We have had a wonderful year – these are a few of our photos – do you have more?
Community Gardens & Garden Share
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We’ll be spreading the word about Harvestshare and all our other great projects this weekend – 26th and 27th September 2015 – at Mary Arden’s Farm at Wilmcote near Stratford. We still need help picking apples in their lovely orchard on Saturday morning and on the stall, especially on Sunday. It’s a great opportunity to meet folk, have a go at apple pressing, sell some cloth bags, juice and jams and generally have a good time.
Come along to our members’ meeting to find out what we do and how you can get involved.
We have a guest speaker, organic gardener and keen advocate of environmentally friendly gardening Judith Conroy who’ll be joining us at 2pm .
Don’t throw things away if they can be repaired! That’s the message of Stratford’s first-ever Repair Café which is taking place next Saturday 28 March as part of the Warwickshire Week of Thrift.
Repair Cafes are places where you can get things repaired, find out how to do repairs yourself, and have fun as well as coffee and cake! Since the first Repair Café opened in Amsterdam in October 2009, hundreds have been run around the world – showing people how simple repairs can give things a new lease of life.
The Stratford Repair Café will be held in the Ken Kennett Centre on Justins Avenue, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 0DA from 11.00 am – 3.00pm on Saturday 28 March. There will be volunteer repairers on hand with expertise in sewing, knife sharpening, simple electrical and woodwork repairs, and general household repairs. All repairs will be carried out free, though owners may be asked to pay for new parts if these are needed.
“Too often we throw things away if they stop working when a simple repair might keep things going for a long time to come,” says Tanya Butchers of Transition Stratford, who has been organising the event. “A Repair Café offers simple repairs for free as well as showing owners how things might be fixed in the future. There’s also an opportunity to learn and to meet with others over a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade cake.”
A Repair Café is not a substitute for a professional repairer, says Tanya. “If the repair is beyond the capacity of our volunteer repairers, we’ll try to advise where it might be fixed,” she said. “The Repair Café is not competing with specialist repair businesses: in fact we want to encourage people to use local professionals. That’s why Transition Stratford has compiled a list of local repair businesses which will be available free at the Repair Café.”
For more information about the Repair Café, contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503. Continue reading
Community Energy Warwickshire, the energy co-operative which Transition Stratford helped to set up, has launched a new project to put more solar panels on the roofs of local hospitals.
Community Energy Warwickshre’s Solar-Powered Hospitals scheme put solar panels on roofs at Stratford and Warwick Hospitals in 2011-12. These panels are estimated to have generated around 120,000 units of electricity since installation, saving 60 tonnes of carbon and bringing in £45,000 in income.
Now the co-op is launching Phase 2 of the Solar-Powered Hospitals scheme with a plan to double its size through installations of panels at Leamington Spa and Warwick Hospitals. The Phase 2 scheme will cost £110,000, and Community Energy Warwickshire is inviting people to buy shares to fund the project.
Shareholders will receive a modest interest on their shares, and Community Energy Warwickshire will also use a third of its financial surplus to fund local social and charitable activity.
More details about the share offer and how to subscribe can be found on Communtiy Energy Warwickshire’s website at www.cew.coop.
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, which collects fruit that would otherwise go unpicked from gardens and orchards in and around Stratford upon Avon, has saved over two tonnes of fruit from going to waste this autumn.
Now in its third year, the scheme put over 2.3 tonnes to good use in 2013 through free weekly distributions to local care homes and children’s groups and through processing fruit into jams, juices and chutneys. Since its launch as a pilot in the autumn of 2010, Harvest Share has saved over 6.5 tonnes of local fruit from going to waste.
Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews praised the work of the volunteers who pick the fruit and help to sort and deliver it. “Over 350 hours of volunteer time has gone into this year’s Harvest Share,” he said. “Without the support of volunteers, Harvest Share would not be possible.” Pupils from Welcombe Hills Special School in Stratford are among the regular pickers.
He also highlighted the contribution of tree owners who offer their fruit to the scheme. “The orchards at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, which are contributed by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, are the backbone of the scheme. Together they have contributed half this year’s fruit. But the trees in private gardens and orchards are just as important. We have had several new gardens contributed this year – in fact, we were not able to pick all the fruit on offer.”
