Christmas Tree Festival and Potato Day pre-orders

A couple of quick reminders of what’s going on in Transition Loughborough at the moment:

Christmas Tree Festival

Firstly we have a tree in the All Saints with Holy Trinity Church annual community Christmas Tree festival. The church is open to visitors from now until Sunday (see times in the poster below) with a £2.50 entry fee for adults and free entry for children. Our tree makes use of reused, repaired and recycled materials to show that Christmas doesn’t need to be a festival full of single use plastic and wasteful consumption. We also have our recent Community Heroes award certificate and information material on hand.

Potato Day Pre-order Deadline

Secondly, we are getting very close to our 6th December cut off date for pre-orders for our Potato Day. If you want to order from our full range of seed potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, beans, peas, green manures and other veg growing sundries, you need to get orders made by 6th December, otherwise sadly we won’t be able to accept them. So please get your orders in online or by sending us a completed order form ASAP.

Potato Talk Text

Talking of Potato Day, after the recent very successful Potato Talk by Karen Gimson at Fearon Hall, Karen has kindly provided us with the text of her talk. So if you couldn’t make it to the talk, you can now catch up with her great information, hints and tips by downloading the PDF version. There also still time to make a donation to help Rainbows Hospice too!

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Potato Day Seed Orders and Christmas Trees

Transition Loughborough have two projects under way during November that you might be interested in.

Firstly we’re in the midst of taking pre-orders for our Potato Day in January. You can order seed potatoes, beans, peas, onions, shallots, garlic, green manures and potato growing accessories from our friends at Transition Chesterfield by going to their Potato Day website. The pre-orders will be collected from Chesterfield in late January and then distributed from our stall in Loughborough Market on Saturday 26th January. You have until 6th December 2018 to place your pre-orders – after then it’s too late!

The small profit we make on each of these orders helps fund Transition Loughborough projects for the rest of the year, so not only are you getting great value vegetable seeds but you’re also helping the group pay its way through 2019. When ordering please remember to let the Chesterfield folk know by email that you want your order delivering to Loughborough. For more information about Potato Day and ordering, see our dedicated Potato Day 2019 page.


The other project that we working on during November is our entry to the All Saints with Holy Trinity annual Christmas Tree Festival.  Our tree is trying to demonstrate the ethos behind Transition Loughborough and so is using decorations made by local people from upcycled materials, borrowed LED lights and a tree that is not the conventional plastic artificial tree or imported cut down spruce! We’ll be adding messages about Transition projects and ideas, and have leaflets around it for people to find out more about Transition. See the photo below from Janet Smith of the bare skeleton tree ready to decorate. If you want to help add to the tree we’re hoping to run another session of upcycled decoration making at the Purple Pumpkin Patch on the evening of Monday 19th November. The tree has to be ready by 22nd November and the festival itself runs in the church from 28th November to 2nd December.

Lastly a reminder that our friends in the local Fairtrade group are holding their annual Fairtrade Fair this coming Saturday, 17th November at Loughborough Baptist Church from 10am to 3pm. There’s bound to be some great ethical gifts available that will make lovely Xmas presents.

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Potato Day pre-ordering now open!

Good news! Our chums at Transition Chesterfield have opened the online Potato Day pre-ordering website that we share with them, so you can now order seed potatoes, peas, beans, onions, shallots, garlic, green manures and various garden sundries. The sundries include The Crop Club recycled coffee-sack potato planters – a new offering this year from a Loughborough social enterprise.

Seed potato price is 14p per tuber for pre-ordering only. If you want to take advantage of the full range of potato varieties on offer at this price, along with the other seeds and sundries you will need to visit before 6th December to make your selections.  To ensure delivery to Loughborough, please ensure that you reply to after placing your order to say you want your order delivered to Loughborough – otherwise it will turn up in Chesterfield!

For those of you who prefer a paper order form and paying by cheque posted to us, we have a paper order form. These can be picked up from Transition events before 6th December or downloaded and printed out.

