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, November 4, 2011

Climate Change Actions and Events in Norwich

The Stop Climate Change Coalition (SCCC), the combined climate change voice of over 100 campaigning, community and faith organisations, supported by over 11 million people, are basing their East of England operations in Norfolk. The Greenhouse, Norwich's Environment Centre will be the host office from which the Eastern Regional Mobiliser will manage campaigns and mobilisation in East Anglia, including a Climate Change Exhibition which will be opened on 26 November by Simon Wright MP. This will be followed by a full on African drumming set outside the Forum at 12noon.

The SCCC Eastern Regional Mobiliser, Michael Uwins, said "Norfolk is the obvious place to be. There is a great deal of awareness in the area of the threat of climate change. Numerous SCCC member organisations including RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, UNICEF, Women's Institute and Christian Aid, work and campaign here. Each has their own agenda but all are united in demanding urgent and stronger action from Government to tackle runaway climate change. Our aim is to build bridges with politicians and we'll be working alongside local campaigning and community groups, unions and schools to make things happen."

On November 28th, the next round of the United Nations climate talks (COP 17) will open in Durban, South Africa. After nearly two decades of negotiations, including the disappointing Copenhagen conference (COP 15), international deadlock has resulted in a failure to establish a binding agreement to curb the release of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Former Norwich MP Dr. Ian Gibson, President of the Norwich and District United Nations Association, also a SCCC member organisation, said: "There was no significant mention of climate change issues at conferences held by the major political parties. The deniers of man made climate change are winning. A fresh political campaign needs to be resurrected to put the issue to the top of the agenda. The scientists have retreated back to their models and laboratories. A summit of concerned individuals needs to be set up. No more Copenhagens please".

To mark the Durban conference, SCCC will be staging a number of African themed events around the country, including many in the Eastern region. Grassroots groups will connect with each other to show local MPs and Government the strength of public concern on climate change.

For more information, please contact: Michael Uwins, Regional Mobiliser (Eastern) SCCC. email: east@stopclimatechaos.org tel: 07530 533747 or 01953 601624 www.stopclimatechaos.org

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

REPORT: St Augustines Visioning - Economics and Livelihoods

The visioning session for St Augustine's Street that took place on 26th October was attended by at least 20 people (exact numbers not known!), including two Police Officers - nice of them to come - not bad for a cold, damp evening. There was a mix of residents, traders and some representatives from outside of the area.

The idea of the session was to start thinking about the potential that St Augustines Street has for economic regeneration, and meeting others who might be able to do their bit in bringing that about. Views were expressed on the possibility of a traders' association, the current status of properties, properties that have been vacant for long periods and may need encouragement to start letting again, and issues relating to parking and access.

But the process is still ongoing!

If you have an interest in the area, as a resident, a trader or someone who goes through the area on a regular basis, we'd love to hear your responses to the following questions:

a) What shops/services/facilities would you like to use/see locally?
b) What personality would you like the area to have?
c) What particular changes would have a positive effect on your life/business?
d) What would save you money, resources or wasted time?
e) What do you or your business have to offer to the development of the local economy in terms of premises, time and/or expertise?

The area we are looking at is St Augustines Street itself, the area within the Gyratory and the few shops beyond. Anglia Square and Edwards Street are not included.

You can email your answers to Simeon Jackson at simeon@simeonjackson.co.uk, who can also be contacted for any other queries.

St. Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association are also conducting an audit of businesses and empty properties on the street. Any knowledge of the current owners of vacant properties would be appreciated.

Photos of Magdalen Street Celebration by Mark Watson

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Welcome to our November News 2011!

Read all about what's happening in the city this autumn from our Transition Norwich news crew: TN's third birthday celebrations with Rob Hopkins, Transition East's third regional gathering, Norwich FarmShare's potato day, the Low Carbon Cookbook's A-Z, reports from St Augustine's Visioning Day and Urbal Fix, plus Transition Circles, climate connections, community gardens and more . . . .

Photos: Storing apples (Bee Springwood); Mike Grenville, organiser of the Transition Camp (Charlotte Du Cann); poster for Occupy Norwich; Rob Hopkins and the Ingredient and Tool cards (Transition Network)

Transition Circle Norwich West is back! 1 November

After a small break over the summer, the Norwich West Transition Circle reconvened with fresh energy and enthusiasm at Helen's house last Wednesday to discuss our plans and objectives for the coming months. We discussed possible ideas for future meetings, including: a discussion about behaviour change; guerilla or indoor gardening; a discussion or activity around sustainable food; working together to think about answers to common questions about climate change; and many more! We also considered holding more regular general meetings where we might share a meal together or go to the pub to discuss Transition and other issues of interest, helping to create more connections within the group.

