Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tour de Tooting - workshops, a film night, a parade!

Tour de Tooting Creative Director Lucy Neal

With less than 2 weeks until Tour de Tooting, are you ready for a wonderful wheeled parade through Tooting, followed by a sharing picnic on Fishponds Fields?  Pop 3rd July in your diary!

Maybe you've found one of these mysterious #tourdetooting tags on your wheels?


Maybe you've been to one of the wheelie workshops we've held so far? No! Don't worry! There are three more workshops to come. They're all free and everyone is welcome - whether you have wheels or not. Join in the fun!
  • 26 June - wheel decorating and bike workshop, 12.30-5.30pm, Bruce Hall
  • 01 July - wheel decorating at Fransciscan School's Festival, 4-6pm
  • 02 July - wheel decorating and bike workshop, 11am-4pm

20 DIY Ways to Pimp Your Bike, Buzzfeed &

Film Fundraiser, Tuesday 28th June

Tour de Tooting on 3rd July will be a completely free event, so that everyone in the community can attend. But it takes funding to make an event like this happen.  So we're hosting a film night on Tuesday 28th June at Tooting Market to raise funds. 

Tickets are £10. You can buy a ticket in advance or on the door from 6.30pm. We'll be showing the wonderful Breaking Away and more!


Find out more about #tourdetooting  We can't wait to see you at any of these events and at the parade on 3rd July!

Report from the seventh weekend of Growing Tooting 'grow your own food' classes

Here's the report from the seventh weekend of our Growing Tooting 'grow your own food' local fortnightly classes. We've been offering these in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth since April.

The common themes this week have been exploring more ambitious planting schemes, visiting other local gardens, and looking at forest gardening.

So: here's a group planting a 'Three Sisters' bed in Balham: 
That means establishing a bed with three complementary crops (sweet corn, beans, pumpkin) which combine well in terms of habit, shade needs and care. It's a fascinating traditional native american method making good use of limited cultivated land.

The Tooting group visited the Tooting Community Garden
Here they are comparing our bread wheat with an experimental bed of teff, a 'wonder grain' from Ethiopia.

One of the Wandsworth groups
visited members' allotments in King George's Park.
That's a nice scene!

This fortnight's Seventh Growing Tooting Handout is available to everyone by clicking here.
The focus is Forest Gardening: as a development of the permaculture conversations in the 6th weekend of Growing Tooting. It's a fascinating method where short-term crops are not planted, and the plot is managed to produce from perennial ground cover plants, bushes and trees.

That's very different from the experience most of us have on our allotments or balconies! 

Keeping up the theme of visiting inspiring gardens, a great place to experience a half-way house between growing in beds and developing wilder forest growing is at Spiralfields Community Garden, part of the wonderful Spitalfields City Farm in Tower Hamlets. 

At Spiralfields they have dumped 60+ tons of soil in hillocks and valleys right on top of existing paving...and planted trees which will break through the concrete in time.

The whole space is a super-productive oasis right alongside the Eurostar tracks.
Visiting info for Spitalfields City Farm - click here.

One of the UK's gurus of Forest Gardening is Martin Crawford.
He finds that with a mature forest garden, just a few day's work per year produces a big proportion of his family's food -though some of the crops are not very familiar. Info here.

Martin's garden is just under a hectare (as it's Euro 2016, that's the size of two football pitches).
Many of us make plans of our planting beds; Martin has identified every tree on his site....!

He's written a comprehensive guide and runs regular courses in Devon (see details online here).
Courses are highly recommended if you want to immerse yourself...

Always new things to explore in gardening!
- Charles

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Restart Party on Tuesday

Broken electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away? Good at fixing or mending stuff or would like to learn how? 
Come to a Restart Party! 
and help keep stuff out of landfill. The next Restart Party in Tooting is this coming Tuesday 21st June at 7pm.
Restart Parties are the antidote to the thowaway society, why bin your sickly electronics when they could easily live a bit longer with some TLC?  Laptops, cameras, kitchen appliances, gadgets etc. - we will try to mend anything or at least tell you what's wrong and what to do next and it's all completely free!

#TourdeTooting At Tuesday's party you can also get your bike checked out by Dr Bike as part of our Tour de Tooting preparations.  So bring your wheels as well as your electronics!

Do remember that Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own electronic items and data, so please don’t forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant.  Also, if possible, do please arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing! 

