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

Friday, 21 October 2016

'Gardens of Refuge': our new partnership project for 2017 with CARAS & The Grange. Vote for funding online through the Aviva Community Fund!

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” (Audrey Hepburn)

We are thrilled that Gardens of Refuge, our new partnership project plan has reached the final public voting stage of the Aviva Community Fund! The project is centred on the refugee and asylum-seeker community who are supported by the Tooting charity CARAS.

Read the description of the project online here.

For the future: bulbs for 2017
Gardens of Refuge is listed under 'CARAS' on the Aviva Community Fund website.
You'll see that the project is all about growing the therapeutic benefits of gardening plus greening the community we share in Tooting.  
And it's about building ways to enable refugees to share their knowledge and skills locally to imagine and create a more beautiful neighbourhood as a legacy for all.
Legacy: flourishing from 2015's cuttings
There are three partners in Gardens of Refuge:
CARAS - with whom we have worked in depth for 18 months  on Rooting in Tooting.

The Grange - a residential respite and permaculture centre in Norfolk who work with CARAS. Please see The Grange.

& Transition Town Tooting

As of today, the website is live for the public to vote for the projects they would like Aviva to support. 
Voting is open until 18th November: but please don't delay!
Please vote and encourage Aviva to support Gardens of Refuge!  

You have to register individually before you can vote: to register, please click here for the Aviva webpage
Then search for CARAS or Gardens of Refuge to vote!
Thank you so much for your support, 
and please contact us by email if you have any queries.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Tooting Green Drinks! Roll up! Roll Up!

Lovely Green Drinks in Tooting last night at The Selkirk, thanks for hosting! 
We got to know the London National Park City initiative better and asked how we would raise London's green cover from 48% (current) to 51%???? Our answer is..., Parklets! Green up the base of trees, hand over 1 car parking space to green infrastructure! Guerrilla Garden where you can! Turn the small spaces green, lobby the council to use
So... where would YOU create a Parklet?
We launched Green Book Club! Whoop! Want to join in? We have 2 articles to read which will be part of the discussion at the next Tooting Green Drinks: 
  • Is talk about it the most important thing we can do about climate change?…
  • After plastic bag tax what should we tax next?…/six-billion-plastic-bags-cant…
So... How could Green Book Club work best for you?? Online discussion? Articles? Youtube vids and TEDtalks? Books?
AND... we talked about a programme of short, informal talks in the new year - watch this space for announcements on that.
So... who would you like to come to Tooting Green Drinks to give short talks? What themes could we cover?
AND!!!! We talked up Dipa's secret, tasty idea... but you really will have to wait to hear more about that one... yum!
Green Drinks is an International idea to create informal spaces for discussion and getting to know like minded people in your area.
We host a Tooting Green Drinks on the third Wednesday of every month at The Selkirk Pub, 60 Selkirk Street, SW17 0ES between 7.30pm and 9.30pm

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Building on the 2016 Tooting Foodival at home - home-made pasta recipe, plus seed sprouting

There are new posts on our Foodival blog (click on that link) which follow up on two of the fun events at this year's Tooting Foodival: celebrating local food together as a community.
One post gives Minestra Supper Club's recipe based on Elisabetta's pasta-making demonstration.
The other shares all the how-tos of our grow-you-own home seed-sprouting crusade.
Do enjoy both. Maybe you can combine the two...?
Let us know how you get on!

Both these posts celebrate local Foodival themes which have been London-wide campaigns in September: Urban Food Fortnight and Zero Waste Week
Click for more information.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Foodival Top Tooting Cook entries - wow!

Feast your eyes on these amazing photos of the #Foodival2016 Top Tooting Cook entries!  All grown principally from donated home grown produce. More details on recipes and prize winners will follow ... but I thought you'd like to see this hot off the press!

Thank you to Charles for these stunning shots.  There'll be some from the Soup Disco photo booth soon too!

What if London were a National Park City?

Next week Transition Tooting will join 100s of others at the Royal Festival Hall to make London the world’s first National Park City.

Hosted by comedian Josie Long, there is a great line-up of speakers. Former Gatton School (in Tooting) Headteacher Rifat Batool, now Principal of The Olive School, Birmingham will be talking about her experiences of outdoor learning and creativity with children at our Tooting Community Garden.

Come along on September 21st;  bring a group of family, friends, Tooting neighbours and colleagues. For tickets visit the Southbank website Tickets start at just £10.

