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

Monday, June 6, 2011

RELATED EVENT: Material Inequality in Britain - 24 June

When The Spirit Level was published in 2009 it caused quite a stir. Taking the results of hundreds of studies it showed that, contrary to the general assumption, health and social problems such as violence, mental illhealth, addiction, teenage births and educational failure do not have a simple relationship with poverty. Instead, the authors show that problems which are most common at the bottom of the social ladder are actually more common in societies where the difference in income between the richest and the poorest is the greatest. The UK has the fourth highest inequality of income distribution of developed countries. The authors conclude that, “The evidence shows that reducing inequality is the best way of improving the quality of the social environment ....... for all of us”.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, the authors, are in great demand as speakers and, to share the load, Martin Wilkinson, Richard’s brother will be coming to Norwich to give a presentation on the book and to lead a discussion on equality, both in terms of the Quaker Testimony to Equality and more generally on how we in Britain should respond to the message of the book . Rupert Read will then offer a short philosophical and political response to “The Spirit Level”.

Material Inequality in Britain (Based on The Spirit Level: why more equal societies almost always do better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Saturday 25th June, 2-5pm at Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, NORWICH, NR2 1EW. All welcome – entry free

For further details contact Teresa Belton 01603 465851, teresa.belton@ntlworld.com

Photo from BBC documentary, "Poor Kids

Transition East Summer Gathering - 25/6 June

Last year Glenn and Jeannie hosted the first gathering of Transitioners from Suffolk, South Norfolk and North Essex at their farm in Framsden. This year they’re making their farm available for a two day gathering from 10.00 on 25th June, so come along to meet other Transitioners, share experiences, swap ideas, enjoy each other’s company and celebrate.

There’s even a village Barn Dance in a C15th barn – that’s something you definitely can’t get at Glastonbury!

In true Transition fashion, this will be a self organising weekend, with agenda and workshops arranged using Open Space. Workshops are expected to start around 13.30 on Saturday and to continue on Sunday.

Camping is free and self catering, on grass or in a barn. A loo and shower are available.

The (optional) barn dance starts at 7pm on Sat 25th and costs £5 (children £2).

Transition East summer gathering 25th/26th June - Hill Farm, Framsden, Suffolk IP14 6HAContact Glenn & Jeannie for more info and if you want tickets for the dance please let them know asap: hillfarm@helmingham.com or jeannie@hillfarm.eclipse.co.uk or 01473 890737.

Pic: recent meeting of Transition East food projects at Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm, Ipswich

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Welcome to our June 2011 News!

Read all about it in the updates and reports below from our Transition Norwich news crew: the revival of our Economics and Livelihoods group, the new Norwich Community Bees project, Norwich FarmShare open day, Magdalen Street Celebration, Low Carbon larder, key meetings, the latest on the blog and more . . . .

The Greenest Government Ever?- Public Meeting - 2 June

Norwich & Norfolk Friends of the Earth and the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition present a PUBLIC MEETING on Thursday 2 June, 7:30pm at St Gregory's Centre for the Arts, St Gregory's Church, St Gregory's Alley, Norwich, NR2 1ER( Free entry). Speakers will include: Simon Wright MP Norwich South and Liz Hutchins, Parliamentary Campaigner, Friends of the Earth.

The Coalition said it wants to be the greenest Government ever. The UK urgently needs to cut its climate-changing emissions and this means shifting from dependence on finite fossil fuels to cleaner and greener ways of living. The Government’s Energy Bill is a massive opportunity to kick-start this green overhaul. A truly green Energy Bill would have enormous benefits for everyone, from warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills to tens of thousands of new jobs. This meeting is an opportunity to tell Simon Wright MP, who is on the committee that will debate the bill, that we need a stronger Energy Bill. And it’s a chance to have your say about the green measures needed – globally and in our own communities – for a sustainable green future.

Simon Wright MP (Norwich South) has very recently been appointed to the Public Bill Committee which will be scrutinising the Energy Bill. At short notice, Mr. Wright has agreed to attend a public meeting to be held in Norwich on Thursday 2nd June. Similar meetings have been taking place around the country involving MPs and as of last week 40 plus council leaders have signed up for a stronger Energy Bill, i.e. local low carbon budgets.