The next circle meeting will be held on November 1st. For more information about future meetings and the circle, please contact Helen on mshelenpallett@gmail.com

Erik from TC West outside The Nectar, NR2 (photo: Mark Watson)

Transition Circle Hethersett and the Green Space Group - 3 November

Hethersett Transition met in Steve's garden to discuss various ways to start growing this afternoon. John Heaser, Erik Buitenhuis, and myself walked around the south facing plot with some enthusiasm, and came up with a variety of approaches to cultivating the turf. It was good to meet up and briefly highlight local issues, including landlords and cess pits!! There's a seasonal hush over the garden that a nice bit of mulching will further, putting the garden to bed for winter. It's still unusually mild with time for planting rooted perennials. bulbs, shrubs.

The Green Spaces Group have organised a meeting to discuss the future of green space in our village-and the possibility of adding to its 'green lungs'. The meeting will be a platform to hear and discuss what green space means for people, and how they hope to protect and use it. Eileen Mulvaney

PUBLIC MEETING is at Woodside First School, 7.30 to 9.30 pm on Thursday 3rd November to discuss a village approach to our green spaces and to look more specifically at our first space The Memorial Playing Field. All your views and ideas are welcome. This event is free and open to all. Refreshments will be available. for more information contact hethersettpc@tiscali.co.uk or phone 01603 814171

Photo: John Heaser's vegetable garden from Winter Stores

Rob Hopkins Visits Norwich - 15 November

Positive approaches in difficult times
On Tuesday 15 November, Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network and Transiton Town Totnes will be visiting Norwich to talk about the Transition movement, and to help us celebrate 3 years of Transition Norwich. A lot of excitement is being generated around this visit, and it will be a perfect opportunity to find out more about Transition.

The evening will also feature a short in-house film telling something of the story of Transition Norwich so far, and sharing some of the amazing things that have been achieved. After the talk, there will be a chance to meet and discuss over tea, coffee and cake with other people who are interested in positive community responses.

Rob will also talk about his new book The Transition Companion which will be available at the event for £14. To order your copy Email: info@sustainablebungay.com

Looking forward to see you on the 15th.... Christine Way

Celebrate 3 Years of Transition Norwich with Rob Hopkins: founder of the Transition Town Movement Tuesday 15th November at 7.30pm United Reform Church, Princes Street, Norwich NR3 1LE . All Welcome Free Entry (suggested donation £5) and if poss do bring a cake

For further info email: transiton@phonecoop.coop

Seed Swap Saturday - 19 November

On Saturday 19 November, the third annual organic seed swap will be held at 2 pm in the Grow Our Own allotment hut. Entrance is free.

Grow Our Own is situated on the Bluebell South allotments. The entrance is where 82 The Avenues would be, down a narrow lane immediately after George Borrow Road on the way out of the city. Erik Buitenhuis

For more information on the venue see http://grow-our-own.co.uk/
For more information, contact Erik.

A is for Apples, Abundance, Allotments - Low Carbon Cookbook - 23 November

We're on the home stretch with our cookbook sessions. In October we rounded up the growing year and looked at everything we had discussed - tools, ingredients, ethics, seasons -over our autumnal harvest feast of pumpkins and apples. Now we have a full store cupboard and soon we'll put our full attention on compiling an alphabet of downshift cuisine.

So to whet your appetite and intellect here is a quick ABC taster of the kinds of practical and philosophical subjects you will find within its covers:
Allotments, Beehives, CSAs, Dairy, Eggs, Foraging, Germination, Hungry gap, Industrial food systems, Jam, Kitchen Conversations, Land Grabs, Milling, Nourishment, Organic, Palm oil, Quinces, Rocket stoves, Storage, Tortilla, Umi plums, Veg boxes, Water, Xylitol, Yellow peas, Zero Waste.
I've written about the Low Carbon Cookbook on the Social Reporters blog during our Food and Health week. Do check it out! Charlotte Du Cann

Before our next meeting some of us will be leading a discussion on Relocalising our Food System at OccupyNorwich, Hay Hill, at 5.30pm. All welcome!

