Transition Free Press comes to Bristol!

Look for issues of Transition Free Press with the local Bristol insert coming to an event near you! Come back here to see a list of events and locations where we will be!

Alongside our regular national paper the TFP crew has been quietly road-testing local TI newsletters, trying out new designs and ways of reporting from their own initiatives and neighbourhoods.

From the outset we promised the distributor hubs any design or editorial back-up they might need to produce their own broadsheets. As everyone’s skills and computer software and tech is different, we decided that rather than come up with a uniform template, we would offer design features from the main paper, that could be incorporated into existing formats, whilst keeping their own style and content.

Three TIs took part:Transition Lewes (who are presently working on theirs), Bristol (designed and co-ordinated by TFP’s Trucie Mitchell) and Sustainable Bungay (co-produced by Charlotte Du Cann, Mark Watson and Josiah Meldrum).

TFP_Local_Insert_BRISTOL_FINAL-1Trucie merged some of the newspaper elements into an A4 news flyer: “Rounding up stories of some of the most innovative and practical projects happening in Bristol really inspired me, as well as helping me make new connections with people all over the city. The biggest challenge wasn’t finding great stories to include, but editing them down to fit the space we had available!”

Sustainable Bungay have been distributing a quarterly newsletter for three years, so they took their regular A4 newsletter and expanded it into an A3 format, using some of the TFP news features, such as the teasers:

“Sometimes newsletters can appear stodgy and parochial,” says ed, Charlotte Du Cann: “Giving a newsy slant to the stories resulted in a more immediate look and feel. Although some shops were not so keen on the folded A3 format, it certainly disappeared much more quickly than normal. It also gave an incentive for people to buy the main paper. As well as paying for our TFP bundle (£75), profits from sales have now almost paid for the printing of the newsletters (£42 for 300) too. Great news!”

So if any TIs out there would like to have a go at creating or customizing their current newsletters to distribute alongside TFP, do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

Latest new from Big Green Week 15th to 23rd June!

It’s official – BIG Green Week 2013 is 20% bigger than last year!

With 120 events in 9 action packed June Festival days, you might miss some of the gems in the Programme. So here are three more…

A magical evening of poetry and music

A Festival highlight has to be performances by poetry superstar John Hegley (More Elvis Costello than Alan Bennett – The Scotsman), BBC2 and Radio 4 performer Susan Richardson (Truly fabulous – Petersfield Write Angle), and the multi-instrumental Three Cane Whale (Mesmerising – Q).

Saturday 22nd June: get discount tickets to this magical double bill evening here.

Plus, just 12 lucky people have the opportunity to spend Saturday afternoon on Susan Richardson’s Wild Writing Poetry Workshop. Booking essential.

Poetry and Music EveningWorkshops

Last year people asked us for more workshops in 2013, so the Bristol Green Capital Partnership is running a whole morning series at the Create Centre.

Book your place now for workshops on Water (Mon 17th June), Energy (Tues 18th), Food (Thurs 20th) and Waste (Fri 21st).

Soul Food

Once again multi-faith groups have organised a series of spiritual events during BIG Green Week:

Upcoming courses at the Community Farm!

Introduction Organic Horticulture

Come and join us at The Community Farm for an Introduction into Organic growing. This is an opportunity to gain a basic understanding of the knowledge and techniques used in the production of organic veg. The day will consist of a mix of practical and theoretical learning suitable for any with an interest in the subject. Content will be applicable to all sizes of veg plot and will explore the following:

– Organic – A state of mind not a rule book
– Soil – What is it? and Why is it so important?
– Understanding of Nutrients and Fertility management
– Propagation, seeds and planting
– Understanding Weeding – Why? When? Where? and How?
– Know your enemy – common animal threats to organic veg and how to deter them
– Basic understanding of irrigation techniques

Tutor: Andy Dibben

Many of you will know Andy as our fantastic Farm Manager here at The Community Farm. He has a wealth of experience in Organic vegetable production both here at The Community Farm and elsewhere and is also a brilliant teacher. Andy will be running a series of workshops for us throughout the year on all aspects of organic vegetable production.

Date: 16th March 2013, 10 am to 4 pm

Cost: £34 (members) / £40 (non-members

How to book

Phone Emily on 0117 3643123 between 9am-3pm, Mon-Thur. Please have your card details ready.

Spaces are limited on all courses so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Members and long term volunteers of the farm are given priority booking and 15% discount on prices. If you are interested in becoming a member, take a look at our Membership page.


To try and minimise our carbon footprint at the farm, we encourage people to either lift-share or to book onto a Community Transport Minibus. Provided we have a sufficient number of people booked onto the minibus, it will be picking up at Bristol hippodrome and Bristol Temple Meads. We ask for a contribution of £5 per adult to cover costs for the minibus.