If you are unable to attend the public meeting, the deadline for the submission of written evidence to the committee is Tuesday the 21st of June. The committee will sit for the first time on Tuesday 7th June and the Bill is expected to be voted in Parliament before the end of the month. Mr. Wright can be contacted about the Energy Bill by email: office@simonwright.org.uk or write to his office at 2, Douro Place, Norwich, NR2 4BG. Tel: 01603 627660.

For more information, please contact: Jennifer Parkhouse, Norwich Friends of the Earth email: foenorwich@hotmail.com Tel: 01603 427767

The Big Lunch - 5 June

Polite conversation with residents and patients has recently involved the royal wedding more than I would like, so I have looked for positive and truthful things to say:
  • it's great to have an event that brings people together,

  • sometimes people need a pretext to meet their neighbours,

  • there's nothing like sharing food to build community
These sorts of conversations might lead on to why community matters, how communities can develop resilience to economic and other shocks....

The Big Lunch initiative allows us to enjoy the benefits of street parties with a rather more interesting theme, or no theme at all except sharing a day with your neighbours.

The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project: "The aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. This year it’s happening on Sunday 5th June and a record number of people are expected to take part - why not be one of them?

A Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.

Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all kinds of communities across the UK and the best part of a million people get involved each year." Lesley Grahame

NB: Please click on the poster image for participating streets and contact details

Magdalen Street Celebration - 7 June

The 2011 Magdalen St. celebration is all set for October 1st, and the planning group are giving the day a long run-in, after the astounding success of last year's event. Getting rave reviews in the local press last year was no mean feat, given that the whole event was planned and delivered through the amazing good will of volunteers, local people, and performers.

We are planning an even bigger event this year, and are bringing together more of the street's growing band of fans, and neighbouring resident's groups.

Who knows, by the end of this year we may have persuaded those in authority that the space under the flyover really is a space worth developing for regular community use! Chris Hull

For the story behind the scenes by helenofnorwich click here

Magdalen Street Celebration planning group are meeting at Aladdin's, Magdalen Street on 3 May at 7pm. For further information contact Karen artoftheordinary@googlemail.com or Stefi Barna on 07964 494836

Grapes Hill Community Garden - We've Finished Planting - 23 June

We've now (more or less) finished planting up the Grapes Hill Community Garden.

Highlight of the garden at the moment is Salvia superba 'Mainacht', whose spikes of violet-purple flowers are proving a big hit with bumblebees. We've had three species so far, including Bombus hypnorum, which only started to colonise the UK in 2001, and is steadily moving north.

We've spread mulch in the garden. This is well-rotted compost from Shrubbs Farm at Edgefield and it is a lovely dark backdrop for the plants. It will help to suppress weeds and conserve moisture. We have a watering rota to keep the garden alive in the current drought.

Our gardening tasks are now every fortnight on Thursday evenings (6 - 8pm) as we prepare to open the garden to the public from Saturday 2nd July. And we're preparing for an evening of music and food on Sunday 10th July (after St. Benedict's Street Fair, 6 - 9pm) and our Grand Opening Day on Sunday 7th August (11am - 3pm).Jeremy Bartlett.

Above: Bombus hypnorum on Salvia 'Mainacht', photo copyright Jeremy Bartlett.

Norwich FarmShare - Open Day - 11 June

It's Open Day down on the farm at Postwick on Saturday 11 June! Join us on the farm for a family day out. Bring a picnic to share!

We’ll be offering tours of the farm, introducing you to all the crops we’re growing and showing you the wildlife that shares our site. We’llh ave an opportunity for anyone who wishes to join in with the work onthe farm for an hour or so, and lots of fun activities for children. We’re also looking forward to a chance to share with you all the plans we have for the future. Absolutely everyone is welcome on the day: we hope to make it a real celebration of everything we’ve achieved so far. Please bring your friends and families along, the more the merrier. There will be lots of FarmShare members on hand to answer any questions you have and a chance to sign up if you haven’t yet.

Additionally, existing members are invited to join us a little earlier on the day at 12.00 for our Quarterly General Meeting. This will take only half an hour and is a great chance to catch up with what’shappening and take part in the decisions we make about the farms. As always, please contact us if you have any questions. Laura Creen

For latest Norwich FarmShare update click here.

