A Manifesto for Change

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Do you share the values of caring for people and planet, not just chasing money? We can build a ‘global family’ that does this, with local groups linked regionally and globally for mutual support. Explore what this might mean for you. Is this the next step for the Transition Movement? Read the attached
‘Manifesto for Change’ and give your views.

Gary will be talking at Green Drinks on Thursday September 3rd, 7:30 in the Green Dragon.

Dr Gary Alexander is the author of “eGaia, Growing a peaceful, sustainable Earth through communications”, was a Trustee of the Transition Network, and is helping to set up an English National Hub for the Transition Network.

Sustainable Nick – A souvenir issue

SB newsletter NICK PRINTThis week saw the departure of one of Sustainable Bungay’s key movers and shakers, Nick Watts. To celebrate his very active presence amongst the group and to wish him well the comms wing of SB wrote and produced a special newsletter as a farewell card. Here it is!

Welcome to our souvenir issue of Sustainable Nick! A newsletter all about our fellow community activist, the grassroots economist, winemaker and grower and sharpest notetaker on the block, Nick Watts.

After 20 years living in this fine old town, and six in the challenging new era of Transition culture, Nick is moving with his family to South Wales. In celebration here is our autumn edition that charts his unforgettable contribution to the group.

Nick burst into Sustainable Bungay our annual Christmas party in 2008, and almost immediately took up his notepad and become the Secretary for all our core group meetings. His organising skills and dynamic energies have been key to all our activities from Give and Take Days to Green Drinks to running the Greenpeace Tea Tent in 2011. He also seeded and led several innovative new projects (see below) and inspired many folk to get involved.

Communicating the hidden worlds of finance however was what perhaps fired him the most. ‘Skintnick’ felt people really needed to know the facts around the fragile and illusory nature of our monetary system. His talk, A Tale of Two Curves – On the conspiracy of silence on natural limits and economic growth in June 2010 was a witty, full-on whistle-stop tour of economic history, and explored ways in which we might become resilient within the Transition framework and the local economy.

IMG_6654During 2011-12 when the Occupy movement had the world thinking about money in a new light, Nick was often to be found at the Occupy Norwich camp speaking about the radical changes needed in the global banking system. He also organised a thrilling nighttime march up to Norwich Castle to commemorate Robert Kett and the Norfolk uprising against the “hard-hearted elite” in 1549.

In an interview with co-chair Mark Watson, Nick explained how being involved with the Transition movement changed his life. “You become friends with people you’re working with on a common understanding, for a common good. Transition casts a different light on everything you do. You’re thinking in a bigger way about the systems that underpin our lives, but acting from where you are.

Image2084“You’re simplifying your life so you are less dependent on a high income, high energy use and the industrial food system. Peak Oil presents the very real possibility of these fossil-fuelled ways of life being taken away. I see it as a responsibility, especially if you have children, to take it seriously.

“None of knows exactly what is on the cards for the future – but our bet (6-4 favourite) is that Sustainable Nick will make the valley he is headed for a greener, more switched on and joyful place.

One thing is for sure: we will all miss him here in low-carbon Bungay. Thanks for everything Nick and happy moving!

Images: On the move: Nick with the all-important chair, Give and Take Day, 2011; making medicinal raspberry wine, Plants for Life workshop, 2012.

Happy Mondays

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Food is never far from Sustainable Bungay’s collective heart and from the off our events have been accompanied by homemade cakes, seasonal soups and even our local take on tapas. But it was Nick who suggested we should turn eating into the main event.

Like a lot of good ideas Happy Monday was dreamt up in the pub – it was to be a regular meal demonstrating much of what SB is all about; supporting the local economy, working co-operatively, and celebrating farmers and gardeners in and around Bungay.

Unlike a lot of ideas discussed over a pint this one has grown into a very real and successful venture – thanks in no small part to Nick, who having come up with the idea, organised the first meal (a pie and mash night) in May 2011.

33 Happy Mondays later and almost 2000 meals have left the kitchen since that pub chat. Nick has been involved with every one of them; cooking, supplying home-grown vegetables, buying local produce and demonstrating his formidable washing-up skills. We are now left with a wonderful legacy for the Community Kitchen the future. Cheers Nick!