If you are interested in lift-sharing or taking the mini-bus, please let us know when booking.


For all of our courses and workshops we have a communal lunch where everyone brings something to share – we find this is a great way to gather a real community driven feast! We encourage everyone to make something vegetarian for the day so that as many people as possible are able to share the food.

Some ideas of things to bring include salads, bread, cheese, chutney, crisps, hummus or other spreads, soup, stew, cake… Any contribution will be a welcome addition to the feast!

We will provide refreshments and hot drinks during the day.

Cancellation Policy

If for whatever reason you need to cancel your booking, we offer a 50% refund up to one week prior to the course date. For cancellations with less than one week’s notice you will only receive a refund if you can provide a medical note.

In the unlikely event that we have to cancel the course we aim to give you at least 24 hours notice and you will receive a full refund.

For more information and other courses please go to

Bristol’s Seed Swap 2013 16th March at Feed Bristol!

Bristol’s annual Seed Swap – the most delightfully fruitful event of the season is back. This year we have teamed up with Feed Bristol, Avon Wildlife’s thriving community food growing project and Sims Hill Shared Harvest. Taking place at Feed Bristol on 16 March (11am–4pm), as part of Sustain’s urban food growing campaign The Big Dig. See website for details and directions:

Or check the Seed Swap Facebook page

The Seed Swap is a fun-filled family event and is open to anyone interested in seeds, food growing and organic gardening. A fantastic opportunity to pick up or swap a diverse selection of seeds including unusual and tasty varieties, meet some fellow gardeners and exchange growing tips, experiences and resources. At the same time the event offers a chance to participate in building and strengthening local food security, reclaiming seed sovereignty, supporting organic practices, developing local connections and sharing local knowledge and skills.

If you’re up for learning, discussing and sharing ideas, there will be a range of talks focussing on various earthly and food growing issues. There will also be fun activities for kids, a range of stalls with information about local growing and environmental groups, plants, fruit trees, local produce and local craftwork. All served with a large helping of deliciously fruity live music, freshly prepared cakes, a hearty soup and your finest teas and healthy juices! Sowing and swapping seeds for a healthy community.

If you have surplus seeds to share/swap, please bring them along in a labelled envelope or other container. A large selection of seeds have also been very kindly donated by Chiltern Seeds, Edwin Tucker and Thompson Morgan.

The Bristol 2013 Seed Swap Event offers a great opportunity to visit and support these pioneering food growing initiatives located on the infamous and endangered Blue Finger in Stapleton, some of the most fertile land in the country, listed as grade 1 agricultural land. A beautiful green field site, buzzing with wildlife and a hive of community food growing activity. As part of The Big Dig both Feed Bristol and Sims Hill CSA will also be putting on a range of engaging food growing and land based activities. Keep watching our websites for further details. One for the diary!

The Big Dig is a nationwide campaign to get people out to support their local community projects. We will be running site tours between Feed Bristol and Sims Hill. For more information and other projects taking part check their website:, and for Bristol-based activities, go here.

Directions to site: Feed Bristol is located on the junction of Frenchay Park Rd and Stoke Lane in Stapleton (BS16 1HB). The entrance is by the traffic lights on Frenchay Park Road. Please cycle or use public transport if you can. There is a great cycle route through Eastville Park to nearby Snuff Mills. Local buses stop right outside the site.

For further information on the Bristol 2013 Seed Swap:

Or see our Facebook page

A Community Energy Strategy for Bristol workshop 4 March

 ‘…fair, sustainable energy for all‘ 

1st development workshop
Monday 4th March, Hamilton House, 7 – 9 pm
What are we aiming for?

A collectively developed Community Energy Strategy for Bristol, driving initiatives that will put Bristol on the map, creating Bristol’s best future and establishing ‘Bristol firsts’ in community energy and energy efficiency; the result of community projects and city-wide partnerships working effectively together.
The Background: 
Following the election of our first mayor George Fergusson and a lively debate at the BEN November open meeting individuals participating in the BEN Google group put together an initial outline version of a strategy. That document is can be found here.  We’re received feedback on this from the council, CSE and others, met with interested people and spent many a dark hour discussing it.
So how is it going to come together?
We currently aim to launch the strategy within Bristol’s Big Green Week, further details below.
To meet this deadline we suggest the strategy is developed in two rounds. Each round consisting of an open workshop followed by collective writing process. The first workshop will be held on 4th March, Hamilton House. The second workshop will held in mid April. If you can’t make the first workshop there will opportunities to feed in beforehand and  you can get involved in the writing process itself.
For now, the key question is who do you think should be there? 
The strategy will work best if all groups are represented. So please forward this email to those you think should be involved.
1st strategy development workshop
Monday 4th March*
Hamilton House, Stokes Croft
7 – 9 pm

Click here to register

* Monday evenings and Saturdays were the clear favourites for a strategy development meeting in the original poll sent out before Christmas. By holding it on a Monday we’re hoping that this is still the case with many of you!
And finally, the Launch event
In partnership with Friends of the Earth, Bristol and Bristol Solar City we are working on a plan to hold a three-day event, in a ‘Solar Pavilion’ on College Green within Big Green Week 2013. The date: Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd June. The suggestion is for the strategy to be launched alongside the Solar City Initiative on Friday morning, with support from the Mayor, DECC, businesses and of course, communities.

