The monthly news bulletin from Transition Town Totnes.
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Is it May already?

I’m taking a big deep breath before I say welcome to this May edition of the TTT newsletter as there are so exciting things happening, coming hot on the heels of a great April. It's a big newsletter this month, so make a cuppa and settle in.

The 29th March saw a Civic Hall packed with all the caring people of Totnes who are part of, or run, organisations which support the health and welfare of our community. The Caring Town Totnes day was a delight to be at, seeing people making links and getting to know one another, with refreshments provided by the amazing Food in Community.

English Hawthorn is in bloom in May

The Play Group held a fantastic illustrated talk by play workers with experience of Adventure playgrounds in the UK and Europe about the history of adventure playgrounds, and their development from the 70’s to the present day. They also held their first ‘play action’ in Leechwell Garden and hope to make this a monthly event – join them by Totnes Weir in May. Only established a few months ago the group has made a strong start and would really welcome others to join them.

In other news, we are really pleased to be able to say that two projects we have enormous respect for have become affiliated projects of TTT through the food group – Food in Community and Little Bo People. We were also delighted to be part of the Mayor’s Spring Fever event, making quiches and crumbles on an industrial scale (felt like!) and being part of a great evening. We were very honoured and humbled to be one of the chosen beneficiary charities, alongside Totnes Fair Trade and the Devon Community Foundation.

Please read on for news of what is coming up in May; we have a really exciting month ahead with the 3rd Annual Local Entrepreneur Forum as the showpiece. If you have an interest in positively building the economic health of the town this event is for you so if you haven’t booked yet, please do so here [link]. I can also recommend joining the REconomics tour the day beforehand to get a really good picture of the work happening here. I promise you a great day.

Other highlights are the Seedy Sisters Seedling Swap, the ongoing programme of fabulous skill shares and last but not least, the Transition Homes Community Consultation, at which you can find out more and input your ideas.

Whatever you do have a great month, and enjoy the bank holiday weekends,

This month...

Upcoming Events   Events programme

Local food projects affiliated with TTT

Fantastic local projects Food in Community and Little Bo People joined the TTT core group this month, who voted to affiliate both projects. We offer them a warm and enthusiastic welcome!

Little Bo People - Community shepherding and lamb rearing on Castle Meadow

Castle Meadow is just below Totnes Castle and was given to the Town Council by Leonard Elmhirst of Dartington, on the understanding that it would never be built on. It's too small to be commercially viable, but Little Bo People have re-established grazing sheep and pigs on the meadow, bringing farming to the town centre.

Working with local farmers Jolly Farm to share expertise and to connect the farmers with local markets, the project offers the opportunity for local people to get involved in responsible meat growing by helping to care for the animals and learning skills such as shearing, and to buy local, sustainable meat from well-cared for animals. The scope of Little Bo People extends beyond sheep and pigs, with fruit trees planted on Castle Meadow and beehives arriving soon. There is also an agreement for chickens on the meadow, and the opportunity if you're interested to get involved, if you're unable to have chickens of your own.

For more on Little Bo People and Jolly Farm, contact 07813 819591 or email; or visit the website and Facebook.

Food in Community - Organic produce saved from waste

An extract from Rob Hopkin's Guardian article:

"It's a Thursday afternoon and I'm in a large and gloomy food storage shed at Riverford Organic Vegetables near Totnes in Devon with a small group of volunteers called Food in Community. We're working in the small corner of the shed that has been allocated to us, sorting 'grade-out' produce not quite perfect enough for sale or nearing the end of its shelf life, into boxes for local distribution.

There are avocados, carrots, cauliflowers and apples. Broccoli and bananas, spinach and peppers. There are even some kiwi fruits. And one solitary leek.

Each box has a card stating who it's for. There's the Totnes Food Bank, the Drop-In Centre, Cool Recover - a local charity working with young adults with mental health issues, a local primary school, Rainbow Nursery, as well as several boxes for individuals and a few other local projects. One box goes to a community radio station offering volunteers and vulnerable adults the chance to make radio programmes. If we weren't doing this, it would all be fed to the farm's extremely fortunate pigs. Amid reversing forklifts and vast crates of organic produce we fill the boxes, and within an hour we're loading volunteers' cars for the trip back to town.

Food in Community started last year and is the brainchild of Laurel Ellis and David Markson. Initially imagined as a food gleaning project, wanting to mobilise volunteers to gather perfectly edible but uneconomic produce from local fields, their current focus sees the distribution of grade-out as "a catalyst for creating more cohesive communities and building community confidence and resilience".