The next 3 Restart parties in Tooting, all at Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW are scheduled for :
> Tuesday 21st June, 7 – 9.30 pm 
> Tuesday 9th August, 7 – 9.30 pm 
> Saturday 12th November, 2 - 5pm 

More info about Restart including details of regular skillshares at 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Happy 8th Birthday to Transition Town Tooting!

Celebrating eight years of Transition Town Tooting!

Thanks to everyone who came to our Annual Celebration

Last Friday, we turned our AGM into ACE - our Annual Celebratory Extravaganza - to share and celebrate what we've achieved, and to look forward to 2016 and beyond.

Volunteers, beneficiaries, partners, project leaders, friends, neighbours and interested local people came together at Rechere's on Tooting High Street. We ate well. We talked and made new friends. We formed teams to take part in one of the hardest quizzes in TTT's history! And we gathered around our enthusiasm for making change in how we live, where we live, in light of climate change.

Celebrating and sharing

Thank you to everyone involved this year and in the last eight years!

We picked a few things to celebrate and here, we share them with you:
  • We ran our 9th series of Carbon Conversations last year - a series of workshops to help individuals reduce their carbon footprint and explore the challenges we face in light of climate change.
  • Eight years of our sustainable food festival – Foodival. Last year, we won a Grow Wandsworth Sunshine Award for "celebrating the ways people have brought a bit of sunshine into the lives of others through community growing”.    
  • Five years of Tooting Community Garden The garden is open every Sunday to the public. In the last 10 weeks, 55 people have made visits – many returning week after week.
  • Four years hosting teenagers on the National Citizen Service scheme – Challenge – and working with them each summer.
  • Three years of outdoor learning with Gatton School – hundreds of children have explored the community garden, at sessions on Tuesdays. As one of the children said at the celebration at the garden last month, "Nature plays an important part in every religion and it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of it. We strongly believe that this community garden has brought us together and closer than ever before".
  • Three years of Resparkle at the Library – encouraging families to spend time together making things from upcycled materials.
  • One year of Rooting in Tooting – running gardening, carpentry and arts sessions with the CARAS youth club
  • UpFest – Jeni Walker ran sewing sessions at the new Wandsworth Oasis shop – the beginnings of a great partnership.
  • Tooting Field Days – in partnership with fanSHEN Theatre – a series of local safaris in and around Tooting – a chance to get outside, walk, play and make things. Themes for each safari follow Carbon Conversations themes – shelter, travel, food, water, natural neighbourhoods.
  • Growing Tooting – a new initiative working across three new locations, running a series of 8 workshops to help people learn about growing in the city.
  • Tooting Neighbourhood Plan – the Forum group is firmly established, bringing a diverse voice to the development of the area.
  • Restart Parties – a chance to get your electronic or electrical items fixed, or help others to fix. The parties are now established in Tooting and the next one is 21st June.
  • Tour de Tooting – a wheeled parade through Tooting to re-imagine our streets with fewer cars and buses. It’s happening – 3rd July!
  • Golden Ticket Awards – we are incredibly grateful to the individuals who have gifted the community share of the Wandsworth Golden Ticket Awards to TTT. The Golden Ticket scheme is run by Western Riverside Waste Authority in partnership with the council and is an initiative to encourage recycling. These donations will go a long way in helping us continue our work. Thank you.
Thank you again to everyone who's been involved or taken part or supported us. And if you're interested in finding out more or getting involved, get in touch by emailing - the more the merrier, and the more positive change we make.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Pedalista Workshop - This Tuesday!

Could you be a leader in making, could you become a Prime Pedalista? 

Hello Pedalistas*

Tour De Tooting is fast approaching.  Pedalistas of Tooting will be looking to get making and decorating throughout June in preparation for the Parade of Wheels on the 3rd July.

This Tuesday, Tour De Tooting are hosting a workshop of making and decorating to prepare you to share techniques with friends, family, community groups , school pupils and more.

Could you be a leader in making, could you become a Prime Pedalista?

*A Pedalista is anyone who is excited by the idea of celebrating the freedom and liberation of the wheels in their lives.