During the rest of the weekend, there will be time for talks and workshops, space for stalls and a solar stage.  If you were already thinking of holding a fringe event within Big Green Week or wanted to run an energy activity but weren’t sure where or how, then this could be the ideal way of linking in.

If you think this might be of interest to your group, please do drop us an email and let us know by the end of February. Big or small they are all welcome.

Email with the heading Big Green Week 2013 so that we can work up a plan together.

Click here to register for the 1st strategy development workshop

We’re all really excited about how this might develop and what it might lead to. We hope you can join us and that by working together we can create fair, sustainable energy for all.
All the best,
Jake Barnes, David Tudgey, Paul Adams, Mark Leach, Bridget Newbury, Caroline Bird and Julian Jones on behalf of the network

In case you were wondering….

The Transition Bristol site has been hacked repeatedly over the last few months. While your fearless editor and a small but determined group of technical volunteers have attempted to stave off these attacks and keep the website going at the same time, with the last vicious manifestation I have had to admit defeat.

So what you are seeing is a much diminished version of what was here. I will be attempting to rebuild the website as much as I can over the next few weeks, and also hoping that the original database can be restored (also hoping very much that the nasty black header can be removed…)

Thank you very much for your patience, and I apologise profusely for any broken links or missing content.

Keep those wordpress sites upgraded, people, and watch your backs!

Let’s Go Solar! Community Energy Scheme

Bristol homeowners can save around 50% on the cost of solar-powered hot water heating systems.

To apply, you should:

  • own and be living in the home where you want the system installed
  • have a minimum of 250mm of loft insulation and cavity wall insulation (if applicable) – funding to help with the cost of insulation is available from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, call 0800 082 2234
  • ideally (but not exclusively) be living in an area ranked low on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Such areas include St Agnes, St Pauls, Lockleaze, Eastville, Ashley Down, St Werburghs, Knowle, Hartcliffe, Fishponds etc.

The majority of installations should be completed by the end of March 2013.

To arrange a free non-binding survey of your home, download the following expression of interest form,

Lets Go Solar Expression of Interest.doc and return it to us by e-mailing
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more details: tel. 0117 924 1263

Or call in to the office: Unit 2, Wild Goose Space, 228 Mina Road, St Werburghs, Bristol, BS2 9YP’

Latest news from the Bristol Pound!

Photo credit: Jon Craig

On Friday 15th March, three Bristol MPs – Charlotte Leslie, Kerry McCarthy and Stephen Williams – visited Bristol Credit Union to open their Bristol Pound accounts. Each MP has committed to spending a minimum of £B50 per month from their own Parliamentary salaries and with their £B accounts they will be able to spend it by texting from their mobile phones.

The personal support of Bristol’s MPs from the three major parties marks a step change for the scheme as around half of £B140k issued are now digital. The scheme has brought numerous benefits and support to traders, communities, and the local economy. The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson receives his entire salary in Bristol Pounds, and organisers hope that the support of MPs will encourage Bristol residents to join in with the scheme and support the independent traders that help make Bristol a great city.

Through opening Bristol Pound accounts, users are able to spend Bristol Pounds digitally, using the innovative payments system which allows for payment by text message, or online transfer. Having opened their accounts, all three MPs joined a Bristol Pound representative in a nearby eatery, Cafe Kino, to try out TXT2PAY for the first time.

Charlotte Leslie, Conservative MP for North West Bristol, said “When I attended the launch of the Bristol Pound in September it showed off the creative and entrepreneurial spirit that goes through the very veins of our city. I commend the Bristol Credit Union and its supporters for getting the message out there and I hope through this small act that we will be doing today we can grow this movement and encourage more businesses to accept; and more individuals to spend with Bristol Pounds.

Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristoll East, agreed; “I am delighted to open a Bristol Pound account today. The Bristol Pound is expanding day by day and has gained national recognition. It is a great way of supporting local businesses and our community. I would like to encourage more local traders in Bristol East and my constituents to open their own Bristol Pound account.”

