Transition Stroud

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

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Eco Mania Day

On Saturday May 9th Harry organised a day for young people to tell them all about Transition. Several new people came and many other supporters. A lovely day was had by all. 19 sunflower plants were sold for the sunflower growing competition. The flower heads will be measured on Saturday 1st August.

Captain Spanner and Nutty Nicky kept people entertained and James showed a film powered by his bike. Several stalls had items showing people how to recycle in most interesting and creative ways and Jane introduced people to lovely food from the garden.
Angelo's Wood Fired Pizzas fed everyone and the sun shone on all.

Thanks to everyone who helped and enjoyed the day.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Age of Hopeless?

This week many of us saw the film "Age of Stupid" in Stroud, on Sunday the hall was packed and I expect that yesterdays showing was similarly attended.
We transitioners have sat with familiar faces from the local Green Party and others on many occasions over recent years and have seen other films that predict the failing society that will result when all the polar and glacial ice has melted and/or peak oil has made its mark.
None of this is cheery in its messages, and to add to the effect on our morale, national and local politicians continue to drag their feet over deciding on action to combat it. (In the case of the threat to a successful wind farm at Kirksanton in Cumbria, progress could be reversed if the turbines are removed to make way for a nuclear power station).

I think that some news of actual positive action is called for. The idea was first floated by Molly last Sunday and we agree it needs to be considered at the least.

Lets compile a film about the many initiatives that have already occurred here in Stroud area and show the film. No doubt the many occasions when film makers have filmed the farmers market, community agriculture days, bicology events and others have between them got many snippets of film data that could be made into a film that is inspirational and perhaps also points the way to a soundly based future.

So we are calling on you all to ask anyone you know who may be able to get their hands on some film footage that fits the idea.
We also need a script writer, narrator, and if new footage is needed a director, camera man/woman etc etc.

People say that Stroud has got in its culture many facets that distinguish it from other similarly sized and located towns, sometimes local TV news articles fail to show more than the more bizarre sights here, as they seek ratings and sensationalist events in favour of news of ordinary people responsibly changing life for the better. So lets do it for them!

Finally I suggest we exclude all politicians from this, either they are at the levers of power and don't use them for this cause or they cannot get at them to do so. Politics is currently spotlighted as corrupt, inwardly self serving and foot dragging about climate change or blindly pro nuclear. This idea is about real actions by ordinary people, past present and future.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

May Newsletter

Hi Folks,
Welcome to the May newsletter. The season is warming up and lots of outdoor activities are being planned. I hope you’ll try to get to as many as possible, but, more importantly, bring lots of friends.

§ The YOUTH GROUP are holding an Eco Mania day for young people at Upper Grange,
(Lovedays Mead, Stroud GL5 1XB) on Saturday May 9th from 11.00am to 3.00pm.. Harry (13) is the co-ordinator of the Youth Group and has worked very hard for this event. On Saturday there will be entertainment from Captain Spanner, pizzas from Angelo’s Wood Fired Pizzas, recycled arts and crafts, buy or barter stall, sunflower growing competition and the chance for children to make their ideal town out of a collection of recycled bits and pieces. Harry went out busking with his violin on Saturday to raise money for the event and to advertise it (he was joined by Helen R and Pete Nightingale). Please encourage any children you may know to come along and come along yourself as well.


Emily Smith will be taking over the co-ordination of this group again. Thanks to Rose who has done an excellent job. It was lovely to see so many last night up at the beautiful Westley Farm, rag rugging and rug plaiting. The next meeting will be in three weeks time, some suggested dates Tuesday 12th May 7.30pm Wednesday 13th May 7.30pm . I’ll send out a reminder when they decide.
The group are busy preparing for the weekend at Westley Farm in June. “The Art of Westley Farming” A collective cross-pollination celebrating ecological and creative diversity.

Simon and Fi will be speaking at the Positive Future Conference 2009 in Liverpool on 5th May run by the Improvement and Development Agency for local government. It is on climate change and sustainability and will equip delegates with knowledge on the innovative practice and latest developments in a changing policy landscape. Speaking with Jonathan Porrit and Rob Hopkins. See Ed Milliband invited!
Fi and Dave (Cockcroft) were also featured in the Times

§ The new HEALTH GROUP will be meeting for the first time at the Apothecary, Ruskin Mill (Old Bristol Road, Nailsworth, GL6 0LA - take the Horsley Rd off the A46), Thursday 30th April at 7.30. New members would be very welcome. They will be looking at the effect of diminishing oil supplies on pharmaceuticals, considering the possibility of growing homeopathic medicines nearer home, and general policies on Health issues related to inability to travel, among other issues.
§ The ENERGY GROUP are working towards the Eco-renovation
Open Homes weekend in September. So far there are 20 homes that will be opening their doors to visitors. For more information see

§ The
If you’re not up to date with all the amazing work the Transport Group have been involved with check out the web site

Planning continues for Green Travel Month (June) including stalls on the Sub Rooms forecourt on 13th June.

