Category Archives: Community

“It takes a community to make change”

 “..this playfully made exposé should be required viewing for anyone wondering what they could do to pitch in and save the planet”

This fast-paced, optimistic film TOMORROW  is showing as part of St Albans Film Festival. Click here to book tickets  for
  • Thurs 6th July 7.30pm  at Spencer Sports Hall, Sandridge – Bar available.
  • Sat 8th July at St Paul’s Church, Blandford Road, St Albans -refreshments available.

“In most cases, it’s a question of communities taking power back from governments and corporations — a form of horizontal activism which.. may be the best way to undo the top-down policies that have set us on the fast track to destruction.”tomorrowpic7

 

#TOMORROWfilm is a fast-paced doc packed with articulate expertise and stories from business and communities.

It shows ” how farmers, teachers, researchers and small-town participants have found their own methods for combating issues like global warming, food shortage and general economic meltdown”

The latter three chapters — Economy, Democracy, and Education — are really where “Tomorrow” takes flight. … Its curiosity ranges from the very minute and specific — to the extremely general and basic, as in, “Where does money come from?” (The Answer May Surprise You!) Continue reading

Christmas Lights Switch On Sunday – come and say hi!

The Sustainable St Albans team are a little crazy with enthusiasm this week.  Not content with  interviews on Radio Verulam and BBC Three Counties radio they also started making a film, and have been collecting over 1,000 Postcards to Paris from local schools. They were also more than a little excited about the double page spread in the Herts Advertiser after all, with over one hundred separate events they need to make sure everyone in the district knows about the week.

Pick up your Programme 100+ Events!

marketstallYou’ll be familiar with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On in St Albans High Street? It’s happening again on Sunday 15th November – with a difference! This year our very own Sustainable St Albans Team – with volunteers from Transition St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth – are running a stall with free give-aways – they’re giving away free copies of the Programme of 100+ Events for Sustainable St Albans Week 21-28 November. There are only limited numbers of these printed programmes so please come along early to collect your copy.

While you’re visiting the stall you can also write your own Postcard to Paris to the Paris Global Climate Change conference #COP21- after all – the reason the week is happening because we care about climate change – see what 10 year old Riley has written here…

BHheypicYou may know about the week, but did you realise it is all run by local groups: each one of the businesses, community groups, faith groups and schools are organising their very own event related to environmental sustainabilty.

Whether you want: to have a trial ride in an electric car (Alban Arena Sat 21st, discover the historical past of Sopwell (Sat 28th 1.45pm), treat yourself to a free hand massage at the LUSH talk (Mon 23rd 8pm), be inspired by the Green Fashion Event (Wed 25th 8pm Civic Centre), to explore the very current topic of creating a sustainable economy (Wed 25th 7.30pm), to find out about Real Nappies at the Tots Playgroup with  free starter kit worth over £100  (Fri 27th 9.30am) , or to see the film ‘This Changes Everything’ or ‘The Journey of the Universe’ film or ‘Cowspiracy’ showing at the Odyssey, …

and so much more….

CllrChiversLitterPIck…all the events are organised by existing local groups with an interest in a sustainable future for the district.

 

 

It is an ecletic week, as Nick Coffer of BBC Three Counties radio, pointed out (hear the interview here at 2:38:10) so there really is something for everyone – from Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party talk, guided nature walks, Community Litter-picking, children’s story-telling…But with so many events taking place, and all in the space of one week – you need to plan now if you, family and friends want to take full advantage of this week of learning and fun.

SSAlban&Stephen infants“We love everything : your creativity, ambition, the links you have made with businesses, the efforts to engage and the fabulous brochure” Kate Newton St Albans CVS

Launch Day

clock-tower-jrIf you can’t make it on Sunday, then set aside Sat 21st November for the Launch Day when the week is officially opened by The Mayor of St Albans at 10.30am at The Clocktower, St Albans High St.

The Civic Society have opened the Clocktower as a special occasion so you can climb the ancient steps. Or, with the help of Computer Friendly work out your carbon footprint and surprise yourself. With music from the local ukelele supergroup Katie’s Jumping Fleas there are things to do and stalls on recycling, water-saving, GreenSpaces and more…

And, in the afternoon of Sat 28th from 12.30pm for a more leisurely trip take the family along to the Nude Tin Can Gallery to see the innovative and fun ‘Don’t Forget to Flush’ Art Exhibition with entries from both children and adults on the theme of the UN’s World Toilet Day – to raise awareness of our global neighbours who lack adequate sanitation.

Booking your Annual Leave

In all, there are so many interesting things to do during the week you might as well take the whole week off as Annual Leave – it’ll be your commitment to environmental sustainability! And, if the boss disagrees, invite her over to the Sustainable Business Breakfast Briefing on Tues 24th Nov at 8am organised by local business AECOM – that should get her interest!

And if Becky Alexander (Herts Ad @localfoodie) says “I am really impressed by the amount of events organised” then we reckon you should be too! Have a peep at the website to see if we’re right www.sustainablestalbans.org

 

 

OpenFoodGarden Summer Programme Sunday 10 May

David knows his parsnips!

Come and see what fruit, vegetables and herbs can be grown in St Albans gardens.

Get free advice from the garden owners and other visitors to help you grow your own, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Spend an enjoyable afternoon in the company of others interested in growing food.

