Late summer swarms…

Thanks to some local contacts Bungay Community Bees hived five swarms in July, we lost one due to being queenless and one that left the following day, but three remain. We also had two emerge from our National hive at Barsham, it’s all got to be good for the genetic diversity of the local bee population. Here  are some pictures of us hiving some of the incoming swarms:

Alburgh: using a skep that came with the swarm – the bees were so calm in this I’m determined to get some/make some for our own use before next year. It housed the swarm perfectly and it was so easy to gently drop them into the hive….


Earsham: A late call as I was on my way home from Bungay Beehive Day – with the demonstration hive in my car – led to a rapid assembly operation and a shook swarm as the light was rapidly fading…

Bungay: A swarm housed in a nuc box that was too small needed more space – so we were happy to offer them one of our remaining horizontal top bar hives…

Flixton: we have moved the apiary up to the top of the hill near the newly planted pond and wildflower meadow. This swarm came from Harleston where they were rather conveniently gathered on the edge of bush in the centre of a lawn at head height. Mike and Ollie got dressed up in their suits to collect them while I wandered around taking some pictures. Unfortunately one of the bees on guard duty thought I was a menace and got me on the scalp…. Anyway, they are now happy in Flixton.

Master Composters!

We’ve got a couple of local Master Composters coming to the next Give and Take Day (22nd September 10 – 1). They’re volunteers who encourage people in their local community to start composting at home and offer support to people who are already home composting and may be having difficulties or need encouragement. The scheme is supported by Garden Organic, here’s how they describe the work:

Master Composters

Can-o-Worms wormery

Master Composters are volunteers who encourage and support householders with composting at home. These volunteers come from every age group and a wide variety of backgrounds and this helps with the scheme being so effective – Master Composters can reach ‘parts that other compost promoting activities cannot reach’ –  they talk to their friends, family and neighbours, write in their parish newsletter, attend village fairs and it has even been know for a Master Composter to hold a compost-themed children’s birthday party!

Brandling worms

Apart from having the opportunity to enthuse about compost, there are many benefits of becoming a Master Composter. In the words of one volunteer:

I have really enjoyed being a Master  Composter,  I have improved my confidence through talking to people at events and have even been advising about composting to work colleagues. I have found people are interested in the subject, to cut down on waste and improve their gardens.’

Master Composters really can make a difference in changing people’s attitudes and behaviour and they are an essential part of the national strategy to increase environmental awareness and to reduce the amount of waste that just gets put in the rubbish bin.

Garden Organic has been involved with setting up Master Composter schemes, training Master Composters and developing resources for Master Composters for several years. Each Master Composter scheme is run on a regional basis, usually supported by the County Council. To find out more information on Master Composter schemes and if there is a scheme near you, have a look at our dedicated Master Composter website.

Karen Cannard – A Zero Waste Lifestyle in a Nutshell

At tomorrows Give and Take Day, as well as Master Composters, County Council Recyclers, Jake Kerr from Canarchy and representatives from Ditchingham based Emmaus and Waveney Freegle, we’ll be joined by Karen Cannard, creator of the Rubbish Diet.

Karen is a zero waste hero, inspired some years back by a local campaign she resolved to reduce her household waste – she did far better than she had expected and realised that others could easily do the same. She began writing a blog, speaking at events, popping up on the radio – encouraging people to reduce their waste.

She’ll be at the Give and Take Day talking about waste reduction and encouraging us to go on our own Rubbish Diets. Below we’re reproducing Karen’s eight simple steps to bin slimming:



If you’re keen to reduce your household waste but don’t know where to start, why not consider the quick start guide below and follow your very own Rubbish Diet plan. Just remember to regularly weigh-in and watch that bin get slimmer by the week.

STEP 1: Set the date! Find an appropriate date when you will take part in your very own Zero Waste Week. During that week your challenge will be to avoid buying or throwing away anything that can’t be composted or recycled. A week with zero waste to landfill! Just make sure you’ve got about 8 weeks to prepare for your challenge. The longer you’ve got, the easier it will be. And tell your friends, so you can gather support. You could use your efforts to fundraise for a good cause, such as Comic Relief in March. It’ll be a lot easier than running a marathon and more pleasant than sitting in a bath of baked beans and you’re guaranteed a few laughs while you’re at it.

