You are invited to come along to the Transition New Mills Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm on Monday 8th April, at the Volunteer Centre on Union Road.
This will be an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the group, learn about the various projects carried out, and look forward to the forthcoming year.
Papers are available here.
We welcome nominations for the 3 posts in the Administration Group (2 generic, 1 Treasurer). If you would like to stand, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org by 6.30pm on 8th April, and be prepared to present a short pitch at the AGM prior to elections.
Blog post by Sue Cooper, Transition New Mills Reading Group
The New Mills Transition Discussion Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker.
Our book this month was The Running Hare (The secret life of farmland) by John Lewis-Stempel published by Penguin Books. In some ways this followed a theme set last time in our discussions of Wilding by Isabella Tree, looking at what happens when land is managed or farmed differently to the modern methods of intensive agriculture – in this case a field in Herefordshire which the author takes on for a year to grow a crop of wheat, using traditional farming methods, and a wide border of wildflowers.
The results are fascinating and heartening, showing the power of nature to recover from the mono-cultures of agribusiness which create quite ‘dead’ environments, as well as a celebration and appreciation of the skills and cultural history of traditional agricultural workers.
This book was a ‘lighter’ read than our usual fare; as well as being an observant ecologist cataloguing and describing the emerging and changing flora and fauna he includes anecdotes of rural life, poetry, songs, discourses on agricultural history, language and literature, a rich weave of fascinating facts and engaging descriptions. Some of us found his style of writing attractive, enjoying the richness and depth, others were less enthusiastic, but all agreed that is was an interesting read and a welcome reminder of the rhythm of the seasons and a celebration of our connection to the natural world.
It is an open criticism of modern agricultural methods; he writes of the ‘chemical brothers’ in the next field whose use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers together with modern farm machinery delivers high yields but a mono-cultural environment, ‘every time one buys the lie of cheap food a flower or a bird dies’. His field produces an abundance and variety of wild flowers, attracts all kinds of wild life including the hares of the title and also produces a decent crop of wheat but at the cost of some heavy physical work. No easy answers. We had a lively discussion on the book which moved on to include a debate on the Common Agricultural Policy, farming subsidies and Brexit, and the worrying issue of modern disengagement from the natural world.
Our next meeting, on Monday February 18th, will look at the 12 principles of permaculture, through song! Contact us at email@example.com for details.
Post from Liz Longden:
It doesn’t seem that long since I was writing a blog for last New Year. Looking back at it, I have actually achieved quite a lot of what I said I wanted to do, the biggest one of which was to not let my life be ruled by anxiety any more. I can’t say that I don’t still struggle with this because I do, but the positive is that I have managed to move forward despite anxiety. In terms of the plastics campaign, lots happened last year. We had the One World Festival with plastic as a theme. I have managed to get our local schools involved, and have talked to 2 class loads of children and a hut full of beaver scouts. There is a good chance that we will have an Ecobricks project with the schools in the spring. We have Terracycle boxes for various packaging up and running.( Thank you Penny) We have been in contact with groups in Marple and Macclesfield, and had a stall at Hayfield Apple day. So a fairly productive year.
But this is a new year. Time for some new thinking. Plans are afoot in Transition New Mills, and I want to be fully involved with those plans. The obvious focus for a renewed effort is Climate Change. We have only eleven and a half years as a species to limit the damage to our home planet. It’s not long. So in line with the principle that you can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk…
I am slowly moving our household towards a low meat diet. I think I could easily be vegetarian, but I am not the only one in the house, so, slowly, slowly. I haven’t quite got my brain around veganism yet, but perhaps I can reduce eggs and cheese slowly.
I am trying to be very disciplined with car journeys, and have been talking about ways to share a car, just informal ways at first, like friends using one car to do all their shopping.
I have been trying to deal with the bits of the house that are not well enough insulated, and will spend a big chunk of a small windfall on this.
I am planning a low consumption year. Not wasting food, or anything else that I can help. No impulse buys. I am trying to shop for locally produced food, and trying not to buy anything from outside Europe. (or wrapped in plastic-haven’t forgotten that.)