IMG_4445On the shelf

As a one-time booksearcher and keen to keep folk abreast of the thinking around peak oil, climate change and economic downturn, Nick devised a special lending shelf at Bungay Library. Over 50 book, as well as printed documents on everything from dig gardening to the debt crisis, were available to anyone who was interested. The Library has since disbanded the section and the books are now available for sale. An invaluable resource for people looking at the bigger picture. Green and Transition titles will be available at Happy Mondays on 19th October(see Simon Bloom)

In brief 

IMG_2179-300x225In 2010 Nick took the lead in creating the Bungay Library Community Garden. In January Sustainble Bungay held a permaculture course taught by Graham Burnet off Spiral Seed. Their mission: transforming the bare brick courtyard into a flourishing showcase garden. Working to the collaborative design Nick co-ordinated a team of volunteers, who built raised beds and filled them with donated soil and compost, plants and trees, as well as installed rainwater butts and a composting bin. The Gardem opened the following year with a great celebration has since hosted dozens of events, including the bi-annual Give and Grow plant and produce swaps, also organised by Nick. It’s now a hub for many of SB’s activities and a peaceful and sustainble green space for all the community to enjoy.

for-dad-204NR35 was another plant-based enterprise devised by SB’s green-fingered entrepreneur. Based on Bungay’s postcode the NR35 (‘Natural Resources’ 35) group explore “how to use our skills, knowledge and labour to generate an income by sustainably managing/harvesting the resources which are wildly abundant around our rural market town.” The results include the harvesting and distributing of fruit and vegetable gluts, some of which are supplied to local restaurants and grocers, play area regeneration, dead hedge making and building a communal firewood store.

Tea with Everything; Nick, Margaret and Charlotte at the SB Tea Tent, Greenpeace Fair, 2011The knowledge: Nick (and cat) at Bungay Community Library party, January 2013; Quartermaster’s stores: Nick and fellow members of NR35 with firewood stash, October 2012

Green Drinks – Give and Take Fashion – Tuesday 4th March

knitting 2The fashion and fabrics business is one of the largest and most polluting industries  on the planet.  How can we have a more sustainable relationship with the people and plants who make our clothes and other materials?

At this month’s Green Drinks, ex-fashion editor and curator of this year’s Dye Garden Project, Charlotte Du Cann, will be looking at ways we can individually  and collectively ‘downshift the wardrobe’, including running sewing circles, clothes swaps and Give and Take Days. Do come along and join in the conversation.

Meanwhile here is a great article on textiles  published in our winter issue of Transition Free Press.

Textiles in Transition

by William Lana

Textiles is a truly global industry. In many ways it was the starting point of the industrialisation of the world, kicked off in the 18th and 19th centuries by Britain’s cotton industry and trade. Labour-intensive garment production was one of the earliest to adopt the ‘logic’ of globalisation and in the last 50 years has been moving from the high-wage countries to lower and lower wage countries in a so-called race to the bottom…

The globalisation of the textile industry has meant that companies have shifted focus away from production and instead ‘bigged-up’ brand and marketing.  Production is merely supply a management issue. This has led to a systemic exploitation of workers, including excessive hours, lack of job security, poverty wages, ill-health and denial of trade union rights.

To a transitioner this feels very unsatisfactory. We want to know where the raw materials have been grown, raised or made. We want to know what the energy input has been, how far the garment has come, and what toxic outputs have been created through its production. Who has made it and under what conditions?  Quite apart from the concern that our bum doesn’t look big in it.

When we opened our Greenfibres shop in the mid 1990’s I remember some people walking by, saying “Organic textiles?! You don’t eat your socks!”. Apart from being incorrect (60% of the cotton harvest is cotton seed used for animal feed and vegetable oil) it made me realise just how disconnected we are from our textiles. They are all around us (literally), internationally employ over 26 million people (not including over 100 million farmers who grow cotton and other materials), and yet we have a very distant relationship to them.

sewing-sessiontara-et-alasdairHow far have we come in 20 years?  Hmmm…. not terribly.  I’m heartened to see the real growth of the make and mend movement, that £13 million worth of organic textiles were sold in the UK in 2012 and that documentaries about the industry (such as Dirty White Gold investigating the high suicide rate of Indian cotton farmers). But it still feels like early days. Who’s asking questions about energy use?  (one t-shirt requires approx. 1.7 kg of fossil fuel and generates approx. 4 kg of CO2). Can we even return to a less energy intensive textile industry? Who remembers how to ret or scutch flax?  Where are the businesses who know how to process these fibres?  Why is 95% of the cotton grown in the US from GM seed?

