General meeting at Shree Ram Krishna Centre, 7th Sept 2011

Present: Usha, Anila, Karl, Sue, Diana, Andrew, Paul (chair), Amy, Steve, Jon (minute taker).

Issues arising from the last meeting:

University Links for Apple Day: Amy suggested that we should talk to Loughborough Students Union (LSU) who have an international students officer and also the Action group, both of whom will be keen to get more students involved in community projects.  The international students may be able to bring more regional apple based dishes from different cultures.  Diana said that she also has regular contact with someone from LSU at meetings she attends.

ACTION: Amy, Andrew and Diana will talk to people they know in LSU about getting more international students and dishes involved in Apple Day (subject to the restrictions on ingredients detailed below).

Landshare Project: Steve had given a flyer to John Storer House (JSH) which they had displayed and put in their newsletter, but no elderly/infirm people had come forward to offer the use of their gardens so far.  There was some discussion about whether we need CRB checks, etc to provide security for vulnerable people.  Andrew suggested that we should consider the garden plot at the University as it is already under way – Amy said that it had been set up by the RADAR arts group but had now passed to an LSU society to run and they were always looking for willing volunteers.  Anila pointed out that if we want to involve the Shree Ram Krishna Centre community we would need to clearly explain what the scheme was about.

ACTION: Anita would ask her Friday Group about gardens, but there may be cultural issues around having people come into their garden.  Amy and Andrew will talk to the LSU gardening folk to see if they are interested.  Sue volunteered to meet with Cath from JSH to discuss what we would need in the way of security, vetting, CRB checks, etc.

Community Orchard: Yvette and Neville weren’t present at tonight’s meeting so we’ve no report on progress with this idea.  Diana suggested that we could ask Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) to always plant fruit/nut trees when they are landscaping, which seemed like an excellent idea.

ACTION: Diana to ask CBC about planting fruit/nut trees at their next meeting in a couple of weeks.

Energy: Caroline couldn’t make this event but she was keen on discussing energy use and generation and has volunteered to lead a discussion on energy issues at the next general meeting.  Sue suggested that in the future we might want to consider having a demonstration house with energy saving/generating options.  Diana described how Germany allowed microgeneration to be funded on large buildings by individuals who then get paid for the energy generated.  Jon mentioned that there is a PlanLoCal event in Leicester on 29th October looking at planning issues and opportunities for community energy projects.

Next we had reports on current projects/schemes:

Green Drinks: The first of these was held on 25th August and, although not as many people turned up as was hoped for, those that were there had a good evening and discussed a range of topics.  This is going to be a regular monthly event and the next one will be held on September 22nd from 7pm in the Swan in the Rushes pub on Derby Road .

Community Outreach: Steve and Paul have made contact with the Hastings Ward Residents Association, who would like to devote one of their future meetings to discussing Transition related issues.  This is possibly going to be on 10th November, but Steve/Paul will confirm the time and venue soon.

ACTION: Steve or Paul to confirm the date, time and venue and distribute information on the Transition Loughborough Google Group.

Shree Ram Krishna Centre: Paul thanked Anila and the Centre for hosting us this evening.  Anila said that the Centre is also hosting a health day on October 7th from 10.30am to 3pm.  This event is focusing on cancer issues, with a bus coming that can provide screening and professional advice.  It will also cover healthy eating, yoga and other health issues in the community and everyone is invited to attend. Anila said that the Leicester Stroke Club are likely to attend, so there should be a good number of people there.  Steve asked if Transition Loughborough could have a stall at the event to promote healthy sustainable veg growing and Anila said that shouldn’t be a problem.

ACTION: Steve and Anila to liase about the stall.  Jon to promote the event to the wider Transition Loughborough community.

Financial Statement: Steve gave a brief overview of where we are with money.  We have a bank account now, but most of the costs of meetings, flyers, etc have been covered by individual contributions so far.  We made two grant applications but both were turned down.  Sue is keeping a folder of potential grant providers if we want to try them for particular projects – Steve said that its probably worth giving some a go.  Steve said that his idea for raising money at meetings is a “Give and Take” table where people donate items and then pay to take others, the money hopefully offsetting future meeting costs.

Apple Day: This is going to be held on Nov 4th 2011 from 10.30am to 1pm at the Shree Ram Krishna Centre.  Judy, who wasn’t present tonight, had suggested that we need to get commitments of who is doing what.  Anila and Usha said that they’d need 15-30 minutes to demonstrate Indian chutneys and pickles.  Steve offered to make an apple crumble.  Diana said that she would try to make potato and apple fritters.  Jon said he would bring a supply of dehydrated apple chips.  Sue also has a number of recipes.  The format is likely to be based around demonstrations as the Centre has a kitchen available, however people can bring pre-made examples if they want/prefer and then just spent 10-15 minutes explaining how they are made.

Anila said that there are restrictions on the foodstuffs that can be brought into the Centre because there is a temple in the building: none of the dishes can contain eggs, meat, gelatine or alcohol.   This is strictly adhered to (so no cider or apple chunk cakes for example).

The subject of collecting apples was discussed.  Diana said that there were lots of apple trees publicly available at the Outwoods.  Sue said that she had a friend who may possibly be able to supply some apples from her trees (but these would be picked by her as they aren’t publicly available).  It was suggested that a list of publicly available “forage-able” apple trees should be drawn up that could be given away, even if it would be too late for people to pick some of them this year.   It would also be a good idea for people who are committed to bringing dishes to write up the recipes so that they can be given away at the event as well.

Next Paul asked Anila to tell us a bit about the Shree Ram Krishna Centre and if the community it supports would be interesting in Transition related issues (sustainable food supply, local energy generation, transport issues).  Anila said that these issues are definitely of interest to the community who use the Centre. They have a “Friday Group” of 20-22 women who do various trips, social events, etc.  There is also a mother/toddler group and there used to be a “Monday Group” of Muslim women meet there.  Loughborough College also use the Centre for some courses.  The Friday Group are looking to get a shared allotment so that they can grow Indian herbs, spices and vegetables together, but there is a long waiting list for plots in the town.

Paul then asked some of the other people at the meeting what they would like to get out of Transition Loughborough.  Amy said she was keen on sustainable food production.  Diana was hoping to get heavy traffic removed from the centre of Loughborough.  Andrew was interested in permaculture/forest gardening and also on showing some films on the subject.  Steve was also keen on this and mentioned that Judy was hoping to arrange some film shows at local schools so there was opportunities for collaboration between them.  Karl was keen on cycling (so transport issues) and also gardening/allotmenteering.  Paul suggested that a future Transition Loughborough project should be a “bicycle maintenance day”.  There was some discussion about this, so it looks like it might be worth looking into, possibly in collaboration with a local bike shop, cycling promotion group and/or amateur cycle repair guru.

Next General Meeting: Monday 3rd October 2011 at Rosebery St Peter’s Community Centre (the Spectrum Centre) at 7.15pm.  All welcome as usual!

Any Other Business: Sue said that the Loughborough Youth Council were interested in environmental issues so she’s going to contact them about Transition Loughborough.

Steve said that he will put a request out on the Transition Loughborough Google Group for people who know where/can harvest apples for the Apple Day event.

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