Sunday 10 May

23 Gresford Close, St Albans, AL4 0UB – Sunday 10th May, drop in anytime between 3-5 pm.

This garden won the Bclose up yellow flowersest Sustainable Garden award in the 2012 District in Bloom competition. A vast amount of fruit and vegetables is grown in a relatively small space in both front and gardens.

At the front is a mixture of fruit, vegetables, herbs and growbags for tomatoes. The multi-purpose back garden incorporates shaded seating areas, planting to attract wildlife and a small pond along with three raised beds, pots and small borders. Here vegetables, salad crops, herbs and a wide variety of fruit (including minarette pear trees, apples, plums, cherries, greengage, fig, medlar, blackberry, loganberry) are grown.

showing visitors around

The garden has several water butts, composters and bins for leaf mould.

Gresford Close is a cul de sac off Colney Heath Lane, with limited street parking. Bikes can be locked in or near the garden. Several buses run along Hatfield Road (5 minutes’ walk away), stopping at Colney Heath Lane. Wheelchair access to the garden is restricted. No dogs please except guide dogs.

Garden visits are free: suggested donation £2 for over 16s; all proceeds go to TSA funds.

Volunteers Needed

We still need people to help welcome people to the gardens, give out TSA publicity, collect donations etc, particularly at the garden openings later in the summer, so if you think you could help, please contact Romayne Hutchison on Romayne DOT Hutchison AT gmail DOT com . You would never be on your own, but we do need a few people each time, so an hour or so of your time would be really appreciated.

Biodomes, Community and coffee beans

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Big Lunch Extras is Cornwall’s  Eden Project opening it’s doors, all expenses paid, to hundreds of community movers and shakers up and down the country, with several events taking place over 2014/5.

This weekend I have joined the event for four days -meeting people from Northern Ireland, Scotland and across England to hear inspiring speakers, explore the amazing Eden Project landscape and share conversations with a range of extraordinary people involved in local community action.

Memorable was the community artist, Sue Hill, who has spent a lifetime transforming the way people express their love for the places they live in. She had worked with the residents of Port Talbot helping them to put on a Passion Play engaging memories and histories to express the power of the dispossessed community.

In war savaged Kosovo, her positive energy and thirst for learning from the people she worked with had led to a remarkable project with young refugees returning to their country to build a peace garden in their home town. To find out more about her work go to www.peteandsuehill.co.uk

Later, on a tour around the sweltering Eden Project tropical rainforest biodomes we learnt that each coffee bean fruit produced just two beans, and that your morning cup of coffee required over sixty of these beans! As the coffee beans on the plant ripen at different times it requires intensive labour to pick the beans at the optimal stage. If any of us needed persuading this was a strong argument to ensure we buy only Fairtrade coffee where pickers are paid decent money for their labour. How much effort would you put into picking fruit for your morning cuppa coffee?

Despite anticipating chilly December weather with everyone geared up with woolly hats and scarves we seem to have arrived on a sunny June day with the skies blue and the air still. It was warm enough to have a long lunch outside on the balcony overlooking the glistening white caps of the eerie biodomes.

Back for a good night’s sleep in the brand new cosy Snooze-boxes – courtesy of YHA – and waiting to see what surprises Sunday brings!

see more at Big Lunch Extras website click here and Big Lunch Extras  twitter #BLENovimage

Transition Streets Celebration – one year on!

Wed November 20th 7.30pm at Fleetville Community Centre

Streets Project: over 100 people across St Albans engaging on energy, waste, transport and food issues

Streets Project: over 100 people across St Albans engaging on energy, waste, transport and food issues

come and join us for A celebration and information event and party to mark one year of Transition Streets in St Albans!

The first year has seen over one hundred participants across all the Transition Streets groups take part in the programme, including a group of pupils at Sir John Lawes school.

Everyone is welcome to come along and find out more about the Transition Streets programme and see what participants are finding out, and how things might have changed in their households. Have energy bills reduced? What changes have people made to water use, recyling, food or transport?

Free food and drink will be available- donations welcomed.

Caroline Lucas visits the Courtyard Café

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Peter Bloomfield represented the Grow Your Own Food group when Caroline Lucas, Green MP, visited the Courtyard Cafe on Wednesday 28th March. It was made quite clear that we are a non-political group working in partnership with the cafe to show how much can be grown in a small space and how fresh food doesn’t have to travel half way around the world to get to our plates. Caroline, the local Green councillor (Simon Grover), council candidates in the forthcoming election, and local reporters were amazed when they were told that this small garden produced beetroot, celery, tomatoes, broad and French beans, garlic, shallots, leeks, salads, rocket, carrots, spinach and herbs throughout the seasons. It was stressed that the 4m x 3m patch aimed to demonstrate just what can be achieved in an average ‘back garden’, and how this can help address the challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change by reducing food miles and pollution from transport. Watch the local press!

Photo credit: St Albans and Harpenden Review

Vote to support the Watercress Wildlife Association!

The Watercress Wildlife Association, a local nature reserve in Sopwell in St Albans, has entered the 2011 NatWest Community Force Award competition.

NatWest CommunityForce is an initiative which sees NatWest working with local communities to support the people, projects and charities who are making a real difference where they live.

Communities are important to all of us. At the heart of each and every one you’ll find great people doing great things to make them better places.

Up to £6000 is available for individual projects with awards dependent on the demonstration of support from the community for each project.

You can vote for the Watercress Wildlife Association here. You have to register to vote but it only takes a minute.  Voting closes midday on 24th October.

If you can, please also ask your friends, family and colleagues as every vote counts!