Aiming to tackle the big issues of climate change, peak oil, sustainability and scarce resources at a local level

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Two weeks to Foodival - and we have news!

It's only two weeks to Foodival and we're starting to announce all the wonderful things that are happening on the festival day, Sunday 14 September at Samaj Hall.

We'll be making announcements about all the fantastic people and organisations who are contributing to Foodival.  We want to say thanks for all your support. The event wouldn't be the same without you.

And in appreciation of the amazing talents of the musicians, community groups, restaurant teams, growers, artists, volunteers, and organisations supporting the event, we'll be making a series of announcements over the next fourteen days over on the Tooting Foodival blog.

So, don't hesitate!

Put Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September in your diaries and head over to the blog to find out more about the entertainers we just announced for the Sunday.

Stay up-to-date by following us on Twitter, liking us Facebook, signing up to the newsletter or just visiting the blog every so often.

We're looking forward to meeting you all in two weeks time. Bring friends and family - the more the merrier!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Three weeks until Foodival!

Tooting Foodival 2013

It's just 3 weeks until the 7th annual Tooting Foodival! 

We're beavering away behind the scenes and we hope that your fruit and vegetables are growing well.  Thanks to everyone who has added their produce to the What's Growing in Tooting map.

Donate your fruit and veg on Saturday 13 Sep

If you have spare fruit, vegetables or herbs, you can donate them at two locations on Saturday 13th September from 1pm - 5pm:
Even if you only have two tomatoes or a sprig of rosemary, bring it along, so that we can offer delicious local food to many people on Sunday. Your donations will be delivered to local restaurants and to our Top Tooting Cook contestants, who will be cooking up a treat overnight, ready for the festival on Sunday 14th September at Samaj Hall, 26b Tooting High Street (by Broadway Studios).

Join us at Samaj Hall on Sunday 14 Sep from 12 noon until 5pm.

There will be plenty to entertain you - some great musicians and entertainers, games, theatre, craft activities, local stalls, and of course some very tasty food with very low food miles from our local restaurants.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's involved so far in getting the festival off the ground:
And special thanks to the Wandsworth Eco Fund for the grant that goes towards running costs for the Foodival.  

If you'd like to get involved with Foodival, get in touch.  You can help by spreading the word, telling your friends, family and neighbours.  Or join in by donating food on the Saturday, or volunteering on the Sunday serving food or collecting food from restaurants.  There are still spaces if you'd like to enter the Top Tooting Cook competition and we will be running a final Meet & Make session to get ready for Foodival at Sprout Arts on 10th September.

Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Restart Party in Tooting Sept 9th

We are delighted to announce that the Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics longer, have agreed to run a “Restart Party” with TTT in Tooting next month. 

The Restart Project aims to reduce electronic waste by helping people learn fundamental repair and maintenance skills, enabling them to fix all kinds of electronic devices rather than throw them away or recycle them.  Slow laptops, broken printers, smartphones, coffee grinders, you name it, Restart will attempt to assist with a fix. 

Sound interesting? Then come along to the event, challenge the culture of built-in obsolescence and take back control of all your electronic stuff!  Do note that Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets & data, so please do not forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant !

We look forward to seeing you at this great event at Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW, Tuesday Sep 9th from 6 to 9pm. The event is also advertised om here.

Monday, 4 August 2014

TTT's August newsletter is hot off the press

Hello all - we have circulated the August TTT newsletter to everyone who has subscribed to our TTT email circulation list (email us here if you wish to be added to that list).
And if you would like to read a copy online: just click here to catch up with all the August (...and beyond) activities and news.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tooting Air Quality Project

Earlier this month, Transition Town Tooting collaborated with the local trades unions to initiate an air monitoring exercise around Tooting Broadway, where several devices have been temporarily fixed to record what is in the air we breathe.  A similar exercise at Clapham Junction recently showed alarming pollution levels so the results for Tooting will be interesting to compare.  If this trial works well we hope to extend it to other nearby areas in the future.
Air pollution
Graham Petersen, who has been leading on the project, said: "Government and City Hall are staggeringly complacent on this issue and need to work a lot harder to combat pollution in London. Wandsworth residents are at significantly higher risk of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), (Wandsworth Guardian 10/4/14), and nitrogen dioxide levels in the city are apparently the worst in Europe." See this Bloomberg report.

We think this is a serious issue and want to work to make our neighbourhood a better one to breathe in.  Perhaps you'd like to get involved?  If so do mail us via

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Finale: Carbon Conversations Meeting 6

We have hosted the last meeting of the May-July series of Tooting Carbon Conversations.
Please come and join us for the next series! 
More information on next steps below, and to go straight to the other five recent blog posts by series participants, click here.