For more on Food in Community, email or phone: 07846 021248 or support them via Facebook.

Introducing TTT's volunteer coordinator

Vaughn Barclay will be assisting TTT with inquiries from potential volunteers and working to involve them in the various TTT groups and projects. She can be contacted anytime at or by calling 07985 568740, and she will also be in the TTT office on Monday mornings. Keep watch on the website for our regularly updated listings of volunteer opportunities that might match your skills and interests. We look forward to hearing from you!

Totnes Caring Town - Health & Welfare day success!

The pioneering Health and Welfare Day at the Civic Hall on March 29th was declared a major success by participants. The Caring Town Totnes event brought together over 35 organisations which provide support to the people of Totnes and District. The main aim of the day was to enable organisations, which often work in isolation, to meet each other and explore the potential for greater links. Members of the public were also invited to “drop in” and see some of the services on offer and share ideas for how to enhance provision in the area.

Spokesperson for the project organising team, Carole Whitty said:

“This was the first time health, welfare and support organisations have been invited to come together like this to meet each other and see where links can be made. We filled the Civic Hall, yet we have not yet reached all of the groups in the town who may wish to be involved in future events; such is the amazing nature of our Caring Town and its community. Working in any area of health, welfare and support is very demanding and often groups are under a lot of pressure and feel isolated. One of the most positive outcomes from last Saturday is that we now have a growing network. Our next steps will be to ask for any other groups to get in touch with us and explore with the whole network and with the public the idea of a one-stop shop for welfare services in Totnes."

Anyone wishing to know more please call Frances Northrop on 07706 466841.

Transition Homes Update

Using part of the £50,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency we are delighted to have appointed Nicola Lang as our part-time Co-ordinator to assist in all the work needed to submit our planning application later this year. We have also welcomed an intern, Jess Gotham, to work alongside Nicola.

The intention is to build 25 low cost sustainable houses and a community hub on the Clay Lane site, along with horticultural areas, native planting, and a reed bed grey-water treatment system. Construction will be with local natural materials such as straw and rammed earth, and there will be opportunities for people to volunteer on the build and get some training in sustainable construction. They will be working alongside skilled local builders. Volunteering is empowering, increases skills, knowledge and future employment prospects. There will also be opportunities to volunteer with catering and planting. We will be starting to recruit volunteers quite soon so look out for further information via the website and bulletin.

Community consultation event

As part of preparing our planning application we are holding a community consultation drop in event on Saturday May 10th from 11.00 until 3.00 at Dartington Village Hall. Please come along and ask questions, express your concerns, or offer your support. Tours of the site will be held at 12 and 2pm – the site is around a 15 minute walk from the hall, please bring wellies if it is wet.

Local producer's market

TTT's food group is looking into setting up a local producer stall at the Totnes Saturday market.

We are looking for producers who would be interested in selling their wares on a stall of mixed local produce, the idea is that by sharing a stall with other producers the responsibilities of running a stall can be reduced so that producers (growers and makers of items made from fine local produce) do not have to spend every Saturday manning a market stall and costs are shared. Customers will come to recognise the stall and it's changing range of seasonal, local produce.

If you are a producer of any size or scale and are interested in being involved please contact Holly Tiffen in order that we can arrange a meeting together sometime in the next month.  Any non producers/makers who are interested in volunteering on the stall also please get in contact.

Totnes Pound relaunches in May

The Totnes Pound Group are delighted to be able to let you know that the new paper Totnes Pounds (t£1, t£5, t£10 and t£21) will be officially launched in the Civic Hall on the evening of 20th May.
They have a number of security features, including security watermarked paper, holograms, engraved silver foil and serial numbers reversed out of gold foil. They also have QR codes printed on them, by which mobile phone and tablet users can connect immediately to the Traders Directory on the Totnes Pound website.
We have delayed the launch, which was originally planned for before Easter, in order to do the necessary preparation work to give the new Pounds as much momentum as possible. There will be a 5% launch discount on the first t£10,000-worth of notes that are sold through the Issuing Points: people will receive t£21 for every £20 sterling. We think that this will be a great way to get the notes into circulation speedily.  

The new notes feature local heroes and heroines: Dorothy Elmhirst, Ben Howard, Charles Babbage and Mary Wesley. We are inviting relatives of theirs (and possibly Ben Howard himself) to attend the launch.

