Transition Stroud

This is a shared history blog. Together we can write the history of our process of transition as it happens.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Global Challenges Think Tank meets

On Thursday the Business and Government group met in Nailsworth in Fi's home - here is a brief summary re the Think Tank, Sustainable Community Strategy and more...

Photo: Coffee break

We started off with feedback from Fi MacMillan from the first meeting of the Global Challenges Think Tank - two Transitioners are part of that group that was initiated by Transition Town - the District Council provide support and input - Nigel Riglar and Barry Wyatt - two top Directors of the Council were both there - it is to look at both climate change and Peak Oil and feed directly into the Local Strategic Partnership to create policy
(see previous blogs for more on this - and on the Council website here).

The first meeting of the Think Tank received submissions re 'Planning' - many issues were raised around mitigation, adaptation and Peak Oil - the main driver of policy in this area seems to be mitigation as that is where the Government focus is - less attention on adaptation and nothing on the Peak Oil nationally.

More detailed reports will be forth coming but it gave the opportunity to raise a whole host of questions - here are some Transition Stroud raised in response to what was apparently a very comprehensive presentation...enclosed just to give a flavour of some of the discussions...

• Regarding public assets that need to be preserved/developed in the face of global changes, would like to see the following added
o public transport network
o pedestrian/cycle networks
o car pooling/liftshare organisation

• The possibilites for planning and food production are important in the face of peak oil, where current food production/distribution is likely to breakdown.
o How to ring fence existing agricultural land
o How to increase estate of agricultural land
o Encouraging domestic growing space
o Encourage community growing space

• Decentralised water/waste processing and energy provision seem key in tackling issues of peak oil

• Close proximity of work/living space, and the development of non-road based transport will also be key. We support the development of more utility cycling routes.

Food is a big topic that often gets missed but it was good to see that Council officers had clearly grasped this is important - sadly it is not an area that Councils have much direct control - a good article into whether Britain can feed itself (via Rob Hopkin's blog) can be downloaded here:

There will be a special meeting to look at food but the next Think Tank topic will be housing so we looked briefly at some issues around that - but also looked at other areas where it would be important to engage with the Council....

Sustainable Community Strategy

One important area is the Sustainable Community Strategy - for more on that see here. It is easily laid out so that people can contribute - part of our discussion was to how to facilitate more people to get involved - this is after all a chance for embedding real change in Councils policies. It might be possible to make this strategy a part of the work for a Transition Stroud day that has been set aside for 3rd Feb? There is a Transition meeting on 3rd Jan that could look more at how best to input to this consultation. Certainly it would be good for TS to make a submission but also many other local individuals before 29th Feb when the consultation ends.

Apols but this blog has been a bit of a ramble and am now off to another meeting so do contact us via this blog if you have any queries...Finally check this short video out:

Monday, 10 December 2007

Transition Stroud Core Group Meeting 6 December 2007

Agenda Items

Education Updates
Communication between Groups
Lists - Core/General
Description of Transition Stroud
Film and Bigger Events
Useage and arrangements of the Room in the Centre of Science and Art
How to Grow the Movement

Groups currently involved in Transition Stroud

Education Group
The education group is looking at how to involve schools in transition
issues. They have started with primary schools, where they have introduced
the subject of sustainability and leadership. They would like to pass on the
primary school model they have developed to other schools.

They would also like to carry out a skills audit among the members of
Transition Stroud, in order to find out what skills people have which could
be passed on to other people. Since there is no funding at present they
decided that the exchange of skills could start on an informal basis and
could gradually lead on to courses designed to teach skills, if and when
funding became available. ( At the present time, although Transition Stroud
has a bank account, it does not have a constitution and cannot therefore
decide how funding could be applied for).

Local Government Liason Group
this has now become:
Business and Government Group
The Business and Government Group made contact with Nigel Riglar, so that
they could take part in the Strategic Partnership.
The group will take submissions from the planning and environment agency
about how to adapt to climate change.

Textile Group
The textile group has acquired two weaving looms and obtained permission to
put the weaving looms in the Transition Stroud Room. They also have
permission to have a teacher in the room teaching people to weave, dye and
spin. They would like to arrange set times for these activities, for example
two days per month.

Food Group
6 interrelated groups are working on food projects and applying for funding.
Stroud is developing an identity as a food hub, connecting producers with
consumers, aiming to make the projects a real alternative to supermakets.
Ruth is involved in marketing. Jess is involved in processing gluts.
Currently between fifteen and twenty producers and two hundred consumers are
The depot is at Parliament Primary School and the whole project is online.
It was agreed that collection and delivery systems could be improved since
lots of different vehicles are currently used for delivery.

Lifestyle and livelihood group
Lifestyle and livelihood group have agreed to revitalise the LETS system
Health comes under lifestyle and livelihood but nothing is currently being
done about health within the transition movement.

Transport Group
James did a stall for car free day. He is trying to produce a document.
Carol produced a document about busses and the places you could go to by
bus, but they didn't discuss this at their meeting, focussing instead on the
problems posed by commuting.

Connections Group
The connections group is oiling the wheels of the project, negotiating for
the use of the room and facilitating meetings.
They would like to celebrate Celtic Festivals, on a small scale for the
invited few this year but on a larger scale next year for the general
They will produce a leaflet.

Energy Group
The energy group would like to develop a wind turbine project. They have
been discussing the best way to do things and would like to form a
collaboration between Stroud, Thrupp, Bisley to get the wind turbines up.