Photo: Field of Dreams by Elena Judd

Low Carbon Cookbook (the book part) - 15 June

May's Low Carbon Cookbook meeting took place at the Bicycle Shop cafe, where we also welcomed Olivia for the first time.

Although this meant we had to forgo our normal practice of bringing ingredients and dishes to eat, share and discuss, we took the opportunity to look at the material we've gathered so far, which we then mapped out on a large piece of pink paper in notes and sketches.

The structure of a book began to take form as we went round the table taking turns to describe some of our favourite low carbon recipes. We talked seasons, seeds, lactofermentation, herbs, flowers and fruits as well as how to live without a fridge and what exactly organic means.

We all got very hungry! I’d already eaten, but normally we would have been enjoying Bee's winter slaw and omelettes, Charlotte's oriental slaw, Erik's pumpkin soup and pickles, my freegan pizza and medicine jelly, and Olivia's Norfolk Black Turkey Egg n’ Nettle Quiche with Spelt Pastry, and all the compotes, breads, freegan gleanings and homegrown and foraged leaves, roots and sprouts that we were talking about.

It was exciting though, to get the actual book underway. Who knows? In a year's time you may be reading The Low Carbon Cookbook, paper version (recycled, of course). Mark Watson

REPORT: Economy & Livelihoods Revival Meeting

On Tuesday, a number of us gathered at the Bicycle Shop to discuss the future of the Economy and Livelihoods theme group.

The main conclusion drawn was that education is the cornerstone to progress in this area, and that if more people know about all of the issues affecting them and how our economic system really works, then action will inevitably follow.

Suggestions on how this should be done were varied. Lectures, although effective, can be costly, and take a lot of organisation, whereas film showings could be done relatively cheaply, and without the tiresome heavy promotion of lectures, where a large audience is required to justify the cost. Other methods were to produce leaflets and to attend events of groups with a relevant interest, and to draw their attention to these issues, perhaps by manning a stall. Social media was also suggested as a great way of spreading news and sharing ideas.

On the subject of local currency, few of the attendees know enough about local currencies to be able to propose further action on this front. We are aware of NorLETS, but do not know how active it is. We also know that a bid by The Greenhouse to Esme Fairbairn for funding to run a local currency scheme was rejected. However, the group is still interested in the potential of complementary currencies and therefore those interested are invited to join the Economy and Livelihoods google group so that we can organise a meeting on this subject.

Some of the attendees volunteered to organise film-screening events, but to make an impact, the body of people getting involved needs to be higher, so if you can spare time to help organise or promote events, or simply share videos via social media, this will help to progress the transition to a more resilient economy. If you're looking for material to share, perhaps start with these:

- The Crash Course, a film about the economic crash(es), suggested by Bill Hill (see above)
- A talk/animation on the Failures of Capitalism, which has funny moments, as well as informative.
- Tim Jackson talks on the subject of prosperity in our economic climate.
-A talk on Timebanking, "Never do stuff for people which they can do for themselves", it says, and may persuade you to join NorLETS. Simeon Jackson

Creating a buzz - Norwich Community Bees - 18 June

A group of excited bee enthusiasts got together last Thursday for the first meeting of the Norwich Community Bees initiative.

At the Spring Scheming in March this year, one of the ideas that came out was the idea of a community-led beekeeping initiative. I'd been very impressed by the Bungay Community Bees scheme and thought it would be fantastic if we could do something similar in Norwich. The well-publicised decline in bee populations in the UK has concerned a lot of people and there was a lot of enthusiasm in the room to take this idea further. I offered to start the ball rolling and began to contact people in Transition Norwich and beyond.

The people at Norwich Farmshare were keen to support us, and offered a space on the Postwick site to get us started, as well as putting us in touch with a local experienced beekeeper. The group has now started pulling together the plans to make it all happen. We now have 18 members, including a number of qualified and part-qualified beekeepers. It's been fantastic to see how much energy and enthusiasm there's been so far, and I'm really excited about the future of the scheme.

Latest news! this Saturday (18 June) we'll be setting up our donated hive on the Norwich FarmShare site and generally getting things ready for the bees to move in at a date tbc! From 2pm onwards.

If you'd like to be a part of Norwich Community Bees, or would like to know more, contact Jon at jaysaulcurran@hotmail.com.