We all look forward to a successful launch of the new Totnes Pounds, which will help to attract customers to independent traders in Totnes and to maintain the town’s reputation as a pioneering community and seedbed of innovative social projects.

TTT Film Nights screen Occupy Love to a Full House; announce TTT Film Festival!

The pews at the Methodist Church were full for the April TTT Film Night when Occupy Love was screened. This feature length documentary had recorded the astonishing whirlwind of a worldwide protest that has changed forever the dynamic in the meaning of ‘Occupy'.  A wide variety of filmgoers of all ages, new and familiar faces came along to watch the telling footage of international protests, the global viral response to the financial crisis that erupted in 2010.  

       The film documented that while the initial protests were fuelled by anger and blame, a new dynamic developed at the protest sites as the Occupy movements evolved.  A wave of compassion and care took over as relationships at the Occupy sites grew.  While conditions at some of the sites became seriously uncomfortable as the winter set in, the protesters dug in with tents and incredible tenacity, support came to them from locals and passers by. Love for fellow humans rose up at the Occupy camps as a palpable force, in recognicion that we are all in this together and the problem can only be solved through love and care for each other, not fear or hate.

The discussion that followed the film show was really interesting.  Some people felt the film had been too long and needed some editing, while others said they could have sat and watched a lot more footage.  For everyone it had been a moving experience to witness the passion of the Occupy protests and the strength of warm emotion.  Highly recommended.

The Totnes Transition Film Festival is on the way...

Mark your diaries for October 24th – 26th! An exciting weekend of Transition Films, workshops, networking and much more is being planned. Keep an eye on the TTT Film Festival webpage and get ready to book your tickets. Do you have a suggestion for must-see movie? Email the organisers!

Open Eco-home weekend

Another date for your diary - the weekend of September 13-14 will host this year's Open Eco-home event, followed on September 20th by the Energy Fair in the Civic Hall, Totnes.

You don't need a PassivHaus to get involved - whatever home you live in, if you want to share the energy saving measures you've taken and to show others what they can do in their homes, get in touch to volunteer your home for the event.

Upcoming Events

Local Entrepreneur forum schedule announced. Book now!

This year's Local Entrepreneur Forum is going be an amazing mix of new enterprise, good ideas, skills, resources, support, and much needed locally-focused investment. It's a full and very rewarding day, whether you're a new entrepreneur looking for an injection of just the right kind of help, a successful business person looking to invest your wealth and talents back into your community's future, or just an active citizen who wants to do good.

This year, there will be tens of thousands of pounds of local investment opportunities with new enterprises in the food, energy, and building materials sectors that will deliver new jobs and more diversity.

Last year, School Farm CSA raised £2000 at the Local Entrepreneur Forum, plus a staggering array of gifts like 25 fruit trees, 2.5 tonnes of mulch, a horse paddock, a radio show, lunches and a half dozen massages. What will this year's entrepreneurs receive? What gifts could you 'invest'?

Book your place, now - £20 for the day, including lunch, and £10 youth concession.

The Programme

8:45 - Doors open
9:30 - Welcome and speakers
Julie Carthy, Unltd. - Unltd. offers support and funds for social enterprises!
Fiona Ward, REconomy Project - innovations for local economic resilience
10:30 - Bee like a Bee
This innovative networking session creates opportunities for everyone to learn what they need to learn and meet who they need to meet. Super valuable part of the day.
1:00 - Fabulous Local Lunch
Acclaimed local culinary artists The Kitchen Table craft our delicious lunch from locally sourced ingredients.
2:00 - Local Leaders in the Circular Economy
We check in with local innovators Food in Community, Fungi Futures, REstore, Tresoc, and special guest.
2:30 - Community of Dragons
Five excellent ventures looking for community support - financial resources, non-financial assets of various description, mentor help, expert skills, 'well being support'. Here's our opportunity to invest what we can in locally grown innovation. Projects will be announced soon!
4:00 - Networking reception hosted by New Lion Brewery
The New Lion Brewery pitched at the very first Local Entrepreneur Forum and promised then to offer its locally-brewed beer at this year's event.  And here they are right on schedule. And what a fitting way to wrap up what will be a fantastic day.

The LEF is preceded by REconomics Totnes Style, a unique study tour of key projects that form the REconomy approach to local economic regeneration. It includes in-depth examination of the Totnes Pound, REconomy Centre, Economic Blueprint, and meetings with those who conceived and brought these projects forward. Ideal for planners, officers, councilors, university students, educators, philanthropists, and community organisers.  Details and booking information are online.