The Five Roles
At the last meeting it was decided that six roles needed to be filled, but
now they have been wittled down to five:

It was suggested that a paid part time worker could carry out several of
these roles but James (the bike) was worried that this would create a rift
between the paid and the unpaid members of the core group.
At this point there was some discussion about the danger of setting up a
heirarchy with the core group at the apex, so it was decided to change the
name of the core group to SUPPORT GROUP.
There was some discussion about the purpose of Transition Stroud and whether
funding should be applied for.
The Room is at present being paid for by Ruskin Mill, who envisaged that
there would eventually be a cafe in it.
The transport group is clear that they need funding in order to carry out a
Molly suggested that decision making should be made by majority vote, not
100% consensus, since the latter is disemowering.
Some of the groups now have money, as a result of events they have
organised, so there was discussion about where to put the money - in
separate bank accounts, but all in the same bank, for example.
Someone suggested that everybody could write a page describing Transition
Stroud and circulate all of it to everybody. The resulting document
(presumably whittled down to something digestible and intelligible) could be
sent to the paper in order to publicise Transition Stroud.
John raised the issue of different people turning up to each core (support)
group meeting, which clearly did not work.
Molly proposed that an open meeting which anyone could attend be held one
month and the following month a meeting be held just for members of the
subgroups and that the same members attend each time.

Thefollowing people volunteered for the five roles:

Jackie Rowanly - events
Ben Evans and Jessica Standing - Communications (Ben only for the IT side
of communications)
Role Liles - Money
Simon Allen - Outreach (from March)
Dave Judd (who was not present but was volunteered in his absence) -
Secretary and Coordinator
Chair was scrapped.

It was agreed that the groups should discuss what they want these people to
Meetings will be held every first Thursday of every month.

The connections group will discuss the running of an open space event. At
the open space event a theme or question will be presented and those present
will decide what to discuss, then break into smaller groups, discuss the
theme or question, then report back.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Things We Said Last Month

I've been out of circulation so long I can't remember when this meetnig happened and how many meetings there have been since. It was a core group meeting, date was 1 November I think, venue was Odi's place.

Present: Odi, Francisco, Jackie, Molly, Rosemary, Ellen
Apologies: Mike J., Dave J., James, Jessica S.

Because there were a couple of new people we began with introductions

Francisco wants to build an ecovillage in Stroud. He trained as a teacher. He came to the Heiberg event and wants to know more about how TS materialises. He stressed the importance of integrating all aspects of sustainability.

Ellen has been travelling around Asia without flying. She is interesting in how Transition stuff and alternative lifestyles interact with the mainstream. She wants to know how to make those first steps in thinking about how you relate to your environment. She works in community development.

Jackie reported on the Waldorf College Room. Working group co-ordinators should have the key code for the door. There will be three named keyholders to lock the outer door if they are the last to leave. It was agreed that we would bring in furniture to make it a cosy space. Bookings need to be made with Waldorf College (840009) because otherwise the room may be in use by the college. This might be done by a Google calendar system.

Rose reported that two looms are available from Paradise House as a result of downsizing. There was support in principle for the textiles group to be supported in adopting them. Rose will discuss this with Alastair. The Fashion Show was a fab success. There was a plan to show a video of it in the Waldorf College room.

Swaporium. Molly will make posters and print some money. It will be held at Waldorf College on Buy Nothing Day (24th November). Odi will put an ad in the Community Mag and Molly will send a press release to the SNJ and send info around the news group. (Sorry none of this happened due to my illness.) There was a discussion of alternative currencies and Molly gave feedback from Lewes.

Odi updated people on the Transition Cafe. The meeting at Star Anise was very positive and Odi has since worked up the proposal together with Ruth. She wants to present this to the local big wheels on the property scene: SCW, Andrew Whaddon, the Gordons, etc. The proposal includes a bulletin board, bicycle workshop, pedal-powered laptop, basket-making and weaving, cooking workshops. A seasonal hot-pot will be available at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. A possible name is In Transition. Odi has her eye on the furniture recycling place in John Street. A display in the window rotated around the working groups could provide a public interface for TS. Ellen will work on this: she was involved in getting the Painswick Inn cafe together.

We need a phone and an ansafone.

Jonathan and Daniela are putting on a Ted Hughes play at Stroud Slad Farm by actors from the local community.

Rose suggested the idea of holiday home swaps between Transition communities. She will email Ben Brangwyn of the Transition Network about this.

Discussion on what the core group is for (could we have a meeting without this discussion?) Communications, money etc. are not being done efficiently. We should have a monthly open meeting on the first Thursday of the month. The core group should be an over-arching group dealing with money. I was supposed to resuscitate my proposal I sent to Mike about what the key roles are, which was added to by Dave. The people identified for these roles hold responsibility for this function and make sure it happens; they don't do all the work themselves.

Next meeting will be 6th December, 8pm, at Waldorf College. This meeting will select the core group.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

In association with the Transition Stroud Food Group we warmly invite you to join us for our first pilot workshop Lacto Fermentation and Pickling & to contribute towards the shaping of the Vital Squeeze KITCHEN project.

Sunday 16th December 9:30am – 5 pm at Lovedays Mead

9:30 am Tea & Introduction
10:30 am Presentation & Debate led by Odilia Jarman “What is our local food culture?”
12:30 pm Bring & Share Lunch (drinks provided)
2 pm Presentation by Richard Swann: Lacto-Fermentation & Pickling - Leading to workshop: experimenting with Beetroot
4:30 pm Tea & Feedback

We are requesting a donation of £15 for the day to cover costs. Please let us know whether you can join us by Monday 10th December 2007. Contact Odilia Jarman 01453 766598 / 07791 670674

The Vital Squeeze KITCHEN
is a centre for the exchange of skills and knowledge
relating to the transformation of food in theory and in practice
inviting people of all capabilities and backgrounds
to participate in interactive, hands-on learning.