Loddon.

Grapes Hill's next event is on Sunday 13 February - Garden Work Day. Meet at the garden, 11am. Some tools will be provided, but please bring a digging fork if you have one. NCA Growing and Environment Group meet on 10 February (see calendar for details)

Photo: CSA Hedge planting at Postwick; Grapes Hill Community Garden tree planting day, both by Jeremy Bartlett

This Low Carbon Life - Bloggers Meeting 8 February

It's been an energetic start to 2011 on This Low Carbon Life, despite the literal and metaphorical cold weather out there. Andrew Boswell began with a thorough analysis of the controversial Incinerator Plans for Kings Lynn, Elena Judd put on a Housecoat and looked into Ye Olde Past for sustainable ideas and Jon Curran warned against complacency in Big Society Anyone?, put out a call to arms to protect Our National Heritage and Turned the World Upside Down. John Heaser asked Why Are There No Vegetable Brushes?, and was pointed in several right directions for acquiring one (or a substitute).

In the second week, Charlotte Du Cann did not have such a Happy Monday, but cheered up when her attention turned to Strictly Roots, Elena got to grips with the struggles and successes of Norwich Community Supported Agriculture, Rachel 'Blue' got into the Urban Transition Lifestyle, and Kerry Lane got conversations going with Low Carbon Students and Shared a Bit More on different ways of bringing about Social Change.

Take look at Eco Treedweller's idea for Norwich Co-operative Communites, inspired by the ant world and Mark Watson on cultural values In Deep Shift. If the sheer diversity and quality of This Low Carbon Life becomes overwhelming at this point you may need to make yourself a Medicine Soup, before Reading Between The Lines about proposed cuts to public libraries.

In the last week of January, led by Jon, we wrote posts about places we had visited that had inspired us towards a simpler, more low-carbon way of living: Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Arizona, Italy (a skeletal outline!), the Scottish Islands, and Ecuador.

Meanwhile back home in East Anglia, Charlotte talks about her Inconvenient Life - Without a Car. (Mark Watson)

Bloggers' Meeting is upstairs at the Bicycle Cafe, St Benedict's Street. 7-9.30pm. (Blogging tips session from 7pm-7.30pm). For furthur details contact Charlotte Du Cann at theseakaleproject@hotmail.co.uk

Photo: Mark in Arizona, 2001 (from Transition Postcards week)

Low Carbon Cookbook - 16 February

January was all about Roots. Edible roots, radical roots. Mark and Bee had been struck down with flu, so we talked medicine soups and lemon and ginger tea, before doing our seasonal round-up of local veg and recipes. I had just visited the Grapes Hill Community Garden where Jeremy had told me about the hardy and delicious Andean winter roots, oca and mashui. I grow oca, said Erik and produced some equally South American yacon roots out of his knapsack, like a rabbit out of a hat. (You can read about our Strictly Roots exchange here. ) Afterwards we watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's C4 documentary about the crazy fishing quota system in the North Sea. It was the first time I had watched television in 16 years.

January was a fierce month for campaigns. There were campaigns for every kind of creature under duress from the industrial food system: bees, fish, cows (Nocton superdairy), pigs (vast American-style factory farm). Even though the perils of growing and eating food under these conditions are well-documented, the system keeps pushing against nature for greater and greater profit and control.

But some of us are starting to push back and gain momentum. What we do in the Cookbook sessions is to pay attention to these big issues and align them with our own small-scale carbon-reduction eating habits. No point, as Kerry pointed out, in knowing this stuff if you're not acting on it. Who would listen to us?

This month we're meeting at Bee's to discuss the writing part of the project (and not get too distracted by campaigns and cooking). If you would like to join us contact Charlotte Du Cann at rootsshootsandseeds@hotmail.co.uk

Photo: supper with sweet potato, Arizona 2001; Greenpeace poster.

Dragon Dreaming workshop - 18-20 February

A living systems approach to building projects and organisations for the Great Turning

We've got a lovely group together for this weekend workshop, and it promises to be a very enriching and sustaining time. There are still places left if you would like to join us at this late stage. If you're coming from out of town, we may be able to help with arranging accommodation.

John Croft, the facilitator for the weekend, describes Dragon Dreaming as "a way of making our dreams come true by running outrageously successful and transformative projects". The underlying purpose of this approach is about helping us maximise our creative potential on a scale never attempted before so that we can fully play our part in "the Great Turning".

The workshop will use movement, dance, painting, singing, experiential exercises and meditation practice. We will explore how to release the power of our ecological self and listen to the Dream of the Earth calling us forth to understand who we really are in the web of life.