Photos: Thom and pumpkin at the Transition Camp 2011 by Tamzin Pinkerton, co-author of Local Food (Social Reporting project); apples stored in a drawer by Bee Springwood from Apple Time (This Low Carbon Life)

This Low Carbon Life - 26 November

Our third year began in October with a Retroblog. Each of us chose three posts (from about 300) that had made an impact on us in some way. We looked at the Transition Themes Weeks and our Topic Weeks said why we kept writing in spite of everything that conspired to make us not.
"What I love is that you don't have to market Transition or spin yourself or your life. You can say how it is in ways that you can't elsewhere, at home or work or amongst your friends who are all hoping things will turn out otherwise. You can write stuff you don't find in the mainstream media or written in books, because none of us who blog are hip or connected enough to register on that business-as-usual radar, we don't fit the box or the mindset, we live in the wrong city, we're from the wrong class, we're unfashionably in Transition, too old, too poor, too green, too radical, not radical enough . . . whatever. You can wake up with something to say and today you're going to say it anyway, straight from the heart. Even though you are under the kind of pressure that Jon captured so clearly and honestly in his A Shocking State of Affairs. It's a different narrative. Written by the people who are experiencing it first hand. On a deadline." A Year of Living Differently
It was another rich month for the alternative media everywhere as the Occupy movement began to work its way into every thinking person's blog. Here on This Low Carbon Life we've been reporting on Occcupy Norwich, as well as Sustainable Livelihoods and Autumn Storecupboards and featuring guest blogs from Joe Rake of Transition Heathrow (on Facing Eviction), and Adrienne Campbell from Transition Lewes (on Life Preserving), amongst our regular posts. This week we're surveying and recommending the best Transition blogs on the web. Check us out!

(Charlotte Du Cann/Mark Watson)

TN bloggers are meeting on 26 November at the Greenhouse at 11.15am. All present and future contributors welcome! For more info email theseakaleproject@hotmail.co.uk

Third Transition East Gathering - 26 November

Many of you will remember the first two gatherings of Transitioners from all around East Anglia, at Downham Market and at Diss. I found them really excellent events, and heard the same from many others who were there. They gave me a strong sense that there were many others like me, with similar projects and similar difficulties. Sharing those gave me a renewed sense of purpose, lots of good ideas, and, especially, new friends. They were well worth the travel effort.

The third gathering will be on 26th November, hosted by Transition Stour Valley and held at Old Hall Community, East Bergholt from 9 am (for a 10 am start) - 5 pm with optional food and evening entertainment for those wishing to stay on. The venue itself is an inspiring place, a large community that has been running for about 40 years on very environmentally sound and democratic lines. A tour of Old Hall is an option as part of the programme.

The programme is designed to help you to meet those Transitioners from around the region who are most likely to be of interest to you, with mapping exercises, discussions, and 'organised but informal networking'. There will also be fun creative activities for children and a children’s Book and Toy swap, so bring along any you would like to swap.

Please bring some lunch to share, and information about your group and what it has been doing, perhaps as a poster or leaflets. (If you can't come, please send information anyway). Come by public transport or in shared cars if possible. Gary Alexander

Getting there: Old Hall Community, East Bergholt, CO7 6TG. Buses run from Manningtree station (end of Station Approach) and will stop outside Old Hall if you ask the driver nicely, at 09.40 (96), 11.40 (96) and 13.40 (96). It's also a beautiful 3 mile walk on footpaths. Evening lifts can be arranged back to the station. There are also buses from Ipswich and Colchester to East Bergholt. Contacts: Miriam 07904198649 or Dave 07799338733 and further info and full programme at http://oldhall.org.uk/events/.

We Are the 99% #occupynorwich

On Saturday October 15, inspired by the social uprisings that began in Tahrir Square in the Arab Spring and later in the indignado movements in Greece and Spain and the #occupywallstreet campaign people in 961 cities throughout the world spoke out in their squares and meeting places.

In the Haymarket over a hundred of us gathered
to discuss the financial system that is squeezing the majority (99%) in favour of the ruling elite (1%). It's a global protest against the existing order, but it's also about taking part in a creative process in which the voices of ordinary citizens converge in order to manifest social change. Real democracy on a planet in a state of crisis.

Our prevailing "official" culture is rooted in the Western “business-as-usual” control of resources that denies rather than reflects systemic collapse. However the myths on which it is based - endless economic growth, the supremacy of the rich and famous - are being eroded as people everywhere are waking up to the reality that we need to create a new story that includes us all. On Saturday several of us from Transition Norwich were there (and one or two still are) as one of the key strands within this new cultural narrative.

Two weeks later the camp, like hundreds across the globe, is still active and holding assemblies, workshops and events like this weekend's The Undead Rise Up to join the 99%', with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (politicians, bankers, media, capitalism/greed), Vampires (politicians/bankers) and Zombies (the 99%)!

Occupy Norwich has also set up an information hub for anyone wanting to find out what this global movement is all about and what can be done locally. Do go along to their camp at the Haymarket or get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or their website.