Tuesday 7th June
6:30 - 8:30
Work and Play Scrapstore, Hazelhurst Estate, 13 Blackshaw Road, London SW17 0DA

Friday, 3 June 2016

Growing Tooting - the sixth weekend of our local grow-your-own food workshop series

Last weekend we enjoyed the sixth crop of fortnightly 'triple-header' Growing Tooting workshops - one each in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth. (Plus there's the fourth series: an extra Wandsworth group running on the intervening weekends).
As ever, thanks to Martin for the energy and co-ordination!

What did we do this week?
As a comprehensive gardening topic we looked in detail at Permaculture - a growing approach that aims to integrate natural systems with social and individual needs for food, clean water, energy... (click here or here for two in-depth web resources).

To make that practical, in one group Donna presented her own garden as a case study.

She filmed a video of the back garden, plus photos of the front, for us to get an idea of the spaces and how the garden fits into her life.

Donna's team of advisers - an unusual opportunity!

'Observing' before diving in is as useful in gardening as it is in swimming. Thank you Donna!
How is the potato progressing?
Secondly about observing - in our classes we encourage participants to be 'grower scientist - investigators' alongside enjoying being outside and putting good food on the table.
Here's an example from someone who likes to measure and celebrate her plants' progress! Why not try it - you learn a lot.

We have our latest Growing Tooting Handout 6 available - click here to download. The handout includes interrelated features of good common-sense gardening (and of permaculture):
  • Attracting wildlife to control pests
  • Mulch
  • Compost
  • Mycorrhizal soil fungi
  • No-dig gardening
To illustrate combing several of these elements, the second Wandsworth group planted up a square foot raised bed which had been prepared with a no-dig approach. First we removed the weeds then covered with a couple of inches of leaf mould from one of the housing estate's leaf pens, then covered that with sieved soil to achieve a fine tilth for sowing seeds.
You can see the separate layers
We planted spinach, nasturtium, basil, plus marigold and tomato seedlings under bottle cloches (we're experimenting with companion planting for the latter two).

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Tour de Tooting Coming Your Way

There is a real buzz of excitement in the air, a sense of something big about to happen in the streets of Tooting as the launch date nears and the Grand Parade of Wheels takes shape. From now until 3rd July we will be holding ‘Reinvent Your Wheels!’ workshops and cycle-themed events to celebrate the people-powered wheels in our lives. 

The first workshop is at Bruce Hall, All Saints Parish Church (corner of Brudenell and Franciscan Roads) this coming Saturday 4th June 11.30-4.30pm. There will be lots to learn, make and enjoy: making, storytelling and wheel decorating. Light refreshments provided. Come for the whole time or part. Everyone is welcome, it’s free to take part and it is open to all ages. 

Why don’t you come along?  Bring your wheels to decorate and see how you too can be part of this Grand Parade of wheels in Tooting. On the day itself, Sunday July 3rd, we will leave Franciscan School together at 2pm. Take a look at what’s happening and how you can get involved. 

Lucy Neal, one of the Event organisers, says: "Transition Town Tooting has been working with Transport for London and Wandsworth Council for half a year to work out a route for our Grand Parade of Wheels so that our community can celebrate together. We are SO excited that we are now a month away from the big day. But there is lots to do to make the Parade gorgeously colourful and inventive. We need everyone to get involved reinventing their wheels and joining this people-powered Parade."

Pick up a leaflet from your local cycle shop to find out more and see our poster below for further details.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Growing together, Learning together, Working together: three years of Outdoor Learning in Gatton Primary School's own words

Early in May we held a delightful celebration of three years' shared experience of the outdoor learning project between Gatton Primary School and Tooting Community Garden
You can look at that blog report by clicking here

The sun shone on us all and lit the mosaic made at the school with every pupil involved. 
Among the natural images the tiles spell out the three phrases that are the title of this post.

What is outdoor learning? 'OL' covers many activities (not only gardening) and settings. OL offers opportunities for surprising and diverse impact on participants -not fixed or one-size-fits-all.