STEP 2: Weigh in! Eight weeks before your Zero Waste Week starts, measure your weeklyfortnightly landfill waste so you get a real understanding of what you’re up against and how badly you need to slim that bin! Estimate the cubic litres (based on the size of your bin) or put your rubbish on the weighing scales. Just be consistent as you’ll need to weigh-in every Bin Day to measure your progress and keep motivated towards your goal.

STEP 3: Analyse your rubbish! Look at what you throw away and work out the greatest offenders as a percentage of your waste. Then tackle them one by one.

STEP 4: Do your research! Even if you’re confident about what can be recycled in your area, phone your council for the latest information on kerbside facilities, recycling centres or bring-banks. If you prefer using the Internet look up the details at

STEP 5: Revamp your recycling system! You’ll need a system that is convenient and easy to use. An excellent range of sorting bins is available at, but if money is tight, you can create a well-organised solution with just boxes and bags.

STEP 6: Remember to recycle everything you can! Get to know your recycling labels and scour the shelves for products where the packaging can be easily recycled in your area. Swap products that can’t be recycled for those that can or find packaging that can easily biodegrade in your compost bin. Remember that polythene bags can be reused and when they wear out, most supermarkets will take them off your hands. TetraPak now has a carton recycling point in many areas of the UK as do Brita for the collection of its water cartridges. Drop things off on the way to work, share a rota with friends and neighbours, or swap items with family. Reuse what can’t be recycled.

STEP 7. Reduce everything else! Try some of the following ideas that can be incorporated into your daily lifestyle and watch your rubbish gradually disappear. Take each idea one step at a time and you’ll have a slimmer bin in no time at all.

  • Break free from Junk Mail! Cancel your catalogues, telephone directories and junk mail. For top tips, visit
  • Shop with waste in mind! Avoid packaging and buy loose where possible. Onya Weigh Bags are great for bagging up loose fruit and veg. Take your own containers for meat and dairy products and if you’re in London, make a trip to Unpackaged, which sells packaging-free produce. Lush sells unpackaged toiletries including shampoo bars, butter bars and deodorants. When going shopping remember your own bags, baskets or trolley bag and don’t forget to buy recycled products to help drive the demand for recyclates back into a closed loop economy. With resources piling up in warehouses this is more important than ever before.
  • Think reusable and refillable! When it comes to toiletries or cleaning products, look for things that can be refilled or reused. Microfibre cloths use water and don’t need chemicals at all. Eco balls are great for cutting down the laundry bills and for cleaning products try the Wiggly Wigglers refillable Ecover service, which it offers by post. Think about ditching disposable sanitary products for washable ones and if you’re looking for refillable cosmetics, try Naturisimo, which offers a great range of lipstick, mascara and powder refills. For the office, consider refilling your printer cartridges. Regular visits to Cartridge World could make you a huge saving.
  • Become an experimental cook! Turn your kitchen into a science lab and set yourself some mini-challenges. Try your hands at bread, pasta, pastry, jam or even yogurt. With a little practice. they’re all easier than you’d expect and just take time and a new routine and it will help ditch more packaging, even if it’s once in a while. Take lessons at your local college and you’ll soon be proficient. Londoners can also drop into Just Fresh Pasta for tips on how to pick up a few Italian skills and if you live in Somerset book up with the Magdalen Project to take part in one of Tracey Smith’s breadmaking courses (I’ve heard she’s very good).
  • Grow your own food! Even if it’s a pot of herbs on your windowsill, that’s fewer plastic packets heading for landfill! For instant garden packs try Natural Collection, Rocket Gardens or The Kitchen Garden Company and for an alternative to the plastic pot plant check out Hairy Pot Plants.
  • Reduce your food waste! Food waste left to rot in landfill generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23% more powerful than carbon dioxide. So work on cutting down your food waste. If convenient, shop more regularly and buy less food. Cook with friends and use up leftovers. Then freeze portions for another day. See for lots of inspiration.
  • Compost it! Even if you’ve just got a few containers, home composting is a great way of recycling your kitchen scraps into something nutritious for your plants. If you haven’t got much space think about a wormery. And there’s always a bokashi bin, which accepts fish and meat, then after a few weeks the contents can be added to your compost bin, wormery or dug into the ground. Another solution is the Green Cone, a food digester.
  • Plan it! Remember a zero waste lifestyle also applies when you’re out and about. So buy coffee in reusable cups and take a lunch-box to work. Plan a zero waste picnic without clingfilm or foil and use reusable containers instead.
  • Repair it! Don’t just throw something away if it’s broken. Take your shoes to the cobblers, your clothes to a tailor or get an electrician to fix your gadgets. And if it’s spares you need for your electricals, visit the online shop at espares.
  • Exchange it! Even if it’s broken don’t just dump it, give it away through exchange communities such as Freecycle or LETS bartering groups. Or if you need a few bucks, sell it at a boot fair or on eBay. Just be honest about its condition. Of course, there are always a whole host of charity shops that could do with your well cared-for goods in good condition.
  • Go Virtual! Avoid physical clutter by going digital. Read your newspaper online or download your favourite magazines at Magazinesondemand and Listen to books at or buy ebooks instead. Ditch CDs for digital downloads on itunes, emusic or napster. Or if you can cope with adverts try Accuradio for free. Find films on Sky or Freeview or download movies on demand from BT or Tesco’s new digital service. For those who enjoy PC games, dump the CD for downloads at Steam. And if you really don’t fancy the virtual option, there’s always your local library.
  • Go Rechargeable! Swap your disposable batteries for rechargeable ones and buy rechargable gadgets instead. For inspiration visit the Centre for Alternative Technology and check out their online shop as well as Natural Collection and Nigel’s Eco Store.
  • Give Recycled Gifts! Buying recycled gifts may not directly reduce the size of your dustbin, but it helps keep materials out of landfill. And there are so many different products available there is something for everyone’s taste. For hand-crafted gifts try Eco Emporia and for a wonderful stationary range and some really funky chickens take a peek at Love Eco. EcoCentric also offers many a stylish gift for your delectation. And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, lots more ideas can be found at the Recycled Products Guide.