To get you in the mood for potato and seed ordering, don’t forget that on Saturday 27th October 2018 we have Karen Gimson joining us at Fearon Hall to give a talk on potato growing. Karen is a regular on BBC Radio Leicester offering gardening advice and answering listeners’ questions. Karen is a garden designer, a trustee of Hardy Plant Society, and a Rainbows’ Ambassador. She’ll be talking to us about her life as a garden designer; growing vegetables organically,  using the no-dig approach and, in particular, growing potatoes.

The event starts at 10:15am in Fearon Hall and is free, although we will be accepting donations for Rainbows Hospice at Karen’s request. To find out more about Karen’s gardening, check out her blog at: Fearon Hall also has a Upcycle Your Life stalls on that morning, so there’ll be lots to see and do there.

We also have a poster available for the talk which we’d love you to share with friends, co-workers and local gardeners.

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Radio interview and Fruit Routes this weekend

Two quick items this week. Firstly our very own Steve King was interviewed this morning on BBC Radio Leicester. This was as a result of the Charnwood Borough Council “Community Heroes” awards.  If you missed it the show is on the BBC radio player website for a while – its 2 hours and 25 minutes into the 16th October 2018 breakfast show.  Steve talks about why Transition Loughborough does apple pressings at community events at this time of year and explains how the Charnwood Chai project was set up to help combat racism by bringing people from diverse communities together over a cup of tea.

On Friday and Saturday Steve and the apple press will be out again at the University’s Fruit Route autumn events. As well as the apple pressings there will be a “bake off” competition, walks around  the Fruit Route, workshops & dicussions, and a Saturday evening gathering around a bonfire at the students’ Landscaping and Gardening Society garden (to the rear of car park 5 and near the Spinney Hill Drive entrance in the centre of the campus).  Here’s a flyer with more details of the various events taking place over the two days:

Fruit Routes 2018 flyer

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October Happenings

The nights are drawing in and the last of the summer crops are being harvested before the frosts come… yes October is here and Autumn is well under way. We’re involved with several events during the month, so here’s a quick heads up for things to add to your diary.

This Sunday (14th October) will have our apple press at the Open Heaven’s food themed Autumn celebration from 10:30am to 1pm at The St Peters Centre on Storer Road. Please bring apples to be squashed into juice and clean bottles to put the juice in!  There’s also a hog roast and cake/pie making competitions going on around the church.

Friday 20th October and Saturday 21 Octobers sees the Fruit Route harvest events return to the University campus.  There’s a Campus Bake-Off competition, walks around the fruit route, arts activities and a bonfire at LAGS garden on Saturday evening.

On Thursday 18th October 2 – 5pm,  Friday 19th 10 – 1pm, Wednesday 24th 10.30am til 2pm and Friday 26th October from 2pm to 5pm, Sarah at the Purple Pumpkin Patch shop on Ashby Road will be running upcycled Christmas tree decoration making workshops. These are child friendly sessions (and thus held during the day during the two half term weeks different schools in the area have) and there’s no need to book – just drop into the shop whilst they are on.

At the end of the month, on Saturday 27th October, Karen Gimson will be kicking off our Potato Day 2019 pre-ordering season by sharing her knowledge of vegetable growing at our Potato Talk in Fearon Hall.  Karen is well known for providing gardening information and advice on BBC Radio Leicester’s Down to Earth show. The talk will start at 10:15am and you’ll be able to ask veg growing questions as well as pick up paper Potato Day order forms and enjoy some Upcycle Your Life stalls focusing on allotment produce of all kinds, jams, chutney, pickles and preserves. The event is FREE to attend, although we will be collecting donations towards Rainbows Hospice, for which Karen is an ambassador.

So hopefully a little something for everyone – we look forward to seeing you!

