Transition Towns - Brockley

"What about this dang environment? Back in Texas, we got rid of it, and made everyone a lot happier."
- Tex, The Simpsons

The Transition Towns movement is coming to Brockley, securing the coveted keynote address at both of Brockley's premier forums, which for some reason, happen to be on the same night. At 8pm on March 17th at the Brockley Social Club, Fran Edwards will address the Broc Soc meeting to explain what becoming a Transition Town would mean for SE4. At exactly the same time, Alona Sheridan from 'Transition Lewisham' will be electrifying the Brockley Cross Action Group's AGM at St Andrew's Church.

"Transition Towns" is a grassroots political movement, which believes that resource scarcity and climate change mean that localisation of economic activity is both essential and inevitable.

Now, it would be easy to poke fun at an organisation which takes five paragraphs to explain why its organisational structure is like a cell and which quotes Victoria Safford as if she were some kind of authority on something or other (what do you mean you don't know who Victoria Safford is? She's the minister of the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, in Mahtomedi, Minnesota and the author of "Walking Toward Morning." That's who.). But just because an organisation carries woolly, new age baggage doesn't mean that it's not capable of coming up with some interesting ideas. In fact, it would be quite possible to strip away all the ideology and be left a laundry list of good projects to spend money from the Localities Fund on.

We asked Fran Rogers to give us some examples of the kinds of things that Brockley's Transition Town movement could result in. Here's what she said:

"The main one that comes to my mind would be matching up unused garden spaces of all types with gardeners keen to grow veggies etc. Plenty of scope there. Also, implementing practical and achievable ways to cut down our carbon footprint, and looking for appropriate alternative energy sources for the area. The idea is also that it should be a shared and fun experience.

"I've also heard from Sue Luxton that there is a proposal for a community orchard in Brockley which sounds like a great local initiative.

"Food and energy are probably the main areas, but being at such an early stage of the Transition process I'm a bit reluctant to make statements. The ideas come from people themselves and it's very much a grassroots movement."

If you want to learn more, head along to one of the meetings or click here for the Transition Lewisham website.

45 comments:

Sammy said...

We don't need a 'transition movement' this is not America.

If 'localisation of economic activity is both essential and inevitable."

Then just let it happen, we don't need to some frankly rather creepy organisation, trying to infilitrate our local democratic structures.

Tamsin said...

How the heck did BXAG and Broc. Soc. arrange to have their meetings on the same night? Don't they talk to each other?
(It is incidentally bang in the middle of of the Telegraph Hill Festival - the dates of which have been scheduled and published since last September - but we do not expect communication across that divide.)

Anonymous said...

No they don't actually. Seriously, the two organsiations need to come together and pool their strengths. Then perhaps the planning stuff in the conservation area won't be left behind.

Hugh said...

Nick, if you make it big will you stay in Brockley (perhaps in a huge Wickham Road gaff, albeit not as big as mine) or move on?

Tressillian James said...

I took a look at the document. I'm trying very very hard to like this organisation and go to the meeting as the ideas mentioned in Nick's blog seem quite cool. But why do I feel uneasy.

Looking a the doc, I'm thinking Runes, Druids and Wicker Men.

Promise to give it a proper read this weekend

Brockley Nick said...

Will you stay on as my butler?

Tamsin said...

Isn't this what Pat Archer is investigating for Ambridge?

Anonymous said...

if they want to organise a clear up of eg all the little mews "gaps", i'd help. they could be made really beautiful.

is this the sort of thing they do?

patrick1971 said...

I have a garden but am not much of a gardener and I would love to partner up with someone who lives in a flat and would make good use of it to grow veggies. An excellent idea.

Tamsin said...

There are organisations that already do that - I will try to check them out and post details.

patrick1971 said...

Could you, Tamsin? That would be great and much appreciated. It is such a good idea that I've often wondered if such an organisation already existed.

Tamsin said...

I'll try and remember where I saw it, but if not I will be seeing someone on Tuesday who will probably know.

Glenda said...