Charlotte Du Cann

(See also Open Letter of Support to Occupy London by Jay of Transition Wivenhoe)

Photo: poster for #occupynorwich; consensus decision making on Day 2 by Ruski Fari

Norwich FarmShare Potato Day

Last Saturday marked the first ever Norwich FarmShare Potato day. As we've not (yet) got any storage on site, we can't keep our potatoes in good condition over the winter. Potatoes don't like to get the frost on them at all, so we needed to work fast and get the potatoes up and out of the ground, bagged up and given to our members to store at home.

We had a fantastic turn out with more than 30 people pitching in to get the potatoes bagged up- and we had it nice and easy as the tractor pulled a potato harvester along the rows, doing all the hard work for us. All we had to do was pluck the potatoes up from the surface and pop them in our bags. Alas, disaster was not far behind as the tractor gave up the ghost half way down the second row.

Thankfully, our members and their friends and families got stuck in with forks and strong backs and dug the rest by hand: according to my calculations we lifted more than 2 tonnes of potatoes between us- not bad at all.

As ever with farm workdays, blisters and creaky joints were more than matched by smiles and banter- and a lunch break spent stretched out in the warm autumn sun soothed our tired muscles. If you're tempted to join us on the farm, as we go into the quieter winter season the best day is a Thursday- to help us with the harvest. Drop us an email so we know to expect you!

See our website for more info and some delicious kale recipes. Elena Judd

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Deep Beds To Rent

A year ago the Grapes Hill Community Garden was a building site and the block paving was being laid and our nine deep beds were being constructed.

During the first year members of the Grapes Hill Community Garden Group looked after the deep beds and we shared out the produce amongst volunteers on garden work days, from courgettes, runner beans, French beans and beetroot to more unusual crops such as tree spinach and achocha.

From 2012 onwards we will be renting out deep beds, giving preference to people in the surrounding area who don't have their own growing space. If you're interested, fill in an application form by 1st December 2011 and send it to us. You'll also need to join the Gardening Group. Group members will receive a regular newsletter and invites to members only events in the garden, such as barbecues. For more details, including forms and where to send them, see the Get Involved page on our website.

The garden is now slowing down as winter approaches but there is still plenty to see and we've been preparing for spring by planting Anemone, squill and daffodil bulbs.

For more information on the garden see our website and Facebook page. Jeremy Bartlett.

Photograph by Jeremy Bartlett

REPORT: The Urbal Fix - Next Steps

On Saturday 29th October nearly 40 of us from across Norwich gathered together at St. Thomas’ Church Hall for a screening of The Urbal Fix, a film which explores ways to respond to climate change and peak oil and transform our cities into greener, pleasanter places to live.

Although the film uses Leeds as its example, the problems and solutions described were easy to relate to Norwich and were clearly presented by Tom Bliss, who wrote and produced the film.

Suggested solutions included the creation of community gardens and other public green spaces, green corridors to link these together, the use of buildings to generate renewable energy, local food production and distribution and smarter town planning and building.

Most, if not all, of this will be familiar to supporters of Transition Norwich, but the film brings together ideas in a very inspiring and easy to understand way and by the end we were feeling energised and keen to do more.

Many different initiatives are taking place in Norwich, both inside and outside the Transition Norwich umbrella, and one positive outcome of our meeting would be to find ways to link together these initiatives and make it easier for individuals and groups to share ideas, learn from each others’ experiences and find the best ways to make changes happen.

The evening was hosted by Rev. Philip Young, the vicar of St. Thomas’ Church as part of One World Week. As well as watching the film we had a series of discussions and shared a selection of delicious desserts.

Many of those of us who attended the meeting passed on our contact details to Philip Young, who will host a follow-up meeting in the near future.

If you weren’t able to make the meeting you can view the film here. If you would like to take part in further meetings, please contact Philip on Norwich 624390 or via the St. Thomas’ Church website’s contact form. Jeremy Bartlett

Photo: Bluebell Allotments (Jeremy Bartlett)

Have Cake & Eat It - 15 November

On 15th November after Rob Hopkins' talk we (350 of us we hope) will be eating cake. We would like the TN Birthday Cake to represent the communal spirit of Transition Norwich and therefore ask that you each bring a cake to share. The cakes will then be assembled creatively to make a big birthday cake. If you are bringing an allergen free cake eg. sugar, nut, dairy, gluten free please label it. Please deliver your cake to the kitchen or hand it to a volunteer in the foyer before 7.30 on the night. If you would like to join us for a shared supper before the event please bring a veggie dish (preferably local and organic) to share at 6.30pm.

If you could display a poster for the event or could print out a few leaflets to hand out and spread the word please email: training@transitionnorwich.org

We look forward to seeing you at the United Reform Church on Princes Street. Christine Way

Photo: TTBrixton's Unleashing Cake by Johhny Helm from Celebration Ingredient