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Potato Talk with Karen Gimson on 27th October 2018


Potato Talk with Karen Gimson
Saturday 27th October
10:30am-11:30am (arrive from 10:15am)
Fearon Hall, Rectory Rd, Loughborough
FREE, donations to Rainbows appreciated
Organised by Transition Lougborough

Karen Gimson is a garden designer, a regular on BBC Radio Leicester’s Down to Earth programme, a trustee of Hardy Plant Society, and a Rainbows’ Ambassador. She’ll be talking to us about her life as a garden designer; growing vegetables organically and using the no-dig approach and, in particular, growing potatoes.

At the end of the talk Transition Loughborough will be launching Potato Day pre-orders for our fifth annual Potato Day. Choose from a list of more than 40 varieties of seed potato, plus other seeds. They will be available to pick up from Loughborough Market on Sat 26th Jan 2019. All proceeds from Potato Day go to Transition Loughborough.

Karen’s blog:

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Eco-social evening on Monday 17th September at the Boat Inn

Just a quick reminder that Monday 17th September sees an eco-social at the Boat Inn on Meadow Lane, Loughborough from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. It is intended as an informal get together of individuals interested in eco-friendly living, tackling climate change and supporting a transition towards a low carbon society to get together and chat about ideas and projects over a drinks. Come along and meet some like minded folk.


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Notes on AGM on 4th September 2018

Present: Bertil, Steve, Tobias, Martha, Jon, Janet C, Suella, Sarah, Emily, Luke, Ruth, Meg, Marie, Janet S, Madeleine, Shobhna, Anila, Caroline, Jason.

Apologies: Ken & Lillian, Sue-MV.

Chairing: Martha


We have two account Transition Town Loughborough £1103.73 and Transition Loughborough containing £365.20. Main expenditure of liability insurance and main sources of income are donations, bags, plants, potato day and apple pressings. Agreed that we had can use some of this money to support projects discussed later in the meeting.

Recent events and activities

Steve said we attended Picnic in the Park, Hasting Community Association summer fete, the Mela, and the Upcycle Your Life events. Emily said we’ve had 8 Upcycle Your Life events at Fearon Hall so far this year, and they have worked very well. If anyone has any ideas to run at future Upcycle Your Life events please have a word with Emily. These events have been a good work of linking lots of lovely local community organisations and people together. Subsequent ones will be a bit longer, and will be food & harvest themed ones in September and October and a festive theme in December.

Janet C told us about Grow Loughborough 2018 which was took place on the Herrick Road/Forest Road side of the town which brought together lots of social organisations that were involved in growing, arts and well being, including JSH, crop club, TL, well being cafe, etc. Had about 450 people visit over the weekend of the event, with much positive feedback. Had a Charnwood Borough Council grant of £6K this year, so need to start fundraising now to run it again next year.

Janet S said Picnic in the Park was very successful, engaging lots of people. Could have done with more helpers on the stall, even if for just half an hour. Need to remember that most people attending that sort of event aren’t there for Transition, so we need clearer, more
basic information to grab people’s attention. Steve said the Hastings event went well with Charnwood Chai present, which helps to draw people in. We donated some of the money we raised to the Hastings Community Association.

Suella said we should note that Transition Loughborough has been involved with Loughborough in Bloom. We don’t have the result yet, but the judge (Colin Wood) that came all the way from Boston, Lincs spent a good deal of time in both LAGS and our community allotment on King George Road.

We had first apple pressing of the 2018 Autumn season this last weekend at Sutton Bonington. We’re concentrating on doing events we’ve done before because Steve is mostly doing them himself this year as Jon isn’t available at weekends. Apple pressings are a really great way of engaging with people in events to encourage the use of food that would otherwise go to waste. Caroline suggested putting a list of the dates on the Google Group so that Steve can get some help. People encouraged to safe plastic bottles for apple pressing events so that they can take the juice away.

Caroline explained about Potato Day, that we share with Transition Chesterfield. Idea is to encourage people to grow their own whilst helping raise funds to support our projects. We offer pre-orders between October and early December for a large range of varieties. On Saturday 26th January the orders will be distributed from a stall in Loughborough Market, along with three or four varieties of seed potatoes for sale on the day. This year we are having Karen Gimson who does the the gardening on Radio Leicester come to Fearon Hall on 27th October. Her fee will be a donation to Rainbows Hospice. Emily also suggest that Rainbows could have a stall at one of the Upcycle Your Life events.