I'd also be interested, Tamsin as I've foolishly decided to look into getting an allotment and there's a bit of a waiting list.
Nor did I think i could possibly grow me own in Brockley

drakefell debaser said...

I don't think I have ever seen the word "initiative" used so much in one document. The word also appears to describe people or a body.....lizards?

Nice ideas on the use of gardens though and if I didn't already have a garden, I would take you up on your offer Patrick.

brockley mutha said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/real_food/article2480965.ece


@ patrick1971 and glenda - there are a number of those back/front garden sharing organisations around the country - see link above, but i've struggled to find one in lewisham. obviously the potential in garden-rich brockley is huge. When i look out my back window, all i see are untouched and massive backgardens for as far as the eye can see. so something that pairs up the garden owners with keen gardeners would be useful.

Although Patrick and Glenda - at the risk of stating the obvious - you each have what the other needs, so why look any further ...

drakefell debaser said...

yes, the only thing growing in my neighbour's garden is weeds, and lots of them. It is a large allotment waiting to happen.

Sue said...

Landfit seems to have gone into hibernation for now, but Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls is Landshare is worth registering with. Plus, Capital Growth.

Tressilliana said...

'Isn't this what Pat Archer is investigating for Ambridge?'

Yes, indeed, Tamsin. Good to know I'm not the only Archers listener here!

Stroud and Totnes are well advanced with this, I believe.

Tressillian James said...

Sue - is this something the council could promote. Next to me is social housing and the tenants do not seem to have an interest in their section of the back garden which is several feet high in weeds come summer. I'm not talking about forcing anyone - but if someone obviously has no interest or use in a piece of land, it would be great to see it being put to better use.

Monkeyboy said...

Hmmm....interesting. Gardening is a chore, would be great to have some veg growing. My mum (a proper Italian peasant) turned our posh garden in Muswell hill into a scene from the good life. I remember her picking runner beans and cooking them within minutes, tasted fantastic.

Only trouble is I have no back gate so gardeners would have to traipse through the house, could be done I'm sure.

tyrhwitt ali said...

I'd definitely be up for doing some gardening in someone else's, although I suppose I could work on my landlady and see if she'd let me lose on hers!

patrick1971 said...

monkeyboy, my parents had our suburban house all done out like the Good Life as well, although without the animals and the electricity generator powered by manure...

Glenda, would definitely be interested in doing a "garden swap". I'm at the Crofton Park end of Brockley, you'd be more than welcome to come over and have a look. Drop me an email - it's patrick1971 at gmail dot com.

MichaelF said...

Thanks for those links Sue - will register now. My garden is a complete mess (I wonder if mine is the one you were talking about tressillian james - the back section grows very talll with weeds over the summer, although this is actually owned by the flat upstairs, so not my fault!) and I'd love to be able to grow veg in it - just not very green fingered (plus a lack of time, and if I'm honest some laziness). This is a really great idea.

Re the transition town movement - OK they're a little bit hippy-ish, but "Runes, Druids and Wicker Men"? Jeez...

Tressillian James said...

Did someone post the link to the Hugh Fearly Whatisname Landshare iniative? There is an article on the most recent Broc Soc newletter on how a house in Tyrwhitt is doing exactly this providing land for veg, an area for kids to play and other uses from the one garden.

Michael F - I don't think we are neighbours - the example I was using is fairly cmmon. And as for druids and wicker men - c'mon let me sex it up a bit.

Sammy said...

This link is nothing to do with Hugh Whathisface, as far as I know, but it is a useful starting point for people who would like to exchange services locally.

http://www.letslinkuk.org/

Anonymous said...

Ugh, can't stand him and his pious attitude towards chickens

Tressillian James said...

Really? I think his attitudes towards chickens should become law.

Anonymous said...

And if that happened, there'd be bloody chickens everywhere.

Headhunter said...

I agree TJ. What happens on factory farms is barbaric. It's not just chickens. When I was gowing up we lived very close to some major factory farms. Not sure about chickens, but the screaming noises you'd hear from pigs emananting from the hulking, corrugate iron sheds were horrific. Sounded like a torture chamber.