STEP 8: Finally enjoy your Zero Waste Week with ease! With so many things to think about, your Zero Waste Week will arrive before you know it. But if you’ve reduced your packaging, recycled what you’ve bought and composted your organic waste, you should find it much easier than you could have ever imagined. Just remember to weigh-in before you start and then once again at the end of the week. Then celebrate your successes in style. And if you’ve got some plastic bags, yogurt pots, or bottle tops that can’t be recycled locally, send them to the recycling angels at Polyprint and Impact Recycling.

By resolving to reduce your rubbish, you’ll be joining a popular trend. For inspiration visit My zero waste, Aiming-low, Zero Waist, jrzerowastechallenge and Home Zero Waste. There are also loads of other links in the sidebar that will give you plenty of options to consider.

And as for life thereafter. Well, there’s one thing that can be guaranteed…it will never be the same again….for you or indeed your bin.

[*Edits – this post was originally published in December 2008 and has been edited to remove the Christmas context as it can be applied to any time of the year]

Talking rubbish – Give and Take Day discussion with Jake Kerr – 22nd September, 11.30am

Processed and unprocessed cans

This autumn’s Give and Take Day at the Community Centre is going to be a little different from the others, As well as the main room for swapping free stuff and enjoying refreshments at our Happy Mondays cafe,  we have an additional “info room” where you can find out about all aspects of waste management. There will be several stalls  run by “rubbish” organisations from Freegle to Waveney District Council.  We are also delighted to welcome Karen Cannard of The Rubbish Diet and Jake Kerr from Canarchy who will instruct us all in the key essentials of personal and community recycling.

Jake Kerr explains how his crew tackle producer responsibility, but also show consumers how much waste we create and make us face our responsibility:

18-point recycling at Sunrise Off-grid Festival, 2012

Canarchy is direct action recycling. It couples many years of experience in the recycling industry with a long history of environmental activism. If you think the story is over when you shut your wheelie bin then think again. The multi billion pound waste industry and local and national government are only interested in the money this industry generates , not how the final destination of the waste stream impacts on the environment. In fact you are paying them to take away valuable resources and then pollute the environment with them. With the building of the new incinerators it’s becoming more profitable for councils to actually recycle less.

Canarchy runs recycling schemes at festivals where we are given groups of young volunteers to work with. We try and use recycling and the politics of waste to educate them into environmentalism and to inspire them to do something about it themselves. We also run the recycling at local community events . We find that people are much more open to our message after they have seen us in action. We walk the walk and then we talk the talk.

We also are planning to use recycling and other practical green skills,ie compost toilets , alternative power etc, to promote the Transition message into local government agendas via their own Community Resilience initiatives. This is emergency planning that utilises community skills.