Help make London the world’s first National Park City. A city where people and nature are better connected. A city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. Together we can make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. Together we can make London a National Park.

Tooting's Fishponds Fields
Entertaining, provocative and proactive,The Making of a National Park City will be an evening to remember.

...and while we're talking about London's green spaces,  fantastic news that Tooting's own Fishponds Fields is open for public use for a trial period into October.  More details and times here ...

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Foodival, Top Tooting Cook, Soup Disco

Don't miss the Foodival 2016 Soup Disco at Tooting Market this evening. Low food mile sustainable veg peeled, chopped and cooked up into a community feast to the sound of classic dance beats.  You couldn't make it up!  Well you can if you come tonight ...

Optional checklist: peeler, glitter, apron, platform shoes, wig, chopping board, friend, inner Travolta

Before that, check out the Top Tooting Cook competition from 4pm at Mushkil Aasaan.  Still time to plunder the vegetable patch (or your neighbour's!) and enter. Cooking demos and taster dishes from Minestra.  All sorts of other malarkey.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Foodival 2016 Celebrating Locally Grown Produce

Foodival Growers
Foodival Day One brought a glut of locally grown fruit and veg for the Top Tooting Cook competition and tomorrow's Soup Disco at Tooting Market. See the Foodival blog for more. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

#Foodival2016 starts tomorrow! Join in, donate produce and celebrate local grow-&-cook-your-own

The Tooting #Foodival2016 starts Saturday 10th from 1300-1700

This is the ninth year we've run the Tooting Foodival, and every year we call out to local gardeners for home-grown donations.

Every year we're amazed at the range and quality of what gets grown locally by beginners and experts in backyards or pots, on balconies or allotments.
Maybe you took part in our Growing Tooting classes in spring 2016?
Maybe you have been growing your own all your life.

Here's our 'I Grew This' poster of locally-grown donations at the 2015 Foodival.

To contribute your locally-grown donations, please select something you've grown which you'd like to share and bring it along to Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday 10th Sept. There are lots of other activities at the venue on Saturday.
  • After 4:00 pm on Saturday 10th, local cooks taking part in the Top Tooting Cook event will be able to choose produce from what's on offer. There will be the potential for wonderful dishes - maybe with surprising ingredients that the cooks had not anticipated using before seeing the selection. Top Tooting Cook will be judged on Sunday afternoon at Mushkil Aasaan.
  • Then we'll store remaining vegetables overnight for use in the Soup Disco cook-up with music and dancing on Sunday evening in Tooting Market.
  • Any surplus will be donated to the Battersea Canteen supper clubs being run by the London Cooking Project and Tooting's own Be Enriched. The clubs aim to reduce food waste and feed those in need.  And to CARAS, who run clubs and support services for refugees and asylum seekers in south west London.
A huge Jerusalem Artichoke!
And small ones - but with big leaves!

Whatever you decide to bring along, donating is all about celebrating local food and wanting to share that enthusiasm with others.
It's about sharing Tooting's flavour, diversity and interest! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Soup Disco ... What Are You Wearing?

This year's Foodival culminates in a Soup Disco in Tooting Market on Sunday night at 7pm. What are you wearing and what veg are you chopping?  Send us a picture inspired by veg and disco (see above!). Bring a peeler and your dancing shoes, DJ till 10 pm, Unwined and Graveney Gin will both be open, too.

As usual the Tooting festival of sustainable food starts with donations of locally grown produce at Mushkil Aasaan on Saturday 10th, where you can enter the Top Tooting Cook and Ugly Vegetable Competitions, learn about bee-keeping and sample some taster dishes.

All the info you need is HERE on the Foodival blog.  We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Counting Down To Foodival

This year's Foodival is nearly upon us as next weekend we will run our 9th annual celebration of all things local and sustainable in Tooting's food culture.  For the latest news head to the Foodival blog.

As usual we will be collecting donations of locally grown fruit and vegetables at Mushkil Aasaan on Saturday and there'll be a chance to enter the Top Tooting Cook and Ugly Vegetable competitions, as well as check out many other food related goings on.
On Sunday we have the truly marvellous concept of a Soup Disco where you can help wash, chop and cook all the fantastic locally grown, donated produce to make an enormous soup, before cutting up the dance floor with your vegetable-themed moves!  