Anonymous said...

Can you hear the lambs still screaming Clarice?

Headhunter said...

No it was the pigs....

drakefell debaser said...

Pigs scream when they are being slaughtered so the method of farming has little impact at that stage. It is awful though and will put you off bacon sarnies for a while.

Tyrwhitt carnivore said...

I'm afraid nothing would put me off my bacon sarnie.

I was really disappointed I didn't get a chance to go on that Kill it Cook it Eat it programme, it looked really good.....and tasty.

Comes from being brought up in the country I suppose.

Tyrwhitt carnivore said...

I'm afraid nothing would put me off my bacon sarnie.

I was really disappointed I didn't get a chance to go on that Kill it Cook it Eat it programme, it looked really good.....and tasty.

Comes from being brought up in the country I suppose.

Headhunter said...

I was brought up right on the edge of younger years out and about in the Chiltern Hills about 5 mins walk away. the factory farms were a little further into the countryside. they were like these enormous garages with no windows and the smell! We're not talking good old fashioned country smells, got that a lot. Factory farms emit a stench like nothing you've smelled before. It permeates your clothes so you can smell it on them when you get home. It's sort of chemicals like ammonia mixed with concentrated urine and animal sh*t. Sorry if you're eating. It's all very unnatural.

Headhunter said...

Sorry that should read....

I was brought up right on the edge of Luton and spent my younger years out and about in the Chiltern Hills which were about 5 mins walk away.

The factory farms were a little further into the countryside. they were like these enormous garages with no windows and the smell! We're not talking good old fashioned country smells, got that a lot. Factory farms emit a stench like nothing you've smelled before. It permeates your clothes so you can smell it on them when you get home. It's sort of chemicals like ammonia mixed with concentrated urine and animal sh*t. Sorry if you're eating. It's all very unnatural.

patrick1971 said...

headhunter, were you in the kebab shop just by Gulen's Wine Bar at about 8 o'clock on Saturday evening? I was walking past on my way to Aquarium and thought I saw you, but as I've only met you once I wasn't quite sure...

Headhunter said...

No that wasn't me, I was at home with a bunch of friends playing Wii Sports - good fun after a few G&Ts....

Voice of reason said...

Free range farms also smell of shit.

Headhunter said...

Sh*t yes, I know how farms smell! "Normal" farms don't havethe intense, nasty chemical stench of factory farms. Keeping large groups of animals packed into windowless sheds is a sure fire way of encouraging disease so there's a lot of chemical use to try to prevent this.

Anonymous said...

Is it? You should work for DEFRA. So many experts in Brockley.

Tamsin said...

Followed up the query about where I had half seen something about a body that puts garden owners and would be gardeners in touch with each other and it seems it was probably Age Concern, although they no longer do it - issues with checking, vulnerability and security. So the best bet is the very interesting links already provided and informal contacts such as this Forum where potentially Patrick and Glenda seem to have been put in touch with each other.

Headhunter your corrected post yesterday afternoon sounds very Dylan-esque (thinking of Thomas, but could be Bob) "I was brought up right on the edge of younger years out and about in the Chiltern Hills" Andrew Motion move over!

Headhunter said...

Anon - Goes without saying that as soon as you cram animals (as well as human beings) together, disease spreads so factory farms rely on the latest chemicals, pesticides, herbicides to keep down disease.

Disease is nature's way of thinning out populations, if there are too many people/animals in one place which places undue stress on that specific environment, nature steps in by "killing off" the weaker specimens in that group with disease (among other things) consequently allowing the rest of the group to flourish.

Look at salmon farms off Scotland, it's necessary to use a lot of chemicals to make sure that these farms remain productive.

Basically the chemicals used in modern farming suppress our environment's natural desire for diversity. It's hardly brain science, you don't need to work for DEPFRA to work it out...

Headhunter said...

Tamsin - Yes it was vaguely poetic now that I read it again! that's the result of cutting and pasting and then not re-reading....

You were up early this morning! Posting here at 5.03am!

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