Have a look at this earlier TTT post on outdoor learning with younger children from Gatton School.
Also, click on OUTDOOR LEARNING in the Quick LInks at the top of this web page for stories from 3 years of the project.
We want to share Gatton School pupils' own words about their experience of the project. Young people from Year Six (10 & 11 years old) made confident and touching short speeches at the celebration, and you can read the texts here. All the statements are fascinating, and I'll quote just parts of what 4 different pupils said:

  • "For over three years now our school has worked as a team to create these projects which you see before you. Team work is necessary in our lives and Gatton School has used this advantage to work as a team and benefit the environment"
  • "We can cultivate land together and learn more social skills when we are engrossed in doing gardening together as either a family or as a community"
  • "Taking part in such activities even improves our Design & Technology skills and encourages children to do something that benefits them as well as having fun doing so. D&T inspires children's creativity and pushes them to think about important ways to support Mother Nature" 

  •  "Nature plays an important part in every religion and it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of it. We strongly believe that this community garden has brought us together and closer than ever before"

I asked Rifat Batool, Head of Gatton School, to share some of her vision for establishing and continuing the project. She said:

"Outdoor and engaging learning is a strong aspect of our work at Gatton School. The various projects carried out in the community garden over the past 3 years have allowed pupils to see first-hand how much we can do together as part of a strong partnership committed to learning. 

We continually challenge our thinking and way of learning to drive for more innovative ideas to enhance learning even further. This allows pupils to see that so much is possible when using creativity, imagination and sense of purpose. 

This partnership and celebration represents the coming together of people from different backgrounds and interests  and is an amazing representation of teamwork, collaboration and mutual respect".

TTT feels honoured to be part of three years of positive experiment, and grateful for the commitment shown by the children, Gatton School staff, Mushkil Aasaan the owners of the garden site and our own team, rain or shine.

Thank you all, and we're looking forward to the next three years!
- Charles

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Come along to our Annual Celebratory Extravaganza, Fri. 10 June

Come to our Annual Celebratory Extravaganza!

Fri. 10 June, 6.30pm
Rechere's Health & Wellbeing Centre, 163-165 Tooting High Street
(followed by 9.00pm drinks at the Trafalgar Arms for those who want to continue celebrating!)

Please R.S.V.P. by getting a free ticket on Eventbrite

Everyone is welcome!

If you’re on our mailing list, like or follow our Facebook or Twitter accounts, have been to any of our events, or are just interested to find out what we do in Tooting – come along.

ACE is an opportunity for us to come together to celebrate achievements locally and to thank everyone who has supported us over the last year.

It’s a place to meet other local people who share our goals:

Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, In Light of Climate Change.

And a chance to find out about our projects and get involved.

What to expect

  • TTT sustenance – a.k.a tea, cake, samosas, Turkish bread & hummus
  • Test your knowledge of Tooting with our quiz
  • A celebration of what was achieved last year
  • Discover more about TTT’s projects
  • Share an idea you might have to improve our neighbourhood
  • A look ahead and an invite to get involved
  • Conversations with friends new and old

See you there...
Don't forget to get a free ticket on Eventbrite
so we know how many cakes to bake!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Growing Tooting: the fifth weekend of our enjoyable local grow-your-own classes

Gardeners in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth are seeing results in the soil, in trying out new skills and having some fun together.
As our fortnightly free Growing Tooting classes continue, have a look below at what we've been doing, and do get in touch to share ideas or with any queries.

Very proud gardeners! 

Basil seedlings transplanted into the ground at Melanie's allotment.


More proud gardeners, indoors this time:

Veronica, Diana and Morena sowing seeds, transplanting lettuce seedlings (Sainsbury's, 60p), dividing Moroccan mint to take home in pots.

Back outdoors, gardeners of all ages at Ravenstone School are getting their school raised beds going

Growing Tooting Handout 5 This is now available for participants and for TTT friends who read this blog and who would like to catch up on the details. 
Themes are Pests, Companion Planting, Square Foot Gardening
Please click here to download and keep a copy of Handout 5.

Square Foot Gardening is useful for the home gardener because it helps you focus on making best use of space, putting plants together that make sense, and creating an interesting mini-landscape.

What's in the square foot bed below?
Tallest plants top RH corner (= north side).
Gail's donated tomato and borage (top RHS squares).
Maxine's lemon balm and 2 strawberries (top LHS).
Seeds elsewhere - bell peppers (top), English marigold (centre), radish, dwarf nasturtiums, basil (bottom L to R)

Square foot bed planted with veg, herbs and flowers for pollination.

Here's a small bed full of different herbs, spotted at Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Come to the Hubs & Spokes Cafe - Thu. 19 May, 6.30pm @ Rechere's

Want to find out more about Tour de Tooting?