§ The LIFESTYLES AND LIVELIHOODS GROUP are still working hard for the new local currency. The training evening was very helpful with much lively debate about how we will encourage local businesses to participate. See the Transition Stroud blog for more about the evening


* The Space Cinema Club will be showing THE AGE OF STUPID on Sunday May 3rd, 8.00pm and again on Friday May 8th at 7.00pm.
‘Starring Pete Postlethwaite, this remarkable film is captivating and constantly surprising: the first successful dramatisation of climate change to reach the big screen. You must see it’. (The Guardian).
WE WOULD LIKE AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO GO AND SEE THIS FILM. Call Rick at 01453 755 706 if you wish to see it.

* This year's Stroud Communiversity – Inspiring Self-Reliant Communities – takes place on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th May. We are now able to offer the full programme at the reduced concessionary rate of £190 to all participants. This fee includes all lunches and evening meals and covers the cost of each site visit. There are also a limited number of bursaries for those struggling to meet this cost. We encourage people to commit to the whole weekend for continuity within the Action Learning work and deeper group dynamics. However, we are able to offer a single day rate of £70 with the understanding that for some, a full weekend is not easily freed up. And last but not least, for those that can make the time, there is the unique opportunity to attend the launch of The Exchange on Thursday 14th May, free of charge to Communiversity participants. ***Book Now to Avoid Disappointment***
For more information and booking forms see

* Transition Minchinhampton have sent us news
“Our next event is on 16th May Feeding the 5,000: Can We in Minchinhampton Feed Ourselves with Local Food? with Jade Bashford. We are all really excited about it, then we have a Duchy Home Farm visit in June and an evening on Energy in July before the schools break up (format yet to be discussed!)”. Contact Sue Edgley or Michael Sheldon 01453 885707

* Don’t forget National Beanpole week starts 25th April until 3rd May. National Beanpole Week 2009 is calling on gardeners to support Britain’s remaining coppiced woodlands by choosing eco-friendly, locally-grown coppiced beanpoles instead of imported bamboo canes.

* Transition Newent have sent us details of a talk - An evening with Rob Hopkins & Shaun Chamberlin on Wednesday 29th April (Newent Community School, 7 for 7.30pm prompt). This event is coming together well with seat reservations steadily arriving from Transition groups far & wide. If you would like to come and haven’t yet reserved your seat, please call Ann on 01989-720646 or e-mail

* The results of the Transition web project carried out by the Transition Network have been put together and graphs and slides in pdf can be seen here

Don’t forget the next TRANSITION DRINKS will be Tuesday 12th May at 7.30 at the Prince Albert, Rodborough.

And finally another new word for 2009 Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Hope to see you at one of the meetings.
Happy Transitioning,

Monday, 4 May 2009

Make a Meal of It

Breaking out from the co-housing, shared eating is now a reality in Uplands. Jenni Edwards has got a bunch of local people together to sharing the planning and cooking of meals. About a fifth of the energy associated with the food chain is burned up when we cook our food. More single-person and smaller households means more energy use, since cooking for five takes barely more energy than cooking for one or two.

As well as saving energy this is a great way of people getting to know their neighbours. Tonight's meal was a fabulous bean stew with rice, honeyed vegetables and salad, followed with flapjacks.

Herbal Healing

Nathan Hughes, our local herbalist from Ruskin Mill apothecary, took us on a forage for common herbs with healing properties. Within a 20-yard radius he found at least a dozen useful plants, just plunging off into the undergrowth at intervals to find them. Here are some of the healing properties I remember

Cowslips are rare today so Nathan recommends we all grown them in our gardens. One of the cowslip's traditional names is 'Freya's keys' and it is associated with fertility and so with the festival of Beltane, or Mayday. Its healing properties include a tightening action, including of the uterus, and it has therefore been used for women who suffer miscarriage.

Hawthorn is well-known as a remedy for the heart and can stimulate heart function and generally mend broken hearts. You can graze on the young flowering buds and fresh leaves at this time of year. Otherwise make them into a tea, which is a beautiful pink, apparently. Later the berries can be steeped in brandy to make a restorative for the sick at heart - not surprisingly!

Elder again has many uses, connected with releasing. So they are good for stimulating fever and burning of toxins. On an energetic level this translates into releasing old pain and allowing change. Make a tea of the flowers and keep it by your bed - keep drinking when you wake up and sweat your way to better health and happiness!

Nettles are a great blood tonic and also good for grounding. You pick just the top four sets of leaves when they are young and fresh. You can make them into tea or soup.

Nathan is a member of the Transition Stroud Health group. His vision is that we all grow a range of healing plants in our gardens and use them to treat simple symptoms rather than visiting the doctor and using pharmaceuticals that are expensive in money and energy terms. You can learn more from one of Nathan's courses or guided walks: details on the apothecary website.