If you want to find out what happens to your rubbish after it leaves your bin and what you can do about it, don’t miss Jake’s talk with Q&A session afterwards. See you there!

Plants for Life #9 – Autumn Berry Tonics and Tinctures – 23rd September, 3pm

Do join Plants for Life in Bungay Library on September 23rd at 3pm, as we take a look at (at least) three of the native, local trees and bushes which provide berries as medicine and food.

We’ll be talking about hawthorn, elder and sea buckthorn specifically and demonstrating how to make berry tinctures, but if you have any herbal tips or knowledge you’d like to share with people about berries and fruits, come along and join in.

This is the 9th in this year’s series of talks, walks and workshops on plants as medicine – the sessions are open to anyone and everyone, whether you know anything about the subject or not. Look forward to seeing you there. Mark Watson

Plants for Life 2012 – a Sustainable Bungay project

All enquiries: Mark Watson 01502 722419 or email

Pig Club – Work Day: Sunday 16th September

If you want to join our Pig Club do get in touch with Dano (details at end), we’re sharing the pigs by the quarter and a single share is likely to be around £50 (you can opt for more than one quarter if you fancy). We’re not just looking for people who want to eat the pigs either – quite a number have got in touch to say that they’d like to just meet the pigs and get involved from time to time – that’s fine, we’d love to have a big group involved.

We have the initial set up costs (fences etc) funded by East Feast via Dano and, though we’re not sure exactly how much the pigs will cost to keep we’re anticipating that £50 / quarter pig should be close (potential members need to be aware that it could be slightly more – better to join the Pig Club because you want to get involved with and better understand animal husbandry not for cheap meat.

On Sunday 16th. 1.30-5.30pm pig fencing is going up at Lodge Farm, Ilketshall st. Lawrence in readiness for our first pigs. Please feel free to come and help, find out about the pig club and, if you like, join up. All you need to bring is a smile and a willingness to get stuck in but if you have any of the following it’d be great (again do get in touch with Dano):

Tools: brush cutter, scythes, sledge hammer, cakes
Materials needed: wooden posts, pig arc building equip: strapping, roofing materials including corrugated metal, pallets.
Still to do: 

  • VAN DRIVERS: to pick up straw bales from Wisset
  • Pick up Fencing from Atlantic.
  • Finalise rota
  • Get some feed.

We have 9 definitive members and this probably means getting 3 pigs – but there is space for another if more people come forward. We have seen some lovely large black pigs the other day… (see the picture of them taken a month or so ago). We hope to pick them up as soon as possible!

Dan Wheals
077 177 933 47

Screening: Seeds of Freedom

This coming Friday 14th September 7.30pm at Bacon’s Farm,St Michael south Elmham ,NR35 1NF :

Seeds of freedom is a 30minute film produced by the Gaia foundation and the African Biodiversity Network

If there is one song that i sing with the children at nursery that they never forget and always want to sing it’s the one about planting a seed and watching a flower grow!
Who could blame them? It is the most wonderous magical thing. Yet it is difficult to imagine what kind of landscape our children will be looking out on in their lifetime consdidering what planting a seed and growing food signifies for different people across the world and the impact their judgment today will have on the future.

“Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro -biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture.

Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system.”

Watch the trailer here:

As this is a short film i am hoping to show a series of shorter films about Soil entitled “Sonatas of the soil” and /or “Symphony of the soil”.From a portrait of a Winemaker to the story of a biodynamic farming community in the desert in Egypt .This is To Be Confirmed!

I hope you can join us.A small donation is appreciated to cover the cost of the film.Please get in touch if you need help with directions and please use the google group to arrange Lift sharing.
(If you have any doubts about finding the barn please ring early on as i have no signal on the night and it isn’t that easy to find!)

Produce Exchange, September 16th

As part of our ongoing “Abundance” work we are holding another autumn produce exchange at the Library Courtyard on Sunday 16th September, 11am to 1pm. More details below.

There is an annual sister event in the Spring: Give and Grow. Both occasions encourage use of the permanent swap area in the courtyard for free exchange of anything garden-related. There’s also an Abundance table at most SB events.

There are obvious benefits to satisfying one person’s “famine” with another’s “feast” and avoiding waste. And these events also provide a social occasion to meet friends and neighbours. But we are generally trying to encourage the gift economy within our community, to strengthen bonds and provide a support network ready for when the conventional money-system falls apart (as is normal towards the end of a debt-deflationary cycle like the present).