Monthly Archives: September 2010

Celebrate 10:10:10 – Film, Discuss, Action!

Join us at the United Reformed Church Hall in Russell Street, Tavistock at 14:30 on Sunday 10th October 2010. There will be a film showing, discussion and refreshments. Tavistock’s EcoTeams initiatives will be launched. There will also be an opportunity to meet with local food producers and find out more about Garden Share and other Community Growing Initiatives.

September bulletin

Welcome to Transition Tavistock’s latest update.

If you have an item for inclusion in the November edition, please send it in to

1. October_Festivals_and_Celebrations

2. Energy_and_Food_Group

3. Grow_Tavi

4. Local_Milk_Supplies

5. Rainwater_Harvesting

6. Storytelling

7. Information_Stall

8. Molly Owen Community Garden

9. Visit To Wonnacott Farm Sunday 24th October 2010. 2pm

October Festivals and Celebrations

Join Transition Tavistock to celebrate the success of the 10:10 campaign, in which people and organisations make changes to reduce their carbon footprint by 10%. To date, 89,808 individuals, 1,948 schools and universities, 3,437 businesses and 2,182 organisations (including 248 town and district councils) have signed up. We will be celebrating the 10.10.10 date at the United Reformed Church Hall in Russell St from 2.30 on Sunday 10th October, with a film showing, discussion and refreshments. If you receive this bulletin as an email, you’ll find a poster to display attached. See you there!

The same weekend of 9 & 10 October brings the Dartmoor Low Carbon Festival. More details at

More festivities, local and free or low cost, are on offer from 23 – 31 October in the Tamar Trail Festival. Details of the events, many of which are good for children to take part in, are at

Energy and Food Group

A combined meeting of the Energy and Food groups took place at the Wharf. The next (combined) meeting will take place at the Dennis’s house – 01822 xxxxxx for further details. The meeting will feature a dress rehearsal for the Christmas tree dressing!

Grow Tavi

As news of food shortages around the world hit the headlines, it’s a reminder that we need to produce and buy more local, seasonal food. Grow Tavi brings together local people and organisations who are doing just that. The next meeting of Grow Tavi will be on Tuesday 12th October from 2 – 4 pm at the Wharf. Lucy Wood will be speaking about the new Buckland Food Group project which involves community growing on land belonging to the National Trust at Buckland Abbey.

Local Milk Supplies

Rather than purchase your milk from a large supermarket, would you like it naturally wholesome and delivered straight to your door from Risdon Farm near Okehampton?

Their dairy products are produced from livestock farmed organically since 1999. No pesticides or GM ingredients are involved. They have no land contamination and maintain high standards of animal welfare and are registered with Freedom Foods.

Not only can they supply milk, cream, eggs and cream cheese fresh to your door on a twice a week basis (currently free delivery within Tavistock) but the price is comparable to supermarkets basic brands.

In addition, purchasing from GF dairy which is a social enterprise directly supports Gilead Foundations which is a Therapeutic Community, offering a residential rehabilitation program for people with life-controlling addictions, such as drug or alcohol abuse, homelessness, gambling, eating disorders, self harm, and other addictive behaviours. They operate a three-phase therapeutic skills training programme for service users. These include detox, relapse prevention training, various therapies, and help with resettlement back into society. The phases enable the students to deal with the effects of addiction and to begin to take responsibility for their own actions, choices, behaviour, attitudes, personal health & hygiene & daily responsibilities.

More information including a leaflet with current prices from Mike Dennis of Transition Tavistock or from Beth Taylor or see the website at

I have not had the opportunity to visit the organisation but as a local product, animal friendly and socially responsible with a naturally wholesome taste, all I can say is that it works for me.

Mike Dennis

Rainwater harvesting

You may have noticed that the Tavistock area gets plenty of rain. Rainwater harvesting allows use of the water that falls on your property – saving the energy cost of treatment and pumping it round the region, and reducing your water bill. It’s like having a giant water butt which is not for watering the garden but plumbed in to the washing machine and loos. It is not, of course, clean enough for personal washing or use in the kitchen.

Note that this is different from a greywater harvesting system, which feeds the same appliances from used bath and shower water. Greywater is not dependent on rainfall, but does need a treatment tank, so tends to be used in larger properties.

Rainwater harvesting systems include a storage tank, pipes and a filter to feed it from drainpipes, a pump to bring water into the house as needed, and pipes (separate from those for drinking quality water) to take it to the washing machine, loos and garden tap. There are safeguards to ensure mains water is available if the tank is low or pump fails.

Rainwater harvesting gives a significant saving on water bills – particularly as the sewage element of the bill is reduced as well as the water supply part. Running costs are minimal – a little bit of electricity for the pump. However it involves initial expense on the tank, equipment and installation, and the disruption of adding new pipework, so the best time to consider it for an existing house is when doing other building work – eg refitting a bathroom or landscaping a garden.