So what if we wanted to start bringing fibres and fabrics back home, what might that look like?  Well, for starters …

  • we’d get busy planting some hemp (and make it easier to get a licence – mine took 18 months)
  • we’d re-introduce basic sewing into the primary school curriculum
  • we’d pass legislation requiring historical information to be included on the barcode of garments, e.g. where the raw materials came from, and where the garment was made (a pair of Lee jeans can travel 40,000 miles from field to shelf).

Meanwhile what can the average transitioner do to side-step fast fashion?  We can swap clothes with friends, purchase outerwear from charity shops, and if we do buy new items (for example underwear) consider an ethical supplier. If you buy textiles that you love and respect, you’re much less likely to add them to the 3 million ton annual pile which ends up in our bins.  In a nutshell, we should be buying fewer textiles, of better quality, which can be mended.  Now back to my tasty organic cotton socks.

William Lana co-founded the organic textile company Greenfibres in 1996 and is a trustee of Transition Network. He was Chair of the Soil Association’s Organic Textile Standards Committee from 2001-2012 and helped found the Organic Trade Board in 2008.

For further reading: John Thackera on Routledge’s upcoming Handbook on Fashion and Sustainability http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-07/a-whole-new-cloth-politics-and-the-fashion-system

Charlotte Du Cann will be introducing The Dye Garden on Saturday 22nd March, 10am at the Bungay Community Library (before Sustainable Bungay’s Eighth Give and Take Day)

Images: girl at knitting workshop at Transition Kensal to Kilburn Reskilling Day by Jonathan Goldberg : Transition reskilling.

Well-Being and the Community, Green Drinks, 8th January, 7.30pm

What are the elements that make up the well-being of a community? And what does it mean in the context of the present and ongoing financial and resource constraints and an uncertain climate?

Throughout 2013, Sustainable Bungay’s new Arts, Culture and Well-being sub-group will explore these themes through dynamic and creative conversations and practical skills and knowledge sharing events. Come and help spark off the discussion at Sustainable Bungay’s first Green Drinks of the year, Well-Being and the Community, at the Green Dragon, on Tuesday 8th January at 7.30pm.

Everyone welcome. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Image: Echinacea in Bungay, 2011 by Mark Watson

Plant Families at Green Drinks

At our midsummer Green Drinks at the Green Dragon (29 Broad Street, Bungay), Tuesday 19th June at 7.30pm, Mark Watson and Charlotte Du Cann will introduce the theme of Plant Families and talk briefly about the many roles plants play in our lives and life on earth. This will be followed by an exploratory and interactive discussion around the theme. Everyone welcome, do join us.

Mark is the organiser of the Plants for Life 2012 series of talks, walks and workshops and curator of the Plant Medicine bed this year at Bungay Library Community Garden. He has worked with plants for many years and also designed this poster. Charlotte is an author, editor and community activist. Her new book, 52 Flowers That Shook My World (Two Ravens Press), is the result of a ten year exploration of plants.

For all enquiries and information on this event or the Plants for Life series as a whole, contact: Mark Watson 01502 722419, email: markintransition@hotmail.co.uk or check this website www.sustainablebungay.com

Plants for Life 2012 with Sustainable Bungay

Midsummer Wildflowers and Plant Oils – plus Plant Families at Green Drinks

Everyone is welcome to our 6th Plants for Life 2012 event,  a demonstration of how to make wildflower and plant oils and an introduction to plant ‘simples’ by Rose Titchiner, followed by an (almost) midsummer visit to Outney Common. (Please note: We were planning to visit nearby Falcon Meadow, but this was mown this week and there are no plants to see at the moment.)

We will meet at 20 Ditchingham Dam (the continuation of Bridge Street), Bungay, at 2.45pm (please note this month’s event is not at the library) for the demonstration and tea. This will be followed by the visit to Outney Common (a short drive) for those interested in seeing the midsummer wild plants in flower there.

If you are coming by car, please carshare if you can and note that there is no parking in Bridge Street and only limited parking in Ditchingham Dam. Close by are Trinity Street and Broad Street which have plenty of parking spaces.

Walk down Bridge Street and over the bridge. You will come to a sign for Ditchingham and Norwich on the left. No. 20 is directly opposite this sign, the first house on the left down a gravel driveway (the pale yellow Victorian lodge cottage).