Next year the seed swap will be held separately from the Potato Day. Decide on 2nd February at Fearon Hall for the seed swap so that we can tell Garden Organic. Hopefully tie in with Upcycle Your Life event at the same time, and Valentines – sowing the seeds of love!

Community allotment has gone well, with new members coming along. Crops have grown well despite the drought, and some crops have been distributed to Fearon Hall, etc. Plans for growing ginger next year! Could have a workshop on Asian vegetable growing. Suella knows someone who does a good talk on exotic vegetables. Martha mentioned LAGS, the student garden on campus that meets regularly on Friday afternoons. Already preparing for Freshers bazaar in October to recruit new members from the newly arriving students.

Forthcoming events and Fearon Hall

Transition Loughborough and Fearon Hall have been building a relationship together for several years, linking events and projects such as Charnwood Chai. Meg said through the projects being done at Fearon Hall there has been a lot of community support for closer links to be developed and to build on community relationships we’ve been involved with. One of the key events in Fearon Hall’s year is a Harvest event, in conjunction with All Saints Church next door. This will be on 6th October and Transition Loughborough folk will be there.

Meg also keen to broaden the reach of the Fruit Routes on campus to the wider community, and link to the harvest events on campus on 19th and 20th October. Meg wants to celebrate anything edible, crafts, preservation and making foods more widely accessible. Meg is looking to develop the green space around the Hall, the church, the historic quarter old rectory museum and Fun Palaces national event scheme. Meg very keen to hear from anyone who wants to get involved with planning and delivering the Harvest event. There’s a Fruit Routes meeting on 11th September to look at supporting the growth of the project out
from the University. Idea is to not be inclusive to Fearon Hall and its local area but to show how other groups around Charnwood could use similar techniques to link between each other.

Steve described Charnwood Chai, which is a way to challenge some of the negative social attitudes towards diversity and multiculturalism, by discussions over a cup of tea. Anila from Anand Mangal community group agreed that tea was good way to start conversations between people. Suella said she was very impressed with what had been achieved so far by the Anand Mangal ladies.

Sarah said that TL are entering a tree in the annual Christmas Tree festival run in All Saints parish church. She and Janet S. have been working on a list of potential of what can be used at decorations. We’ve booked space for a 5ft hazel tree with lights, so that the tree itself can be reused in a community garden after the event. Decorations could represent the areas that TL are involved with, such as mini bicycles to represent transport, windmills made from waste plastic to represent energy, hearts to show hearts and minds. We can do lots around crafts, recycling and plastic waste. Costs to be sent to the Google Group to agree.

Emily talked about Upcycle Your Life events. The council funding runs out in January, which is £120 per month. TL could possibly put some of our money towards this. Meg said that she’d been looking at groups that do “Community Mondays” scheme to let people volunteering to pick up skills, applying them to their local area and being supported by
their local community centre (“sharing skills, sharing time and sharing food”).

Marie said that Transition Leicester’s Leicester Fixers have received a grant to run repair events throughout Leicestershire. She wanted to know what sort of support that was in Loughborough to run more repair related events? Jon and Janet S. have arranged events in the past, but neither are currently available to attend weekend Repair Cafe events. Marie said the grant includes training one person from Loughborough as a PAT tester for use in community events. Marie said they are planning an end of the year (2019) event to celebrate repairing. Meg was interested in working with Marie on this, possibly to help people get skills to get back into work, with some support from Government/Job Centres. Jon said that although he can’t be at Repair Cafes, he’s happy to contact repairers, etc to organise the event if someone is available on the ground on the day.

Steve told us about the council’s Charnwood Community Heroes, for which Transition Loughborough has been nominated. There’s an award ceremony on 29th September at John Storer House. Meg said that there may be a grant available for a project within the Lemyngton Ward from one of the local councillors, but we will need to apply for that and money would need to be spent by December. Talked about what event this could be – we didn’t want to just make up an event/project just to get money! Decided to take the kind offer to the Google Group for ideas and people who would like to take this forward.

