The world is facing the serious challenges of climate change, depleting resources, and economic insecurity. In particular, the end of cheap oil is going to impact on our lives, whether we like it or not. We could wait for governments to do something, but some people believe it is up to local communities to start taking action.
Crystal Palace Transition Town is a rapidly growing community initiative. Local people are being encouraged to get involved in a wide range of projects including food growing, energy saving and generation, and supporting local, sustainable and ethical products.
Local resident Andy Bodycombe said “it’s about awareness raising and empowering local people in the face of inaction from Governments and Industry and rediscovering the communities that we used to rely on. It’s also about community building and developing a sense of local resilience”.
The Transition Town, with support from Croydon Council and Capital Growth, has set up its first community garden in Westow Park, where local residents can find out more about how to grow their own food on regular gardening days.
Crystal Palace Transition Town were able to access Westow Park thanks to the support of Friends of Westow Park. Since coming together three years ago, the Friends of Westow Park have raised over £100,000 to replace old play equipment, revamp the playground and add new climbing structures for older children. They have also organised work days where nearly 500 hedge trees have been planted, along with bulbs and wild flowers.
The idea behind the community garden is the brainchild of local food writer, Rachel de Thample, who says: “There are lots of mouth-watering things planned like elderflower cordial and jam-making events, summer herbal tea parties and more.”
The garden will also be a hub for swapping gardening tips and a place where people can go to learn more about gardening, growing vegetables, making compost and digging.
The energy group arranged a “Draught-Busting” workshop in February and has plans for a “Solar Panel Advice Shop” including tips on choosing a reliable installer. A new waste group has also been set up.
Meanwhile, the local and fair group is busy organizing events to promote Fairtrade Fortnight, including a film screening in Gipsy Hill Tavern of the award-winning “Black Gold” and a “Local and Fair Day” on Saturday March 3rd. The day will include a bicycle powered chocolate fountain and smoothie-maker, stories and organic cakes in the library, a local fashion show and fair-trade wine-tasting at Gautama Bar.
FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT EVENTS
26 February, 7.30pm Screening of “Black Gold” (blackgoldmovie.com) at the Gipsy Hill Tavern.
3 March: 11am Stall outside Sainsbury’s featuring bicycle-powered chocolate fountain and smoothies;
2.30pm Fun for children in the Library, Westow Hill;
4pm Fashion show, 6pm Wine-tasting, both at the Gautama bar, Westow Hill.