Dan has written this response to taking part...

The Final Conversation in the series
Low-carbon living pops up everywhere
"The final conversation gave us the opportunity to reflect on the things we had learned and decisions we had made along the way, and to think about where we go from here.
It was also an opportunity to celebrate what we had done – and accordingly everyone brought along some delicious (low carbon!) food that we ate to round off the finale.

The session began with everyone sharing a “carbon moment” that they had experienced during the week – these could be something positive, something negative or just a moment of realization. 'Carbon moments' included:
  • Swimming in the (unheated) Lido and feeling you're on holiday (while in the heart of Tooting)
  • Cooking a home grown artichoke
  • Giving a rose from the garden to a girlfriend instead of one that was flown in from Kenya
  • Drinking local beer
On the subject of beer, we discovered that Adnams do a great deal to reduce their carbon footprint  - this was just one of the many useful bits of knowledge I have learned over the course of the conversations – and one that suited me down to the ground as Broadside is one of my favourites!

Next, we played the Climate Walk game in two teams: we had to make a series of choices about things we would personally do and things that, if we were in government, we would legislate on. 
The group's 'Climate Walk'  via choices, and chances, to 2100.
Would we take steps to limit the global rise in temperature?
At the conclusion of the game, we found out where (if everyone in the developed world made these choices) we would end up – in terms of the average temperature rise and the ensuing climate changes/wider impacts.
It was interesting that the group found it harder to commit to the personal sacrifices (e.g giving up flying, giving up air freighted exotic fruit) than to the pieces of legislation.
In discussion, we concluded that it felt easier to do things if everyone did them (as in the case of legislation). Reflecting on this on the way home, I also wondered whether part of what was off-putting was the absoluteness of giving something up permanently.
I feel it is perhaps easier to think in terms of working towards a carbon budget of around 6 tonnes a year (as recommended in the Carbon Conversations workbook and in How Bad are Bananas) because then you can still choose to fly if you want to – but in order to do so you could “save up carbon" by cutting down on milk and dairy – or by changing your car commute to a bicycle one, and so on.

To conclude we reflected on where we go from here.
It was inspiring to hear what people were planning to do, including:
Training as Carbon Conversations facilitators
> Considering lifestyle changes, such as living or working differently to avoid a commute of 6,500 kilometres on the tube every year
> Creating a game for the Tooting Foodival to help spread awareness of carbon choices

> Setting up Carbon Collaborations – developing a community to bring people together, face-to-face and via a new website and Facebook page to spread these ideas widely in a very participative way

Personally, I learned a great deal from the whole Carbon Conversations process and made a few fairly significant choices about my own lifestyle.
I’m now busy reflecting on ways to communicate what I have learned to others in a way that avoids preaching and guilt trips.
In the meantime, I’m loving seeing London from a bicycle rather than sweating on the tube.
And I'm trying to convince myself that I prefer coffee without milk…"
..thank you for sharing your own experience of the meeting, Dan!
 All welcome to join in with the next Carbon Conversations series when we fix new dates. Meanwhile, everyone is welcome to enjoy taking part in Carbon Collaborations
And of course there's the Tooting Foodival on the weekend of Sept 13th and 14th - you can grow local vegetables, cook a dish and participate in many ways on the weekend.
Dan will be at the Foodival with FanSHEN theatre company on Sunday Sept 14th.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Meet me at the Cemetery Gates

On Sunday 6th July, Friends of Streatham Cemetery, in partnership with Groundwork London and Lambeth Council were joined by local residents to celebrate the re-opening of an entrance into Streatham Cemetery that has been closed to the public for 20 years. This makes this phenomenal area of green space much more accessible to the hustle and bustle of Tooting High St.  Tooting residents gathered outside the gates that had been beautifully decorated in floral garlands, to hear Lucy Neal of Friends of Streatham Cemetery talk about the significance of the re-opening of the gate, making the wildlife rich green space on the other side accessible to local people. Some of the local residents shared their personal memories of the cemetery and the new gates were then unlocked for partners and local residents to explore the newly improved green space within. Streatham Cemetery has recently undergone a number of improvements in order to make the space more accessible and of greater value to the local community. The improvements include the creation of raised beds for local people to take part in planting and growing activities, the installation of a noticeboard to keep people informed about local events and opportunities, benches where people can sit and relax and an apiary with three bee hives.

