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

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! 
Firstly, 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!
Secondly, 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 come along and starting chopping and cooking Tooting soup...then we'll cook it up together for a shared meal...and segue into great music and dancing until 10pm. Beginners welcome throughout...cutting the veg and cutting the mustard.
Plus some enterprises in the Market will be open for business - it's going to be a memorable night! More information to come soon.

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...

Friday, 15 July 2016

Growing Tooting finale - the 8th weekend of TTT's local grow-your-own classes completes the series

In the final local growing sessions in Balham, Tooting and Wandsworth we celebrated progress and looked at what comes next now the programme is complete. 

We discussed harvesting and preparing food (and bringing any surpluses to the Tooting Foodival), and asked about what the participants might need next in their growing journey. 
Suggestions so far: 'local gardeners' question time', a Facebook group, occasional meetings, visiting each others' growing spaces.

Plus, local community gardens including Tooting Community Garden and Wendelsworth Community Garden can offer support.

Exploring the herb bed
With the Balham group, Rose identified plants and explained how the herb bed at Tooting Community Garden is managed, in particular how foliage is cut and left lying to suppress weeds and help prepare the ground for sowing - and the group raised a glass to celebrate.

Fresh produce laid out on the Eatwell pie chart
With the Tooting group, Belinda took us through the new Public Health England Eatwell Guide. The Guide illustrates how to achieve eating a healthy dietary balance of good food - including what we can grow in our gardens.

Our 8th Growing Tooting Handout is available for all: please click here. To see all 8 handouts, and to read each fortnightly blog post, click on GROWING TOOTING in the quick links above.  
Hats off to Martin for writing the handouts and facilitating the delivery of Growing Tooting so brilliantly! And to the others who co-facilitated: Eleanor, Belinda, Rose, Jeni and more.

In summary the Growing Tooting series of 30 local workshops reached 24 people who came to each session, another 24 who came to some of each local series, and another two dozen who are interested for another time.  70+ people are connected in a new way to local growing and each other. 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Update on Border Control - Gold Medal garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace.

On the 30th June CARAS Youth Club members travelled to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show to help with the build of the Border Control Concept Garden. It was a fascinating visit - to see the TTT blog post, click here.
Now the garden is finished and open to the public. The Youth Club paid a second visit this week to see it.
In the past week there has been a lot of interest in Border Control. Although we don't claim any responsibility we are thrilled...
The garden won an RHS Gold Medal, and also won the Award for the best of the ten Concept Gardens. 
We're proud because taking a very small part in the garden has helped us spread the word about the reality of refugees' experiences and helped us be confident that our Rooting in Tooting project with CARAS is valuable. The visit has given fascinating experiences for Youth Club members as a group about encountering new aspects of Britain, and created and opportunity for them to explore and communicate their own responses.

The Evening Standard covered Border Control again yesterday, including an interview with one of the CARAS Youth Club members - you can read the article here

Finally, there are a few free tickets available for the Hampton Court Show, for tomorrow (Sunday) - the last day.  
These tickets have to be collected in Tooting today, Saturday 9th July, before 4pm.
This is a very last minute-offer so excuse the rush - if you would like to have a ticket or two, email as soon as you can to TTT at and we will explain how to collect.
Go and visit Border Control in person!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Tour de Tooting in the Press

Delighted that last weekend's Tour de Tooting makes the front page of the Wandsworth Guardian this week!
With this report on page 3
And this is Emma Brazell's short reportage film of the day on youtube.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

3 current and vivid research projects about climate change and UK communities - Tooting included

In 2015 TTT helped facilitate a research project by the University of Westminster all about the impact of urban heatwaves - for the details please see past blog posts by clicking here on Urban Heat.

TTT worked with the researchers and with many local partners in Tooting: voluntary and community groups plus borough-level and statutory bodies.

The funder for this research project is The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and yesterday TTT took part in a workshop comparing the early research results of three JRF-funded projects.  
Each of them explores the links between climate change and UK communities and households. Each aims to give new information to local and national policy makers.
Participants included national bodies such as Public Health England & Defra, & the Cabinet Office, local authorities and universities.

An overall view? That there are synergies of relationships between all the topics outlined below..and that communities with local knowledge and energy have an opportunity to get involved and contribute.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Tour de Tooting is THIS WEEKEND

Wheels are turning down in Tooting town, the inaugural Tour de Tooting is barely a revolution away. We still need volunteers 12.30-3pm to help with road 'openings' for the parade. If you can help please EMAIL TTT

Once upon a time ... in a town called Tooting, there was big windmill whose sails had not turned for a very long time. A group of children got together and wondered - if they took to the streets asking everyone to create energy from their whistles, clicks, thumbs up, high fives and smiles ... could they get the sails to turn again? 
Who's this with decorated bike?

So they set off. As they were leaving they realised they'd forgotten two things! Some Corn - important for the windmill to grind, to make bread for all and some Water to grow the corn. Just as they were leaving an Elephant appeared to help them gather water from the River and off they went. Find out what happened to them along the way! 
Visions of Wheels - Dominic, Lucy & Richard
Join their Grand Parade of Wheels on Sunday July 3rd - departing Franciscan School at 2pm (gathering at 1pm). After weeks of workshops and preparations, the brightly coloured rickshaws are being stored in a church, a windmill is having its sails attached and a bus diversion from the Tooting Bus Turning Circle has been secured. 
Alice testing out a rickshaw
Cars and buses are being asked kindly to budge over a bit for a short while as a Pelatons of Pedalistas gather at Franciscan School from 1pm on Sunday July 3rd to help this Tooting story on its way: a grand community celebration of the people-powered wheels in our lives making good change in our town. Wheels are a symbol of change: one of the greatest of human inventions and associated with liberation and freedom. Come with your wheels to reinvent them! We need your wheeled energy to turn the sails. For more info CONTACT US

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Rooting in Tooting project: CARAS Youth Club members explore 'Border Control' show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show

For over a year TTT has been facilitating Rooting in Tooting project activities with diverse groups of all ages via the Tooting charity CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers).

Yesterday we accompanied a group from the CARAS Youth Club to explore the build of the Border Control show garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show which opens on 5 July.
Not 'herbaceous borders'.... the garden is aiming to illustrate the physical and emotional challenges and successes faced by refugees: goals, barriers, borders, setbacks, surprises, hopes and fears.

The show garden is the creation of 2 designers Tom Massey and John Ward, and supported by the UN Refugee Agency. Thanks to you all for the hospitality and discussions!

Photo: Paul Wu UNHCR
The young people met Mark Tran from The Guardian, and here is a link so you can read his article published today, titled Hampton Court Palace flower show to highlight plight of refugees.

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

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! 

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!

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