This was the first Transition Loughborough large scale public meeting and we had 23 people attend in John Storer House. The attendees brought a wide range of skills and experience to the meeting – we had farmers and programmers, consultants and housewives, students and council workers, all focusing on what they already do to reduce their ecological footprint and what more they would like to see being done in the Loughborough area.
We started the meeting with a welcome from Paul from the core group and a 15 minute video introducing the basic ideas behind Transition Towns, Peak Oil and showing examples of how other Transition groups had tackled local food production issues. We then broke into four smaller groups to explore what we already did and what we would be interested in doing/supporting in the future.
After about 45 minutes of group work the groups reported back on the main items that had been discussed. These included:
- Community Supported Agriculture projects (included one being set up at an organic farm in Long Whatton).
- Encouraging local food production and helping people move towards self sufficiency.
- Training in vegetable growing, with particular interest in having a local Permaculture course.
- Land sharing/swapping, with people making use of otherwise unused garden and communal space.
- Localised micro-generation, including “Solar 100” purchasing clubs that have worked elsewhere.
- The need to get Peak Oil and carbon reduction more heavily integrated into the local planning process, including outreach/training of local planning officers.
- Reskilling – make do and mend training, how to sew, repair services, etc.
- Fruit walks around the town/campus and web based foraging maps.
- Sustainable transport issues, including provision of bicycle storage facilities, cycle paths, cycle training and bike maintenance groups.
- Getting Charnwood Borough Council to plant more fruiting trees around the town.
- Promoting growing your own using attractive plantings for Loughborough In Bloom 2012.
- A directory of local food producers and suppliers.
- Local currency (which might already be in use in Loughborough?)
We’re planning a follow up meeting in a fortnight – 21st July at 7.30pm in John Storer House again. At this next public meeting we aim to look at what concrete projects we can take forward based on the ideas thrown up by this evening’s discussions. The meeting is likely to be based around some general themes – food, energy, transport and local planning for example. People will be free to move between groups though – several people said this evening that they had a broad interest in many different aspects of the tasks ahead of us and wouldn’t want to just focus on one theme.
We’ll try to sort out a suitable structure for the July 21st follow up meeting at our core steering group planning meeting next Thursday 14th July. As usual anyone is invited to join – just get in touch with us via the Transition Loughborough Google Group.