The cemetery is located in a built up area and offers a much needed oasis for residents to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of nature and wildlife on their doorstep.

Lucy Neal said: Streatham Cemetery is a glorious and under-used green space in Tooting. The Friends have been working to cherish local history, wildlife and beauty and the re-opening of the pedestrian gate is a small but very significant moment in bringing this area back into use as a community space for all'.  Kate Allan (BATCA) who attended the event said: "It was a gentle and inspiring ceremony. The cemetery is a haven of expansiveness and peace. I loved the garlands! Well done'."  More photos of the event here.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Foodival 2014

This year's Foodival on the 13th and 14th September will, as ever, be a celebration of locally grown food showing how it's possible to grow local, eat local and be sustainable while also having fun! Now in its 7th year, we hope this will be the biggest Foodival yet and of course it's FREE to attend. 

Here's how you could get involved:
  • If you like eating, (which should include most!), come along on Sunday 14th September from 11am and try some locally grown and cooked food.
  • If you want to get involved as a volunteer, stall-holder, restaurant, cook or chef, please contact us at
Vegetables Growing Right Now in Tooting!

Food donations from 1pm Saturday 13th Sept at Mushkil Aasaan on Upper Tooting Road or at the BATCA Fun Day on Broadwater Road, Tooting

Foodival celebration from 11am - 5pm Sunday 14th Sept 26b Tooting High Street (by Broadway Studios) SW17 0RG

For full details please see the Foodival Website.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Food: Carbon Conversations Meeting 5

We're continuing the glimpses into what we're covering in our current series of informal Carbon Conversations. Here is the fifth...
Participant Ben has written his own response to this week's meeting, all about exploring carbon reduction in our Food.
Ben's comments:

" Monday evening in Tooting....cold, damp with a mid-summer mist clinging to the trees across the common.
And here we are, huddled around Jane's dining room table for our fifth Carbon Conversations session.
This evening’s topic is food. As ever, the discussion is thought-provoking and far-reaching.

We discuss our personal relationships with food. We feel that food can be the source of positive things (pleasure, socialising, creativity) as well as negative (neuroses, ethical dilemmas, health concerns).

Then we play a board game where we assess the carbon footprint of different food items. I’d never thought about food production in such an atomised way (production, processing, packaging and transport are all very distinct parts of the production line from plough to plate).

The game throws up some surprises.
Frozen chicken nuggets flown to the UK from Thailand are bad all round – high carbon at every stage of the process.
But because 48% of food's carbon emissions are embedded in the production part of the process, a piece of Irish cheddar comes out pretty high in C02 emissions as well (the production of cheddar involves the rearing of cows, their feed, methane the cows produce, etc, which is all very carbon-intensive).

It is also interesting to note that something that’s travelled from afar isn’t necessarily bad –slow, long distance transport of non-perishable items by ship can be quite low in carbon. So, a few surprises here!
Very Local:
British-grown, good for you!
Very Very Local:
Sown, grown and
eaten in Tooting!

What are the prospects of making lifestyle changes on the basis of all this?
The prospects are good I’d say. Low-carbon food tends to be healthier and cheaper. Indeed, the best food of all is stuff you’ve grown yourself: low-carbon, super cheap, and super healthy. So, the moral of the story? Dust off your gardening gloves, grab a trowel, and get planting.
The future of food consumption is local produce.
It’s a no-brainer."

Thank you very much, Ben!
Next week is our 6th meeting: the finale of our 8th Tooting Carbon Conversations. All welcome to join us next time we offer the series.


A very relevant article titled: Planting potatoes into policy: why town planners must think about local food' was in The Guardian on 14 May. Read it by clicking here.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Top Tooting Cook 2014

Could you be the next Top Tooting Cook?
Last year the culinary talents of many local cooks were on display in Tooting Market at the hotly contested inaugural Top Tooting Cook competition. This year we are expecting the competition to be even hotter with even more local cooks taking up the challenge.

It’s all in the name of fun, but also to show how locally grown, locally cooked food can be tastier and a whole lot healthier for you and for our environment. As part of the annual Foodival event, taking place this year on 13th/14th September, local growers donate produce from the gardens and window boxes of Tooting that we then distribute to cooks and restaurants to produce some truly local sustainable dishes.  

You can collect some of this home grown produce on Sat 13th or use anything tasty you have growing to create your Top Tooting Cook entry.  Bring your creations back on Sun 14th when the tastiest dishes with the lowest food miles will win some fabulous prizes, with the winner crowned “Top Tooting Cook”.

Please get in touch with Mal if you are interested in taking part or in finding out more.