The event is free and donations are happily received.

Rose has worked with plants all her life, is an experienced grower and farmer as well as a lover of wildflowers and makes many plant remedies at home. Recently she has been working with Bungay Community Bees to promote bee-friendly gardens and farms with the Get Your Garden Buzzing project.

At this months’  Green Drinks at the Green Dragon, Tuesday 19th June at 7.30pm, Mark Watson will introduce the theme of Plant Families and talk briefly about the many roles plants play in our lives and life on earth. This will be followed by an exploratory and interactive discussion around the theme. Everyone welcome, do join us.

Mark is the organiser of the Plants for Life 2012 series of talks, walks and workshops and curator of the Plant Medicine bed this year at Bungay Library Community Garden. He has worked with plants for many years and also designed this poster.

For all enquiries and information on this event or the Plants for Life series as a whole, contact: Mark Watson 01502 722419, email: markintransition@hotmail.co.uk or check this website www.sustainablebungay.com

Plants for Life 2012 with Sustainable Bungay

Green Drinks: Tuesday 20th March

Next week we’re going to be welcoming Hayley and Keith from Greengrow to talk to us about their Ilketshall based vegetable growing co-operative. They’re working hard to do something really difficult – making a living working on the land. As well as growing and supplying vegetables to local shops, restaurants and households Greengrow also offer volunteering opportunities and work with school children. We’re also hoping a few people from Norwich FarmShare a community-led vegetable growing scheme that serves the city will be joining us for a pint.

It set me thinking a bit about what more local supply might mean for Bungay – after all we tend to look back at what used to exist in terms of numbers of local shops and traders and imagine things might be similar now if only it weren’t for the supermarkets – but there are far more people now and our lives are very different. I started to think a little bit about the market for fruit and veg and here’s what I discovered about scale and value using basic figures from the 2001 census and the Office for National Statistics (it took about 10 minutes to find all this so it isn’t very rigorous):

Population of Bungay, Ditchingham and Earsham wards = about 10,000
Average weekly household spend on food and drink (2010 figures) = £53.20
Average weekly spend on fruit and vegetables = £7.10 (of which £3.10 was fruit and £4 vegetables)
Estimated number of households in the three wards = 3000 (rough guess)
Estimated annual spend on food and drink by households in Bungay, Ditchingham and Earsham wards = £8,299,200
Estimated annual spend of fruit and veg in Bungay, Ditchingham and Earsham wards = £1,107,600

By my reckoning, and regardless of what mix of produce is being sold and where it is grown, that one million pounds could support 4 good sized green grocers and employ an owner/proprietor and several part and full time staff in each shop. (I’m using shops for ease of doing this – could better be a mix of community supported agriculture schemes, box schemes, shops and markets)

And what if they sold more local produce? (defining ‘local’ is slippery, but I think I mean grown in the Waveney valley.) Even if only 60% of the vegetables and 15% of the fruit sold by those green grocers were grown locally it could support two small market garden / fruit businesses, or specialisation to meet demand on half a dozen farms which again would support a number of jobs.

On the one hand this shows there is a huge opportunity – but it also demonstrates what a massive gap exists in infrastructure, skills and how little support there really is for local food at present: we just about support one small green grocer in town and in terms of sales the co-op (which draws from a much wider area than just the three wards listed above) perhaps represents one green grocer of the type I imagine above.

Given that both the co-op and to a lesser extent Tutti Fruiti have a wider sphere of influence than just the three wards it’s probably fair to say that Bungay, Ditchingham and Earsham are 3 green grocers short of the possible – and that over three quarters of a million pounds that could be spent locally is spent elsewhere and most of that (70% or more) is spent in supermarkets who whisk it overseas or into the pockets of distant shareholders (as an aside wouldn’t it be great if your pension fund invested in local enterprises you could see, get involved in or even benefit from..?). And that’s just 10,000 people in three small wards.

The benefits of more local fruit and vegetable supplies – not least freshness and nutritional value, reduced environmental impact, economic returns to the community – are well known. So why aren’t we all doing more? And anyway what can we do? Tutti Fruiti sources locally and schemes like Greengrow are doing a great job – what else could we be doing to support them. And should we be having conversations with the Rainbow Co-op about their centralised supply chain?

Come along to the Green Dragon next Tuesday (19th, 7:30pm) to hear what is happening locally, share your ideas, have a chat – and perhaps enjoy a locally brewed pint!