John has trained with Joanna Macy and draws upon the experience of the Australian Gaia Foundation, indigenous Australian Aboriginal wisdom and twenty years experience of community building and teaching within the deep ecology paradigm.

Cost & booking
Cost: sliding scale between £95 and £190 (not including lunch) - please pay what you can.
Booking: Please email Tully below and send cheque payable to Transition Norwich with contact details to: Dragon Dreaming, c/o Contemplative Forum, United Reformed Church, Princes Street Norwich NR3 1AZ

7.30-9.30pm Fri 18th, 9 to 5 Sat 19th and 9 to 4pm Sun 20th February 2011

Further information

Norwich Permaculture Workday and Excursion - 5 March

Not one but TWO permaculture group workdays took place in January....oooh we’re keen!

On a sun sun sunny day in Hethersett we had an afternoon in Erik’s garden. A good old wood-chopping, bed-mulching, perpetual-onion- transplanting, vegetable-lactofermenting (a way of preserving for those that weren't there!) session.

Ruth (like a lightning bolt) then organised a second workday at her house to maintain her shed sauna. A superinsulated double roof layer stuffed with straw was crafted then re-felted decreasing the amount of wood needing to be chopped to keep it toasty (and dry!). Activity rolled into the evening with various food experiments to create a meal with the ingredients contributed.

Thanks and welcome to new faces Lesley, Louisa, Matt, Luci, Ruth and Clare for their time and energy.

Sat 5March. Workday at Brenna’s, Kirkstead .Activities could include: preparing a no-dig veg area (which does initially involve some digging!),coppicing willows building a haybox cooker (and possibly modifications on our outside fridge) planting comfrey, planting out seedlings..lots of general garden stuff! Contact Brenna for more info/directions. brennasbox@yahoo.com

Sat 19th March 2011 Our first excursion! To two sites registered with the Permaculture Association as good demonstration sites of permaculture design in action. We will be visiting: The Apricot Centre, Manningtree and The Peoples Community Garden in Ipswich. Having tours and doing a little work as a thank you for hosting us. We will leave Norwich at 09.00 and return at 18.50. Contact Tierney if you are interested in coming along (Tierneywoods@yahoo.co.uk).

Bed mulching/perpetual onion transplanting, Erik’s wood pile (no we didn’t chop all that wood that day!),shed sauna pre-renovations

Transition Norwich Community Woodland

Following a blog entry about the government selling off our national forests, we came up with the idea of buying a woodland together. Subscription is now open for shares in a community woodland. We'd like to buy a woodland within 6 miles of the city limits of Norwich. When one comes up for sale, we'd need to have potential shareholders in place, therefore you need to subscribe now. Subscription does not commit you to buying shares. A typical small woodland costs £5,000 - 50,000 (see e.g. http://www.woodlands.co.uk/). Indicate your interest here.

Andy Wightman: Put forests in the hands of the people.

BOOK REVIEW - It's all about the bike

Back in August on the TN blog, I said that I would like this book for my birthday in November and sure enough it appeared - though as a Christmas present! Still, better late than never.

I've just finished reading the book and enjoyed it a lot. The book is structured around the story of how a life long cyclist decided to assemble the best components from around the world to build a dream bike that would last him the rest of his life. Rob Penn visits people who are the best at their craft - one company has been making leather saddles in the same way for 100 years - another builds frames by hand to fit the rider exactly. On the way, he covers the invention of the bicycle and its evolution from wooden boneshaker to the first form of transport that was available to the common man and enabled people to travel further to work and for leisure - which in turn shaped housing and road development in the UK. There is plenty of humour and I was pleased to learn the origin of the Jock Strap and how it got its name.

I'm not sure that travelling to the USA to get some hand made wheels is justified but that aside, I'm confident that anyone with an interest in bicycles will enjoy a book that is as unique as the finished Dream Bike that adorns its cover. (I will however not be emulating RP and spending £3000 on a bike, I will be sticking with my trusty 20 year old cross bike) (John Heaser/Transition Circle Hethersett)

NR3 - new home for broken umbrellas

Have you ever looked down on a broken umbrella and wished there was something that could be done? Well your wish has been granted.

The artist Helenofnorwich, member of NR3 Transition Norwich group wants your broken umbrellas (only the fabric not the structure) for an art project during Norwich pride. Groups of volunteers will work with the fabric to produce a piece of work for the parade, the fabric will then be recyled again after the event.

If you have an broken umbrella material please send it to 80 St Stephens Road, Norwich, NR1 3RE.