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, also showed strong support for the £B; “I have long supported the introduction of the Bristol Pound. This really is what Bristol is all about: it’s innovative, daring and I’m sure it will go a long way in helping our local high streets. I know that the scheme has already proven to be a success in helping our community in a multitude of ways and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved for their efforts in this exciting scheme.”

Ciaran Mundy, Director of Bristol Pound said “Six months in and we’re really starting to see the benefits of having a local currency for the city and surrounding region. Opening a Bristol Pound account and setting up a regular deposit by Standing Order or through Payroll, is the perfect way to support everything that makes Bristol a great place to live. A strong independent sector with flourishing local businesses bring a whole host of benefits to our communities and local economy, and the Bristol MPs are setting a fantastic example for all of us to join in with the scheme. Spending Bristol Pounds is good for everybody in Bristol, including visitors to the city! We know that the Bristol Pound brings new customers to local businesses, and gives customers a great feeling that they’re doing their bit to protect and support everything that’s great about Bristol.”

Since the scheme launched on September 19th 2012, the scheme has grown significantly. In February, 25 new business accounts were opened in 28 days, and as of the end of February, there are over £B140,000 in circulation. Hundreds of businesses are participating, and thousands of individuals have used the currency, in both paper and electronic form.

The Bristol Pound scheme is also aiming to encourage more locally-produced food in Bristol and the surrounding area through the Farm-Link Initiative, which gives allows primary producers within a 50 mile radius of the membership area to join the scheme. Currently, there are several Farm-Link Traders with Bristol Pound accounts, including The Community Farm, Stream Farm, The Severn Project CIC and The Story Group.

We’re looking into partnering with local green energy supplier Good Energy so you can pay your bills in Bristol Pounds. Not only does all Good Energy’s electricity come from clean, green sources like sunshine, wind and rain, it’s produced by a growing community of independent generators across Britain – 3,500 of which are in the Bristol area – making them a perfect match for us. If you’re interested, let us know by filling in the online form, giving us a call on 0117 929 8642 or by emailing and we’ll let you know how things develop.

The Bristol Pound are now holding regular sign-up sessions, for individuals to open accounts in person, every Wednesday lunchtime, 12.30-2.30pm at the entrance to the Corn Exchange. People can also still open an account online at

To open an account online go to, alternatively email the Bristol Pound team at or call 0117 929 8642.

Tea Party invitation – looking for an answer: Living memories, future worlds event 10th March

4 – 6 pm, Sunday 10th March

If you’d like to come, let us know for catering purposes, or just risk it and turn up to:

9 Richmond Apartments, Redland Court RD, BS6 7BG.

(Karen Snodin’s house – it is next to Redland secondary school, up near Redland Green).

How do we make climate change feel like the personal business of people who aren’t activists? For some people, keeping alive and functioning is a major struggle against deprivation or oppression, and every day breaks down into a series of mini-defeats or triumphs, making it almost impossible to think long-term. And for loads of us who aren’t up against it in the same way, we feel as if we are. How can we think about what to do, when our relationships are cracking and creaking, we are so busy at work, the kids have ‘flu, and those beef ready-meals were on special offer?

Like the Transition movement that inspired us, the small Bristol group ‘Older Women for World Change (OWWCh!)’ believes that FEAR pushes people deeper into the addiction of thinking small and short term. But how do you get people to take frightening things on board without evoking fear? We don’t know, but we had a go. Make it local, we thought. Make it real and personal. Don’t preach.

We interviewed people who were not activists, asking them about their lives and relationships in a less energy-greedy, less emissions-heavy past. We asked them what they think and feel about the danger of climate change. We took down their words and Mark Simmons took their portraits. The resulting booklet and exhibition opened in the Create Centre in May and has been touring Bristol since then.

It’s not perfect and it’s hard to tell what, if any, impact it has. We do know that our interviewees have talked to their friends and families about it. That’s particularly valuable because they were mostly from communities which haven’t made the environment a central focus, including South Asians, Somalis, and white working class people. We managed to get most of our interviewees to the launch – you can see the video if you put ‘Living Memories, Future World’ into YouTube, and we had a feast and a speak out. Since then I’ve seen people thoroughly engaged with the exhibition when it was at the Central Library and at Easton Community Centre, but we don’t generally get feedback.

Is there anything to learn from this small attempt? How do we follow through and broaden the activist base?

We’ll be asking this at the discussion at our Tea Party. OWWCh collaborator Adam Nieman asks a different but related question: how can you get through other barriers (other than

fear, that is) to understanding the enormity of climate change? How can you make the figures personal, comprehensibile? How can the big be made small enough to take in? His work with Carbon Visuals, some of which is drawn on for the exhibition, attempts to do this, and Adam will talk and answer questions about this at the tea party.

The exhibition will be on show, and there will be tea-time refreshments available.

Caroline New, 0117 9256740, 0795 772 8477,