Monthly Archives: July 2011

Next Food and Energy Meeting – Weds. 28th March

The next food and energy meeting will be hosted by Beau & Liz Dobson in Sampford Spiney on Wednesday March 28th, 19:30
All welcome!

Topics – Reviewing ‘Energy Savers at Home’ event on March 10th and considering our next steps!

If you can’t make it but would like to get in touch, contact Kate Royston at (01822-835819) or Mike Dennis. We can also arrange lift share if you get in touch.

July Newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of the Transition Tavistock Newsletter.

Maristow Walled Gardens Visit

A group of car-sharing Transitioners were welcomed to the gardens by Jenny Tunley Price, on a gloriously sunny evening.  As we toured the ‘pragmatically organic’ gardens, Jenny told us of her ferocious battles with Japanese knotweed, and plans for (amongst other things) a nut grove, chive hedge, dye garden and the offer of horticultural courses. I am not sure whether she is also planning to re-open the private bar cum shebeen adjacent to the mushroom shed! The garden consists of three walled acres with just one acre unwalled; much of it is steeply sloping, and this is because for each degree of slope, the garden gains an extra day and a half in terms of growing season.  It was difficult to believe that just two years ago, the whole place was completely overgrown.  Check out the website at – amongst the garden produce, there is currently a crop of delightful kittens needing homes.  Jenny welcomes donations in terms of time – not just gardening, for example she currently needs secretarial help – and can offer a home to unwanted plants as well.  Contact her via the website; or attend the next meeting of GrowTaVi at the Gardens on 9th August at 2pm.  Further details of this at

Build your own house for £3000 – all you need is a place in the woods, a chainsaw, a hammer and a one-inch chisel. The rest can be foraged, and apparently, it is very easily done.  This stunning hobbit style family house has to be seen at

Wild Camping on Dartmoor – information from Sarah inspired by a Green Drinks conversation

The summer months are supposedly upon us, and the school holidays certainly approaching, so how about spending a couple of nights wild camping on Dartmoor?

The National Park Authority says that “Wild Camping for one or two nights on the open land on Dartmoor is perfectly acceptable provided that you choose your spot sensibly and don’t pitch your tent on farmland, on moorland enclosed by walls, within 100 metres of a road, on flood plains or on archaeological sites.” 

Visit the National Park Authority’s website to view a map that shows just which wild camping is permitted (shaded in purple): .  Note that camping is not permitted on Cadover, Haytor, Holne Moor, Roborough and Spitchwick commons

Use lightweight camping equipment – large family frame tents should not be used.  Take all litter home.
Guard against risk of fire.
Ensure you do not pollute streams or rivers.
Avoid disturbing wildlife particularly during the moorland lambing and bird breeding season, from 1 March to 31 July.

So out with that tent and off you go, and here’s wishing you clear skies and peaceful nights.

How Bad are Bananas?

We all want to live in a way that is kind to the world but are you s ometimes confused about the best way to do that? In the book How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee there are some interesting observations.

Firstly, how bad are bananas? I must say, although we consume a lot of them in our household, I have always done so with a slightly guilty conscience despite their Fairtrade label. They are hardly local produce! Mike Berners-Lee, however, thinks that, at only 80 g CO 2 e (carbon dioxide equivalent – a measure of how climate damaging something is) per banana, they are brilliant! The reasons are several. They are grown in natural sunlight, are transported by ship (which is about 1 per cent as bad as by plane) and they are grown pre-packaged! And of course they are also highly nutritious, with any over-ripe fruit in our household ending its days in a cake and never in the compost. (Web-Editor’s Addition: And they don’t require cooking)

Whereas a banana’s footprint is pretty-much the same year round, this is not so for seasonal fruit. An apple varies from 10 g CO 2 e for one grown locally in autumn/winter to 150 g CO 2 e shipped and stored. More, but still a low-carbon food. A punnet of strawberries, however, produces 150 g CO 2 e grown in season, but rises to more than 10 times that if bought out-of-season, whether flown in or grown locally in a hothouse. The answer? Make the most of seasonal berries now, and when the season is over enjoy apples, pears and bananas until next summer.

How Bad are Bananas? gives tomatoes a grilling. Ordinary cheap and cheerful tomatoes bought now are really low-carbon (400g CO 2 e per kg), but out-of-season, organic tomatoes hothoused in the UK can be as bad as 50 kg CO 2 e per kg. Again, the answer is to relish our local, seasonal tomatoes now!

We have a bounteous Earth to enjoy. Each of us can enjoy all the food and drink and their amazing support systems that we need. But when we over-consume, as in indulging in climate damaging imported food, we harm, and can even destroy the Earth upon which we depend.

And for those spotty bananas:  

Low-Fat Chocolate Banana Cake

Whisk 1 egg with 75ml oil and 2 bananas .Add 50g oats, 40g melted chocolate, 150g flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp vanilla, 125g sugar and a bit of milk until it’s cake-mix consistency. Put into greased cake tin and decorate with a sliced third banana. Bake at 180 º C for 40 minutes.

(Thanks to Mike for this)

Dates for your Diary

Tuesday 12th July: Green Drinks at the Market Inn, Whitchurch Rd, Tavistock, from 7.30 to 9.30pm – for anyone who’s interested in sustainability issues, an informal get-together: all welcome. 

Wednesday 27th July: ‘In Transition’ an entertaining, informative and moving film about a year in the life of Transition around the world.  United Reformed Church, Russell St, Tavistock, PL19 8BD.  Doors open 7pm; refreshments available; showing commences at 7.30.  Admission by donation.

As always, your comments and articles are welcome and should be sent to or c/o Westden, 20 Plymouth Rd, Tavistock, PL19 8AY.