Harvest Share works by picking regularly three-four times a week from the beginning of August to the end of October. Fruit is put into a temporary store – this year the Mulberry Centre in Stratford town centre, which was held on a short-term lease from Warwickshire County Council. The fruit is then sorted and distributed every Monday.
This year’s harvest was complicated by the late ripening of the fruit, following a cold start to the spring earlier in the year. Very little fruit was ready to pick in August, while some fruit was still not ripe at the end of October. “But despite these difficulties, we have made a good harvest in 2013,” said Roger Matthews.
Stratford Harvest Share got under way on Saturday 17 August when a team of volunteers picked early apples (and a few early plums) in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, near Stratford upon Avon.
The team picked 80 kilos of fruit – mainly Beauty of Bath, a variety which was prized by the Victorians for ripening in July. The delayed harvest this year meant we were picking in mid-August, about three weeks late. The fruit has gone to make the first juice of the season, while the plums have already been turned into jam.
There’s a good crop of fruit on the trees – in particular, apples – but most of it is still far from ripe. There’ll be some good harvests as we get into September and October, but at the moment, pickings are still quite small.
If you would like to take part in Harvest Share, volunteers are needed for picking – Wednesday mornings, Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings – and for sorting and distribution on Monday mornings. Contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 if you would like to help.
Stratford Growing Together, a proposal by Transition Stratford to improve access to local food for people in Stratford upon Avon, is one of 11 projects chosen from 70 initial applications to go through to the second and final round of the £1 million Community Challenge organised by Stratford Town Trust.
The Stratford Growing Together project aims to combine a community “market garden” with special provision for vulnerable people and outreach to help people take up growing opportunities wherever they live in Stratford.
Transition Stratford Chair James Pavitt, who already runs a small-scale community garden in the middle of the town, said: “We are extremely pleased that the Community Challenge panel has selected out Stratford Growing Together project for further development. Our aim is to increase local access to healthy, affordable food, bring together people of all ages and abilities in shared activities, as well as offering practical experience of food growing.”
Final applications for Community Challenge funding have to be submitted to the Town Trust by 22 October. “We’ll be working hard over the next few months to put together the detailed plans for a project which will bring benefits to a significant number of local people,” said James.
For more information about Stratford Community Growing, contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transition Stratford’s Plastic Challenge gets under way this weekend Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July 2013 at the Stratford River Festival.
The Plastic Challenge is simple. Monitor the plastic that comes into your life through shopping over the course of a week – then see whether you can cut out some of that plastic the following week.
This year’s Plastic Challenge Fortnight will run from Monday 8 July to Sunday 21 July (though you can take the Challenge at any time convenient to you). To encourage people to sign up for the Challenge, Transition Stratford is giving away a free shopping bag, hand-made by local volunteers from fabric remnants, to the first 100 to sign up for the Plastic Challenge at the River Festival.
There’ll also be leaflets on ways to reduce and recycle plastic, a game for children, and demonstrations of bag making – you can even have a go at making a bag yourself!
And Transition Stratford will be launching its Crafty Plastic Beasts competition for children. Can they make a – real or imaginary – beast by reusing plastic? Competition entries can be made at home and brought to Transition Stratford’s stall at the Crafty Beasts event which will take place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July at Mary Arden’s farm, Wilmcote, near Stratford. Or children can have a go at making a beast there.
There will be prizes for three age groups – under 8, 8-12 and 13-16. Winners will be judged by Vikki Holroyd, Director of WEAVE Recycle, and the prizes will be a year’s free membership of the WEAVE Recycle centre in Leamington Spa.
Transition Stratford has announced that this year’s Plastic Challenge Fortnight will take place from Monday 8 July to Sunday 21 July.
The Plastic Challenge asks people to monitor the amount of plastic in their shopping over the course of a week – and then to see if they can cut down on plastic during the following week. Though you can take the Plastic Challenge at any time, taking it with others helps spread the word – and the good ideas for living with less plastic.
Transition Stratford ran the Plastic Challenge for the first time last year, when nearly 50 people took part. Now organisers hope more than twice that number will join the Challenge in 2013.
Transition Stratford will be launching the Challenge Fortnight at the Stratford River Festival on Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July, when its stall will have information about plastic, games and activities. You can sign up for then Challenge then – or e-mail email@example.com to join in.