Green Drinks – Back for 2012 | 21st February & 20th March

Green Drinks will make a welcome return in 2012 after a break in the autumn. They will follow the usual themed format and we’re inviting ‘expert conversationalists’ who can answer our questions about a specific subject, or steer our discussions along fruitful paths.

The first evening of the New Year will focus on sharing as a practical way of better using resources, building stronger communities and saving money. Sophie Garrett, founder of Yours to Share, will talk to us about the benefits of co-working, car sharing, land sharing and other forms of ‘fractional’ ownership.

In March we’ll be joined by members of the GreenGrow co-operative, who will talk to us about community food growing. Founded a couple of years ago by members of the Common Ground co-op on land they own in Ilketshall St. Andrew, GreenGrow has gone from strength to strength – establishing a box scheme, planting an orchard, erecting polytunnels and growing salads for local restaurants as well as offering training and volunteering opportunities.

All welcome!

Tue 21st Feb 19:30: Sophie Garrett, Shared ownership

Tue 20th Mar 19:30: GreenGrow, Community food growing

Green Drinks on tour : Rob Hopkins in Norwich

Our next Green Drinks night falls on Tuesday 15th. Normally we meet at the Green Dragon in Bungay and often we invite someone to inform and inspire our conversations with news of their work or a project they’re involved with.

This month Sustainable Bungay’s Green Drinks evening will happen in Norwich at the United Reformed Church on Princes Street. Why? Well, Transition Norwich are celebrating their 3rd birthday and have invited Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network, Transition Town Totnes and author of the hugely influential Transition Handbook to speak. It should be a good night – there will be birthday cake!

Rob’s new book, the Transition Companion, has just been published. The Transition Companion replaces the Handbook and draws on a wealth of real-life transition experience from initiatives all over the world – Sustainable Bungay even gets a mention…

If you’d like to talk about lift sharing to Norwich please email: info@sustainablebungay.com

If you’d like to order a copy of the Transition Companion to be collected and paid for on the 15th please send us an email: info@sustainablebungay.com (It’ll be available for just £14 (RRP £19.95), with any profits going to Transition Norwich)

This from Christine of Transition Norwich:

Positive approaches in difficult times

On Tuesday 15 November, Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network and Transiton Town Totnes will be visiting Norwich to talk about the Transition movement, and to help us celebrate 3 years of Transition Norwich. A lot of excitement is being generated around this visit, and it will be a perfect opportunity to find out more about Transition.

The evening will also feature a short in-house film telling something of the story of Transition Norwich so far, and sharing some of the amazing things that have been achieved. After the talk, there will be a chance to meet and discuss over tea, coffee and cake with other people who are interested in positive community responses.

Rob will also talk about his new book The Transition Companion which will be available at the event for £14.

Looking forward to see you on the 15th…. Christine Way

Celebrate 3 Years of Transition Norwich with Rob Hopkins: founder of the Transition Town Movement Tuesday 15th November at 7.30pm United Reform Church, Princes Street, Norwich NR3 1LE . All Welcome Free Entry (suggested donation £5) and if possible please do bring a cake!

Green Drinks: Community Transport – 21 June

National Bike Week falls between the 18th and 26th of June so it seemed fitting that the Green Drinks theme for June should be Transport, and even more fitting – given that Green Drinks will be on the 21st – that we should all get on our bikes!

We’ll gather at the Buttercross from 6:15 and leave for St. Peter’s Brewery by 6:30. The ride is just over 3.5 miles and so we should easily be able to order drinks and food and start Green Drinks at our usual time of 7:30. Margaret Sheppard will talk a little about Bungay and Beccles Cycle Strategy (Margaret is a trustee) and other local transport issues. Richard Vinton will tell us about Beccles and Bungay Area Transport (where he is a volunteer driver).

What better way to celebrate Midsummer’s Day? 
There will also be a bike ride on Sunday June 26th.Bike ride for lunch at Rumburgh Buck.10.30am Buttercross to meet up with riders from Beccles and Halesworth. Rides organised by Margaret Sheppard of Sustainable Bungay, Beccles and Bungay Cycle Stradegy and Godric Cycling Club.Info;at sheppard22@talktalk.net or 01986 892907 If you can’t cycle to meet us do contact Richard and come in the community bus (thelorax@fsmail.net).
Pic from Sustrans http://www.sustrans.org.uk/
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