City bumpkin podcast 7 – Transition Town Tooting

On July 4th, the bizarre and fabulous Trashcatchers’ Carnival will hit Tooting high street!

Some months ago, I spoke to David and Malsara Thorne of Transition Town Tooting to find out about the Transition Town movement and how the plans for the carnival were coming along.  It is going to be a fantastic event, so do follow their blog to find out more, and block out your diary for the 4th of July!

There will also be the Transition Town Tooting Big Launch on Monday 12th July, and the Tooting Foodival on September 19th.  More information on both events will be on the Transition Town Tooting main blog.

Or click here to listen in a new window

There’s some very interesting stuff in the podcast about recycled cooking oil.  The oil company is called Uptown Oil.

The City Bumpkin podcast map!

March update

Lots to report on and apologies for not having posted very much aside from recipes over the past few months.

I’m now on maternity leave, and gradually getting used to the change of pace from shift work (alarm clock goes off at 3.45am) to maternity leave (alarm clock turned off) to the impending arrival of LW (who is now the size of a watermelon, for those of you still interested in the fruit and veg analogies – alarm clock in human form goes off at 2am, 3am, 4am…)

The fair-weather gardener in me has kicked in over the last couple of days, with the sunshine coaxing me and Wilb into the garden to see how everything has fared during an extended period of neglect over the winter.  The lovely fruit trees Mum gave us a few months ago are planted, two apples and a plum, and will hopefully start producing a few new leaves soon, to prove that we haven’t killed them in the transplantation from their gorgeous Worcestershire home to rather less glamorous Tooting postage stamp.

I have been marvelling at the compost in both the compost bin and the wormery (the worms have miraculously survived the winter) which is more exciting than I should really admit to.  Have a look at my guide to setting up a wormery if you’re thinking of starting one yourself, I highly recommend it.  The compost heap is overflowing, and having spent a long time looking for a hand crankable garden shredder, I eventually resorted to a pair of secateurs and a bucket to convert some of the strings of ivy, bits of rose bush etc… down to manageable scraps.  Then all that remained was to weight the whole thing down with something, which Wilb kindly obliged to help out with.  I’m hoping that the heap will prosper now it’s been given some TLC.

In other news, I went along to the Transition Town Tooting first film night last night, a great event where six short films were shown and finally judged, with ‘Mine: story of a sacred mountain‘ winning the much coveted Tooting Palm Verte for the best film of the evening.  Many thanks to TTT for a great event and a good opportunity to find out about more TTT events, such as the Trashcatchers’ Carnival which I initially thought was just a big litter-picking event, but turns out to be a multi-coloured spectacular down Tooting High Street in July, which sounds like it’s going to be fantastic.

Finally I’ve been micro-gardening, which is where you wish you had more space for gardening, but you just don’t, so you have to make do with what you have to indulge the gardening passions, in this case a seed germination test, in which I’ve been testing a load of old seeds I found in my shed, to see whether they are still alive, despite not having enough space to then plant even half of them if they prove viable, but it’s fun to see all the different seeds.  It’s amazing how variable they are, from tiny, pitch black shrapnel like onion seeds to big, white, tear-shaped courgette seeds.  That and watching the garden out of the window, which is quite fun when the sun is shining, and there is something of a showdown going on between three migratory cats, several birds and of course the beautiful fox (no longer a cub) which has made its home on top of the garden wall.

Tooting Foodival 2009

Tooting Foodival face

Last Sunday saw the second annual Tooting Foodival, arranged by Transition Town Tooting.  TTT aims to

“…bring together the people of Tooting and surrounding communities to develop a plan to transition to a life beyond our dependency on oil.”

Tooting foodival in full swingPractically, this means lowering the collective carbon footprint of the town by encouraging greener modes of transport, food growing groups and re-skilling workshops.  There are even rumours that Tooting may get its own currency before too long.  I have been deeply envious of the ‘Brixton pound’ and it would be great to see T£ as it will be known enabling residents to keep trade flowing through Tooting’s local businesses.

The Foodival kicked off with a ‘Food walk’ which I was unfortunately unable to attend, followed by a Food Fete in Fircroft school.  Here there was free food cooked from home-grown Tooting fruit and veg, an urban beekeeper (very distressed about vandals who have been throwing bricks and logs at her hives), and the great Tooting pudding competition, which featured some amazing looking puds which sadly weren’t on offer to the punters, although perhaps they were dished up after the judging.

Veg manKids were getting involved making creatures out of locally grown vegetables, and Ting Ting Tooting were there fixing bikes and promoting cycling in the area.

It was a beautiful September afternoon, and everybody seemed to be having a great time.  It reminded me that I had meant to go to some of the TTT meetings, so fingers crossed I will get to one before too long.

It might seem impossible that an area as urban as Tooting can possibly embrace low carbon ideas, but the TTT movement is growing all the time, and steps have already been made in the right direction.  If it can be done in Tooting, it can be done anywhere!