These are self imposed limits, and I am happy to accept them. The things that I really value, like the company of my friends and family, like good music, like being in our wonderful landscape, like reading; these are all still available, carbon cheap, and damn near free. These are the things that actually make me happy.
If we needed a reminder about the importance of Transition and its related activities, this week we had had it with the publication of the latest UN Report. It makes for sobering reading; climate breakdown is happening now, and we are in the last chance saloon if we want to prevent it from going from bad to catastrophic (you choose!).
Clearly all of us has an individual moral obligation to make sure we install as much insulation as we can, travel less, consume less, eat less meat, but this alone is not enough. We need Governments to help us at all levels, and crucially we need some sort of collective response at a local level, and that is where Transition comes in.
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be part of the reaction to this week’s report.
It was great to get out and meet people at the Carnival, One World Festival, Community Orchard Apple Day, and at the forthcoming Hayfield Apple Day this Saturday 13th Oct. There was loads of support and understanding from the community, which felt very positive. We now need to turn that support and awareness into practical action – so don’t hold back: pitch in, the world needs you!
One of the highlights was the Festival’s ‘Incredible Treadable’ walk, touring a variety of Transition’s and other partners’ projects to give examples of the types of activities we need more of in order to transition our economy and environment into what’s needed to tackle climate breakdown and other problems caused by pushing the boundaries of social and environmental boundaries. What pleased us most was that there was so much to talk about we couldn’t fit it all in. The projects and more can be seen on our Map Jam, and we plan to put the walk on website also.
Incredible Edible update
Growing food locally has a much lower environmental footprint, is healthier, and good for your wellbeing, and can be shared with others.
A very hot and dry summer was a challenge for the Incredible Edible sites, but they survived and have largely recovered since:
– New Mills Primary School now have a polytunnel and have used the edible garden throughout the summer term for educational purposes
– we teamed up with Visit New Mills to establish planters at New Mills Central station, looked after by station staff
– planted herbs at the Tranquility Garden at Providence Church
– Torr Top car park and New Mills Central now have signs to explain what the various herbs and leaves are
– Thanks to a County Council grant, we are able to extend our activities especially for vulnerable young people and adults to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing.
If you would like to be kept informed of community gardening dates and short notice cancellations (usually due to bad weather), please email us at email@example.com
Those attending community events over the summer will have noticed much; plates made from renewable materials, refillable beer glasses, and recycling points, all made possible by sterling work with event supervisors, suppliers and the councils.
The One World Festival had reducing plastics as its overall theme, and the Transition stall had a range of plastic-free alternatives to many household products, and an Eco-brick making demonstration.
A focus for the next steps will involve working with younger people through schools and clubs.
If your school or club wants to be involved, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussion Group Next Meeting
The Discussion Group has covered some interesting ground, including Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics and Wilding by Isabella Tree.
The next meeting is on Monday 15th October when the group will attend the RSPB meeting in Marple: Ian Rotherham talking about ‘Ghost Woods’, 7.30 pm at Marple Senior Citizen’s Memorial Hall.
Please contact us on email@example.com for details if you want to meet up there or arrange lifts.
As agreed at the AGM, our page on the LocalGiving donations site has now been allowed to lapse due to the high operating costs and poor level of incentives and service. Until we find a suitable replacement, donations can now be made in cash at events, or by cheque to ‘Transition New Mills’ and posted to 28 Longlands Road, New Mills, SK22 3BY.
Special thanks must go to Jill Hulme, who has been offering some fantastic but surplus allotment produce to customers at the High Peak Food Hub in return for a voluntary donation. She has raised a fantastic £150 in this way, so many thanks to her and everyone who donated!
We held ten official Balsam bashes over the summer to help keep the invasive weed Himalayan Balsam at bay in environmentally sensitive areas in the Torrs, Mousley Bottom and the Picker.
Held on the third Thursday of each month, usually at the Royal oak unless the pub quiz is on, from 7:30 to 9:30pm. Everyone welcome to come along to talk about anything from future projects to the football!