Tribute to Nick Gooderham

A fantastic fundraiser is being held for Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of Nick Gooderham, organic horticulturalist and founder of the School Farm CSA project.

On Saturday 17th May there will be a fund-raising 3-course vegetarian meal at Higher Close Refectory, Dartington Hall Estate, Dartington, Devon. Tickets cost £25 (including drinks) and are on sale at the Dartington Hall Box Office. The evening includes a raffle draw for wonderful prizes including a B&B weekend for two at Dartington Hall, a food hamper, lunch for two at Beech house at South Milton Sands, signed copies of Satish Kumar's Soil, Soil, Society and Julia Ponsonby's Gaia's Kitchen, and other locally sourced goodies. Raffle tickets are available from Dartington Box Office and Emma Vowles florist at 31a High St, Totnes. Organic vegetables for the meal are being supplied by Food in Community and Riverford Organic.

For more information, please see the fundraising page.

Upcycle, make and create - skills exchange at The Restore this May!

The ReStore ‘Re-discovers, Re-juvenates and Re-creates’ items of furniture and furnishings donated through the local charity Refurnish Devon using facilities including shop, workshop and craft studio, from its location at the old Dartington Pottery site on the cycle path at the Shops at Dartington. If you love making old from new, creating things from materials that might otherwise go to waste, come along to make, share and learn new skills from other creative folk in May.  During the month, we’ll be hosting 21 FREE skills exchange sessions. The sessions are a chance to make, upcycle and restore together- sharing skills, ideas, and being creative with materials which may otherwise be considered as waste.

Running from 10.00am to midday, makers are welcome to bring lunch and stay on into the afternoon. Just bring your ideas, skills and materials or a project that you would like to work on with others or along:

Tuesday 13th, 20th and 27th May – Weaving
Wild weaving and spinning (the Studio)
Cane and ratan seating (the Workshop)

Wednesday 14th, 21st and 28th May – Mosaics
Including the reactive reuse of ceramics and glass

Thursday 15th, 22nd and 29th May – Decorative surfacing techniques
Including decoupage, tromp l’oeui, stencilling

Friday 16th, 23rd and 30th May – Knitting and crochet
Including guerrilla and free interpretation

Saturday 17th, 24th and 31st May – Soft textile materials
Including cushions, cosies, soft toys and felt (the Studio)
Seat covering and upholstery (the Workshop)
The sessions are free but participants are asked to donate an item that they make to this unique upcycling store – or  make a donation if they wish to take what they make home. At the end of the three weeks, some groups may choose to continue their collaboration at The ReStore.

If you would like to participate, please contact –  or 01803 868637.

New this month! Transition Social

Whether you're an established Transitioner, a curious local, or a visitor to Totnes, come along for a chat, a drink and to meet some friendly TTT folk! The first social will be on May 9th from 6pm, in the refurbished King William pub next to the TTT office. We'll be holding these monthly throughout the summer, venues to be confirmed.

TTT 's May events

All events are open to all, so just turn up unless it says booking is required. Please see the calendar for more information on events and skillshares.

Date                     Please click the link for more information
Thursday 1st           Fiesta Solidaria, Schumacher college 7-9pm
Saturday 3rd           Seedy Sisters Seedling Swap, Holly Villas allotments Ashprington, 2-4pm
Sunday 4th             Forest gardening, Follaton Arboretum, 10am-1pm
Wednesday 7th       Guest speaker at Food Group meeting, TTT office, 7.30pm
Friday 9th               Transition Walk, meet at TTT office at 2pm
Friday 9th               Transition Social, King Willam pub, 6pm
Saturday 10th         Transition Homes Community Consultation, Dartington Village Hall, 11am-3pm
Monday 12th           REconomics Totnes Style, REconomy Centre, 10am-4pm (booking required)
Tuesday 13th          Local Entrepreneur Forum, Civic Hall, 9.30am-4pm (booking required)
Tuesday 13th          TTT film night, Methodist Church, 7.30pm
Sunday 18th            Play Action, Totnes weir, 10am-1pm
Monday 27th           TTTAN Upcycling, REconomy Centre, 6-8pm
Every Tuesday        Time To Breathe, Forge Yoga Centre, 12.30-1.30pm
Every Thursday       Incredible Edible, Steamer Quay, 5-6.30pm

Transition Town Totnes, 43 Fore Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5HN.
Tel: 01803 867358 Email:
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