Other dance styles will be perfectly acceptable and our resident DJ will be keeping you grooving till 10pm.  We hope to see you there!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Celebrating Local Food Together as a Community: Preview of #Foodival2016 on the 10th & 11th Sept

We're very excited about TTT's ninth annual Tooting Foodival which is all about Celebrating Local Food Together as a Community. 
We're planning the details now - here's a snapshot preview.
Plenty more information to come later on.

'Local food plus local community' is the weekend's theme:

I Grew This! (Foodival 2015)
Saturday 10th Sept activities run from from 1pm to 5pm and are based at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW. 

On Saturday we welcome all local growers to share and donate some of their local produce - maybe a bag of potatoes, or a single chilli pepper...whatever you would like to share.

Mark where you've been growing on our Growing Tooting Map.

We'll take your photo proudly holding your fruit or veg for our 2016 I Grew This! poster and we'll display what's shared.

Where will all this wonderful donated local produce go?

Top Tooting Cook! 
First, donated produce goes to anyone who wants to enter our fun Top Tooting Cook event. Take some produce or recipes away (or cook with what you have grown at home), and bring back what you make on Sunday for the light-hearted judging and more at Mushkil Aasaan from 4 to 7pm.
The TTC hat - not the only prize you might win
Show off your culinary skills using fruit and veg grown locally and you could win a prize... and the coveted title "Top Tooting Cook"!
Find out all about the competition here and get in touch with Belinda to enter.
For inspiration, look at these delicious dishes - sorrel soup, risotto with cavolo nero, fava bean toast with egg - cooked by visitors to the Tooting Community Garden, using produce picked that day!
Thanks Naomi, Charles and Janine.

Soup Disco!

Second, local produce donated on Saturday will go to Sunday evening's Soup Disco party from 7pm to 10pm in Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street SW17 0SN.

From 7pm, we will all starting chopping the veg to make our delicious Tooting soups for a shared meal. And throughout this collective cook-up, our top local DJ will be spinning the tunes so you can show off your dance skills as well as your kitchen skills.

Beginners welcome throughout... fabulous outfits very welcome!
Plus, some Graveney Gin and Unwined will also be open for business - it's going to be a memorable night!

Other activities for all ages on Saturday at Mushkil Aasaan from 1pm to 5pm will include:

Celebrate reducing waste and having fun by displaying your Ugly Veg. Or as it's called in the USA: Produce with Personality.

Learn about urban beekeeping, taste SW12 and SW17 honey and get close to bees. Local beekeeper Richard is bringing a demonstration hive of live bees. He can chat about bees & honey - and about sources of info for planting and gardening to encourage bees and other pollinators.

Sprouted teff seed
Practice being a successful home farmer by sprouting seeds - easy and delicious. Fresh seeds sprouted at home only have to travel a few inches 'from plot to plate'
NO food miles!

Play our fun low carbon living games including exploring food's footprint and much more.

Get hands-on and creative with crafts linked to food and the Soup Disco - all ages can come and enjoy making.

In the garden...
Explore the local network of community gardens which can offer you fun, exercise, friendship, time outdoors in nature and a place to grow healthy local food.
Plus, you will pick up plenty of growing advice and encouragement to grow your own fresh food on window sill, a balcony or in a front garden.

Discuss the other local sustainability projects that Transition Tooting facilitates with many different partners, find out how to get involved - and we welcome your suggestions and new ideas.

All welcome to #Foodival2016!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Dragon Bean bench in Tooting Community Garden: the grand opening

Yesterday we officially opened the Dragon Bean bench at the Community Garden Summer Picnic!

Gentle finishing touches last week
For the past twelve months Fio Adamson has been guiding a participatory sculpture project in the Community Garden.

About to cut the ribbon & unveil the bench

Now, can Fio rest....?

Working with many pieces of the American Oak felled on the Furzedown Rec, the Furzedown Oak Project was born.
Over this past year around 80 people of all ages have worked with Fio to imagine, draw, visualise, carry, carve and advise on what's evolved into the Dragon Bean bench.

Our Summer Picnic celebrated the Dragon Bean and good company in the Garden: we had delicious food, made popcorn and cooked potatoes on a fire, enjoyed volcano kettle tea, picked brambles, weeded the leeks, painted beautiful signs for the vegetable plots...

