NMB Transition Network Newsletter – 15/03/2011

This week’s newsletter…

We witnessed a very scary event in Japan this past weekend with a huge earthquake soon followed by a tsunami (and then another quake yesterday) which has caused some serious damage. There are masses of articles and videos on the internet that you can quite easily search for if you want to read up on the situation. This event has raised a lot of questions around the feasibility of nuclear power, particularly in coastal areas. You can find some articles on this on the Transition Voice website: http://transitionvoice.com/

Now, one of my favourite projects that I have come across is the Earthchild Project. Some of you may recall me mentioning this initiative a few times, especially when we are talking about somehow bringing in environmental education to our youth. They were recently featured on 50/50 and the video of it has been uploaded on YouTube…check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXmKOYo3ers

Speaking of education and youth…here’s an interesting article on a recent venture by Jamie Oliver to teach children about what they eat:   http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/03/viva-la-food-revolution-kids-knowing-what-they-eat.php

TreeHugger.com has good articles flowing through it on a regular basis, so its a feed worth following..here are a few more articles from the site:

For the permaculture enthusiasts..  a quick video on perrenial polycultures:  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/03/permaculture-design-tips.php

Now this is what all universities should be doing… turning unproductive lawn space into permaculture food gardens to supply the cafeteria   http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/03/campus-lawn-no-dig-permaculture.php

Something for the creative types among you… a kitchen done up with salvaged/recycled materials   http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/03/recycling-gone-right-amazing-kitchen-with-random-salvaged-materials-by-whydesign-photos.php

Keeping with the creative stuff…merging waste recycling and arts and crafts  http://www.africancolours.com/african-art-features/14/cameroon/make_art_not_waste.htm

With rising energy and fuel costs, we can expect higher food prices as well as food shortages. If we are to improve (though one might argue we still need to create)  food security, then we should be looking at more ecologically sound methods of food production.

An article came up in the Sunday Times on how green growing can mean more food..  http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/article956080.ece/Green-growing-can-mean-more-food

Not only should our growing practices be ‘green’, but production should also be local. There’s no reason why food production can’t be brought back into the cities. There is ample windowsill, balcony and backyard space just waiting to be used.

And what about roof space? What if supermarkets were using their roof space to supply food sold in their own store…. Here’s one that’s actually doing it!  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/03/rooftop-supermarket-garden.php

The Irie - 9 Landsdowne Place, Richmond Hill

And what about our restaurants? They could surely do the same thing. Well, a little vegetarian restaurant in Richmond Hill called The Irie is keen to bring in at least some of its food straight out of the backyard. So We’ll be teaming up with the owner, Nicole Hennings, to run a small Introduction To Food Gardening workshop that will get a garden going there while also equipping a few people to be able to start their own at home.

Topics to be covered include Permacuture principles and ethics, Designing your garden, Maintaining healthy soil, Worm farming, Companion planting and natural pest control

Its aimed at those who really aren’t sure where to start and have little to no gardening experience. If you are interested in participating, it will be a one day workshop on March 26th starting at 09:00am and ending no later than 15:30. The cost will be R100 and that includes a lunch (ciabata roll, with side salad and a juice). Nice and cheap in order to make it accessible, particularly for the students. Space is limited to 15 people, and already 8 have booked their spot. Call either myself (Ryan) on 08326452465, email ryansnoopyallan@gmail.com or contact Nicole at The Irie on 041-5850621 to secure your spot.

The Urban Farming GuysThen take a look at what this group are doing in a rough Kansas City neighbourhood experimenting with different aspects of sustainability while attempting to reduce crime rates in the area http://theurbanfarmingguys.com/about

Events this month…

Thursday 17thGreen Drinks : 19:00, 6 Morrison Str, Glendinningvale

Friday 18th – 1st environmental film screening for the Redhouse community.

Monday 21stPlanting Season Planting Day. While this campaign seems to have lost a fair amount of steam, it is still worth supporting, even if only for your own benefit. Planting Season aims to have one million people throughout South Africa planting an organic vegetable on a particular day.

Saturday 26th – its Earth Hour, so kill the lights between 20:30 – 21:30

– Introduction To Food Gardening workshop @ The Irie

Thursday 31st – I will be giving a presentation introducing the Transition response hosted by Friends Of Walmer Library. This will take place at 10am at Walmer Library and is open to the public.

We’ve also been doing some screenings with a group in Gelvendale and they seem really enthusiastic to do something. So our next gathering with them, scheduled for 9 April, will look at what practical stuff they can get started with, particularly regarding food gardens. Details on that nearer the time.

To close…. myself and Pierre-Louis attended the launch ceremony of the wind turbine at Settlers Park Primary last week.  (Article in The Herald  http://www.peherald.com/news/article/915)

The wind turbine, named Super Turby, powers the pump on their new borehole which feeds into four 10,000 ltr water tanks. Now its the story behind the tanks that really moved me. Elizabeth Dugmore, who lives just down the road from the school,  decided to approach the school about the water and other projects taking place there, after which she committed to donated the four tanks. Mrs Dugmore purchased the first, followed by her husband and two friends.  A great example of someone seeing a problem, and addressing it within their immediate community.

Settlers Park Primary may now also be getting involved with WESSA‘s EcoSchools programme which would really help to improve the children’s understanding and interaction with our environment.

Thats all for this week….

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