The streets are alive!

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When anyone asks me what is Transition about, I usually say ‘community’.  The best place to build community has to be your street and neighbourhood. But where do you start?

Playing in the street, Worthing, June 2012

As the Dad of a one year old, watching her play outside in the garden is up there with those great moments of parenthood. Exploring the grass, standing up against the picnic table, looking at snails, picking up pebbles, and sniffing flowers is all part of the rich development playing outside can offer the proto-toddler.

What happens when they get older? Is playing out in the street an option? We did it in the 70s (no, really, we did!) but what about 2012? Have the quiet residential locales of 1974 been crushed by the car?

Well, no. Not everywhere anyway. Pockets of active resistance to the concept of the street as a danger zone do exist. It’s all too easy to subscribe to idea that streets are for cars, not people. Thankfully a few pioneering parents have taken matters into their own hands.

Road closure: DIY style.

I think the images speak volumes of the fun and connections that were made on the day.

‘Hey, hang on! I thought it said no cars!’

A vision of the post-peak car future in Worthing?

So, what was the inspiration for this day of DIY urban transformation? Event organiser Kathryn Kay directed me to Playing Out, a Bristol-based organisation dedicated to making streets safe for children to play in. Their brilliant website contains free resources and lists ‘ten good reasons for street play’. Each one of the ten of the reasons seems justification in itself, but one of them stood out:

Playing in the street increases community cohesion and brings neighbours of

all ages together by providing a sense of common space and shared ownership. It

can engender a sense of collective responsibility and thereby increase the safety of

the neighbourhood.

The community comes together.

Playing Out has started something here, and maybe this is the quiet revolution. It gives a very different meaning to ‘manning the barricades’ to what most people would imagine, but there is something extraordinarily powerful and comforting about what a bunch of local residents can do when they put their efforts into something positive.

Kathryn explained, ‘ if we don’t provide opportunities for our children to play out in the street, then in a generation all recollection of playing out will have gone.’

The experience of Playing Out in Bristol has led to several projects, neatly discussed in the video below:

The Write Up Your Street project has created temporary art installations at strategic points and gently reinforce the Playing Out message:

Chalk Action!

Tools needed: flourescent tabard, box of chalk, and a homemade ROAD CLOSED sign. Bring it on!

Angmering Community Supported Agriculture

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Did you know that Transition Town Worthing is supporting the formation of a Community Supported Agriculture scheme on our doorstep?

What is it?

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a big name for a simple idea. It’s where a community – large or small – makes a financial pledge to support a local farm. Together the farm and community share the ups and downs, risks and rewards of farming and growing – and help each other out.

By making a financial commitment to a CSA scheme, people become ‘members’. They pay for a season up-front through weekly, monthly or even annual payments. In return they receive a share of the farm’s produce.

As that history and ethos suggests, CSAs help to directly connect local farmers with their communities, and to support the development of local food supplies and culture. There are lots of benefits to becoming involved, from knowing where your food comes from to helping to develop a secure market for local producers.

The UK imports 50 % of its food, with the rise in the cost of fuel, food prices are rising. What we need is sustainably produced local food so that we can enjoy good quality fresh produced at a reasonable price.

What can I do now?

You can support the CSA by registering your interest . . . an by ordering weekly veg grown in Angmering!

If you are interested please send your name and contact details to Martin at Culberry Nursery, Dappers Lane, Angmering BN16 4EW email: mnjarvis@btinternet.com or phone 01903 784107. All veg is sold to order please email for latest list, we can arrange delivery in the Worthing area.

You can also sign up on the TTW website here: http://transitiontownworthing.ning.com/group/community-supported-agriculture

All produce grown at Culberry is compost grown and pests are controlled using natural predators and benefical insects. Because we pick to order our produce will be as fresh as possible which tastes better and contains more vitamins. We like to grow a wide range of vegetables but we will have a selection of locally grown veg as well.

CSA is helping rebuild local resilience and reduce oil dependency in our local area. It will also be an important part of our Energy Descent Action Plan. Food security is one of the fundamental aspects of the EDAP.