Lots more picnic photos on the Community Garden facebook pages

We're so lucky to have the use of the Community Garden land, loaned to us by Tooting charity Mushkil Aasaan. It means we can facilitate community projects like this and our outdoor learning with schools. Plus we can enjoy the Community Garden sessions with anyone who wishes to come, every Sunday.

We've opened the space on over 225 Sundays since 2011.

Why 'Dragon Bean'? Come and have a look!
The sculpture-bench is ready to sit or lie on in the Tooting Community Garden on Sundays from 11:00 to 1:00 at 5 North Drive SW16 1RN.
We post any updates on our Facebook pages. All welcome!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Two inspiring & successful sustainability projects!

Sharing two inspiring projects! 
Both projects aim to demonstrate and create something that is beautiful and functional, creating results which please people and show that sustainability is achievable and attractive now.

One is in Tooting: a front garden restoration that takes into account affordability and biodiversity.
One is north London-based: an bamboo bicycle enterprise which is imaginative and practical.

Tooting Front Garden Restoration
The project has been a partnership between a housing association, residents, project leader and a professional team including Community Gardener Rose deFalbe. The intention was to carry out the restoration in a way that is participatory, affordable, adaptable, biodiverse and with zero environmental footprint. There's a full description of the project downloadable here.
Here's the result photographed earlier this week. 37 Manville Road - go and have a look as it's a beautiful sight!

In April the restoration was Commended at the Wandsworth Design Awards. Here's the team in front of their display with the Mayor of Wandsworth who gave out the awards.

Bamboo Bicycle Club
Engineer James Marr has established this business designing cycle frames out of bamboo (imported at the moment) and hemp (grown in Yorkshire). All the details online here.

A unique element is that BBC sells no finished bikes at all: the new owners and riders make the frames and fit out the bikes themselves. James want to offer cycles that are sustainable, recyclable and designed collaboratively according to need.
As a consumer, the maker-rider is in charge and makes all the decisions. Each maker practices or learns new skills.

'His and hers' road bikes
Over 200 have been designed and built in all shapes and sizes (look at their Hall of Frames) - either from kits at home or on weekend courses where the output is a bamboo cycle frame that you then fit out with the drive train, wheels, handlebars, etc. Track bikes, tandems, balance bikes...and a new project in Africa where farmers will make their own bikes that can each carry 100kg.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Tooting Community Garden Summer Picnic 7th Aug

All welcome to join us for an informal and free family picnic on Sunday 7th August from 1- 3 pm at the Community Garden at 5 North Drive SW16 1RN.

At 2pm we'll unveil the oak sculpture that many hands have been carving with Fio's support since June '15

Come over from 11am if you would also like to do some gardening!

The picnic is going to be a simple and enjoyable family get-together, and a time to chat and enjoy the garden. Please bring whatever you wish to eat, plus some to share.

We'll provide tea-making with the volcano kettle - and there's mint, lemon balm and more to sample.
It would be very helpful if you could bring a mug for tea.

We'll prepare a bed of hot charcoal. Try our special long-handled popcorn maker...!

At 2pm we'll unveil the oak sculpture 

No alcohol please, out of respect for Mushkil Aasaan the social charity who lends us the garden land. Thanks for your consideration.

And no need to RSVP: just come along.

We'll post any late picnic notices on the Tooting Community Garden facebook pages.

See you on Sunday!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Restart Party comes to Tooting!

Do you have 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!

Tuesday 9th August from 7 - 9pm

Restart Parties are the antidote to the thow-away society, why chuck out your electrical and electronic stuff when they could easily last longer?  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!
Here is a great description of a previous event in Tooting to get an idea about what goes on...

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

More info about Restart including details of regular skillshares at

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Outdoor Learning and doing with NCS Challenge

On Sunday 17th July, Jeni Walker and Richard Couldrey continued with the 4th year of our annual pattern of work with the National Citizen Service through "The Challenge" - a personal development and social integration programme offered to 15 - 17 year olds which includes a project focused day with a Charity or Community Group.

Emer Clark, our principle contact and Challenge Mentor, reflected that interaction with Transition Town Tooting challenges the participants to step out their comfort zones and enables them to make a contribution to a local community, which is a huge part of the overall aims of NCS Challenge.

For us, this project chimes loudly with our aim to work with Young People of all ages - from the Reception Class of Gatton Primary to a poster competition with Graveney Secondary School for Foodival last year, to name but 2.

The 11 participants of this years NCS Challenge with the results of their labours!
Read on to find out what happened on the day...