Caroline said our energy group haven’t done very much recently and wonder if a new event next year could be run? She works for Marches Energy Agency which have an energy saving demonstration vehicle that has just been refurbished (we’d used it some years ago to promote Open Homes events). She was wondering if there was interest in using it for an energy saving/efficiency based event next Spring. It would need one or two people from Transition Loughborough to come along to help staff the vehicle alongside Caroline. There was a lot of interest in having at an event – possibly alongside Fearon Hall’s summer event where there would already be lots of people around.


Janet S asked if we could have some notice boards for events. Jon said we had an A-frame notice board and a fold out board, but Janet was keen on having a pinboard type display board. Also had a suggestion of getting some properly printed leaflets made that wouldn’t have inks run at outdoor events and that could be used to promote something house to house. Janet C and Emily talked about collaborating on making a cut down, snappier version of the general promotional leaflet we have.

Emily said there is an eco-social at the Boat Inn alongside the canal on the evening of 17th September- all welcome. The pub have also said that they are happy for us to grow edibles in their planters, along with a promotion for the TL community allotment that Emily is coordinating. The Boat are also keen on supporting community meetings, etc.

Sarah said that she’s looking for someone to make corn dollies in the Leicestershire area – please let her know (at the Purple Pumpkin Patch on Ashby Road) if you  know of anyone.

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Things to look forward to in September

We’ve had a long, hot summer (and there may be some climate change discussions to have about that!) and we’re now heading towards Autumn.  Transition Loughborough is involved with a number of meetings and events during September that hopefully you’ll be able to come and take part in.

We start off on Sunday 2nd September when the Transition Loughborough apple press will be at the Sutton Bonington show with the Greening Sutton Bonington folk. This is usually great fun, with the village turning the first of its apple harvest into juice for show goers to sample.   This year we’re restricting the number of apple pressings we’re attending as we have a limited volunteer base to run them with, but there will still be a number of established events such as this that we will be attending during September and October. Later in September for we have  pressings at the Forest Road Green Belt event on Saturday 22nd from and the Herrick Road apple pressing event on Saturday 29th.

On Tuesday 4th September we have our Annual General Meeting (AGM) from 7.30-9.30pm at Fearon Hall.  The agenda for the meeting is currently:

  • Welcome & Finance update (10 minutes)
    – Summer Events Reports
    – Apple pressings
    – Potato Day Update
    – Allotment/Lags update
    – Fearon Hall
    – Charnwood Chai
    – Autumn Festival
    – Xmas Tree Festival
    – Upcycling Events
    – Fruit Route
    – Upcycling Network
    – Community Mondays/Social Food Network
    – Community Heroes & Brochure
    – New energy project idea from Caroline
  • AOB (15 minutes)

All are welcome to come along to learn about what Transition Loughborough has been doing and help discuss and guide our development over the next year.

Another meeting happening in September is the next Eco-Social on Monday 17th at the Boat Inn. This is an informal meeting of like minded “green” folk in the town to chat and share ideas for projects and events. There may also be some sharing of preserves and home grown fruit and veggies!  Again all are welcome – just turn up on the night at the pub.  Based on the last such event over half the pub will be full of eco-friendly types so we should be easy to spot.

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Transition at All Saints fête this coming Saturday

Just a quick note to let you know that Transition Loughborough will be having a stall at the All Saints church & Fearon Hall summer “Fête on the Green” this Saturday. We’ll have plants and cloth shopping bags for sale, plus you can come to chat with us about sustainability issues or to find out more about our ongoing projects.  There will also be Charnwood Chai on hand to provide a space for cups of tea and chats.

The Fête on the Green itself is being run by the church and Fearon Hall and starts at 11am on Saturday 7th July, going on until 3pm. There’ll be food & drink, arts & crafts, a bouncy castle and, if you’re a dog owner, they’ve got a dog show going on too!

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