As a campaigning point, the best time for installation is when houses are designed and built – and eg a terrace can share a system. However architects and builders may need encouragement to consider it. Wikipedia gives a wider background including international patterns of use and references.

We had a rainwater harvesting system installed when we built an extension to our bungalow 6 years ago. We chose it from Rainwater Harvesting Systems Ltd (, who advised on the tank size. The local builder and plumber doing the extension found installation straightforward – at least after digging the very deep hole.

We went for an underground tank as the garden was being dug up anyhow, but surface ones are even simpler. The only external sign is two metal covers in the lawn. Internally, there are some unobtrusive extra pipes, and a tall cupboard about a foot square holding the pump and gauge. The cost for equipment was around £2000. Labour costs were within a much larger project but probably at least another £1000. Our water bill (for a household of 2) has averaged £174 per year over the past 5 years, compared with £270 in our first year in the house, so the system will pay back over its lifetime. As water prices rise in future we expect the savings to be even greater.

For most of the year the tank is full enough not to trigger the mains top up. A day’s solid rain gives over half a tank. The filter needs cleaning every few months – as easy as rinsing a colander. Otherwise it has not needed any maintenance. We’d be happy to show visitors (contact via the Transition Tavistock email). However, on a quick look at supplier websites the technology has got even better (eg solar powered pumps), so they might recommend more recent customers.



Storytelling is one way to learn from the past and to imagine the future, so is used by many Transition groups. A free monthly storytelling group is beginning a new season at Marjon on the last Thursday of each month, with drinks and snacks provided. You are welcome to come and listen – or practise your storytelling skills in an informal atmosphere. Contact for more information.

Information Stall

TT had a presence at the very successful Community Day on September 4th. Many thanks to Geri for staffing the stall, and welcome to the newsletter to those people who have just signed up to our mailing list.

Molly Owen Community Garden

Some time ago when Caroline Keane was Mayor of Tavistock (2006) as member of the Integrated Arts Group at The Molly Owen Centre with Gill Gorbutt (Chair of the Integrated Arts Group) and other group members including May Toon and Maggie Squire together with representatives from Molly Owen, negotiated the use of the land to the rear of the building – a large rectangular area the size of two tennis courts for lease from Devon County Council. Tavi funded the group to carry out required testing for arsenic levels on the land, and it was found to be suitable for raised beds use. A small amount of funds (£1500) have been earmarked from Integrated Arts Funds to create the basis for match funding for the project.

Tom Petherick of Petherick Urquhart and Hunt, who is Soil Association representative for the SouthWest, former landscape and founder gardener of Helligan Gardens and most recently creator of the bio-dynamic ‘The Future Cities Garden’ show garden in front of Clarence House at The Garden Party to Make a Difference, Clarence House, 8-19th September 2010 has offered to advise on the layout and future use of the Molly Owen Community Garden and at another possible location for a ‘Future Town’s Garden’ based on The Future Cities garden for Tavistock.

’The Future Cities Garden revolves around the four seasons of the year. Within them it is possible to grow and harvest a wide range of fruit, flowers, vegetables and herbs, to do it cheaply and make it fun.

It incorporates innovative ideas such as ‘Forest gardening’, modelled on the natural seven storeys of the forest for maximum output using shade loving plants.

We have also created vertical growing dimensions for plants using recycled containers to take advantage of spare spaces in small places.’

Please can anyone interested in being involved e.g. joining in with the development and cultivation of the garden, initially contact Caroline Keane.

Visit To Wonnacott Farm Sunday 24th October 2010. 2pm

We would like to invite you to visit our organic farm near Roadford Lake. Come and see our free-range Norfolk Black turkeys….. we can also show you our South Devon and Aberdeen Angus beef cattle, and our sheep flock that includes both the black fleeced Zwartbles and white fleeced Roussins.

Also of interest, may be our 2 solar tube systems for hot water and heating. We have another project for a wood boiler to replace 2 oil boilers, but that is only at the planning stage. Anyway you are welcome to have a look at it all!

We sell a small amount of organic beef and lamb direct from our farm and recently we have produced some of our own organic knitting wool. Currently we are taking orders for Christmas turkeys and we can offer members or friends of Transition Tavistock a special price if you would like to order as a small group.

We try to be as sustainable as we can with our farm and we would be delighted to welcome you on 24th October and tell you all about it. There will be tea and coffee and hopefully chance for a good chat.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Rosie and Paul Yells. Wonnacott Farm, Lewdown EX20 4QU

Seriously cheap train travel: Club55 is back

First group’s time limited scheme for travelers aged 55 or over, for outward travel between 20th September and 30th November. This year it extends further north in England and with links to related schemes in Wales and Scotland – though restricted to the routes of participating companies,. Prices on a zoned basis, but include London offpeak return for £25, Cardiff for £15 – or 20% less for those holding a Senior Railcard. Details on Can be booked online – just carry proof of age (eg driving licence.) A useful way of getting friends and relatives to give the train a try. (First class prices are also attractive, for those concerned about personal space.)