Come along to our second Hubs and Spokes café on Thu. 19 May, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Rechere’s Wellbeing Centre, 163-165 Tooting High Street in anticipation of  the Tour de Tooting, Sun. 03 July.

What will be doing in this Hubs and Spokes Cafe?

The gathering on Thu. 19 May from 6.30pm to 8.30pm will fill in the gaps of what remains to be invented. Do we need more rides? More people? More materials? What part might you like to play?

Pedal by pedal, we will look at compatibility between the Tour's four components:

  • Creating and making:  Decorate your wheels, bring your machines if you like!
  • Roads and Rides:  Catching up on our route and sites – we need people to marshall / steward / site manage. Would you like to ?
  • Connecting and Communication:  Telling people in Tooting what's happening
  • Resourcing:  Join our team! Time, sweet time – do you have any you might like to give? Whether it be for something specific or getting involved in the co-ordination. We need Principal Pedalistas! Social Media advocates, Volunteer Stewards, Leaflet distributors and poster putter-upperers, Site Managers for on the day and help with Volunteer Co-ordination! Roll up! Roll up!
We're wheely looking forward to seeing you, please do spread the word and bring folks who you think might be interested.

In the meantime, have fun trying to Draw A Bike From Memory!

What happened at the last Hubs and Spokes Cafe? 

Those who came along to the first Hubs and Spokes café enjoyed Cake! Tea! and a short movie on the bici-machinista-cycle-powered marvels of Guatemala and the collective energy of creating this emerging event! 

Lots has happened since:
  • We’ve been developing Route, Traffic and Event Management plans
  • Leaflet and Poster design are underway
  • A logo, thanks to everyone, with help from Sue Rentoul!
  • We’ve engaged with Wandsworth Cycle Campaign and Wheels for Wellbeing, a fantastic charity that removes barriers to cycling
  • Organising workshops with children at Franciscan School, our Départ point     
  • Continuing plans for a wheel-themed film night in Tooting Market
  • Co-ordinating a bike-themed Tooting Restart Party on June 21st Tuesday

We look forward to seeing you. Come join in the fun! #tourdetooting

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Growing Tooting: the fourth weekend of our flourishing grow-your-own classes

The fourth weekend in our fortnightly series of workshops on growing your own local food was fun and successful. We're half way through the run of 8 workshops at each of the sites.
The Balham-Tooting-Wandsworth structure is stimulating as there are differences and common ground in the settings and interests - plus there's healthy cross-pollination between locations and local partners

Have a look at the Fourth Growing Tooting Handout by clicking here - all welcome to download and use to help your own garden choices. Collect the set! (And any feedback welcomed, of course).

Do you know your Rooster from your Vivaldi?
One theme in the Handout is building awareness of varieties of vegetables and fruit. What's the benefit of there being so many?

So, here is a 'Brown Turkey' variety fig being planted at the Balham class site, St Mark's URC

TTT recently won a prize draw from The Conservation Foundation (see last item below). Our reward was a diverse bundle of 3 varieties of potatoes: 'Sherine', 'Rooster' and 'Vivaldi'. Each has different characteristics and cropping times...the result of plant breeding over the past 400 years. Thank you! - we have some to give away.
Plus there's 'Centurion' onions and 'Red Sun' shallots which we've planted.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Celebrating Community Outdoor Learning with Wandsworth's Mayor

This afternoon a formal celebration of three years of Community Outdoor Learning with Gatton School took place at the Tooting Community Garden, attended as guest of honour by the Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Nicola Nardelli, plus site owner Naseem Aboobaker of Mushkil Aasaan and Rifat Batool, Head at Gatton School. 
The celebration was joined by many of the children, staff and volunteers who have contributed to the development of the garden and the Outdoor Learning programme.
The Mosaic and Vertical Garden
The Mayor officially opened the vertical garden made by Year 6 children in recent weeks as well as unveiling the mosaic curated by artist Kirsteen Ritchie and made with the help of many of the children at school.  
Naseem expressed her thankfulness for the community connections made in the garden and a group of the children read out their own tributes and reflections on the garden projects.  
Rifat spoke about the educational value of the outdoor projects over the past three years.
A community collaboration

Mayor Nicola Nardelli & Naseem Aboobaker

The Mayor with Gatton School Year 6 children
We're very grateful to all who took part on a lovely day to celebrate this project.
More to follow ...