Monthly Archives: November 2011

Transition Tavistock November 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to Transition Tavistock’s

 latest newsletter

November 2011


1.  Green Drinks – come and have a natter each month!

December Green Drinks – come and join our festive Green Drinks on Tuesday 13th December (19:30 till 21:30) at the Market Inn, corner of Whitchurch Road and Pixon Lane in Tavistock. The Food and Energy group will also be gathering there!

2.  TT’s Committee makes its own Transition

There are changes afoot at the Committee.  Sarah Berry, who was instrumental in founding Transition Tavistock and then working hard on the Constitution and many other tasks involved in the development of the group, not to mention her staunch ongoing support and encouragement of Committee members, has stepped down from her post as Secretary.  A big thanks to you, Sarah, for all the hard work you have put in – and it’s good to know that we’ll still be seeing you around at Transition events.

We are lucky enough to have been joined by two new Secretaries who have been eagerly co-opted onto the Committee.  Nicola Dugay has taken on the key ‘traditional’ role of Secretary while Rebecca Garland has stepped up as co-ordinator of Facebook, Twitter and the Newsletter.  It is really great to have some fresh ideas and perspectives brought to bear in the Committee meetings!  All we need now is someone who is a whiz with websites and we will be moving into a whole new era of communication – so do get in touch for an informal conversation if that someone might be you!

3.  Christmas Tree Workshop and Festival

This year’s Christmas Tree Festival organised by the Friends of St Eustachius will be opening during the Dickensian Evening on 25th November from 18:00 and will then be open each day from 26th November to 4th December from 10:30 to 16:30. Admission £1. Come and look at our Transition ‘Wondrously Recycled’ tree as well as the other 55 trees on display! Our Transition Tree is pedal powered. Come and help top up the batteries! And you will also be invited to vote for your favourite tree…

Opening Ceremony        2.30pm on Friday November 25th

Dismantling        Monday December 5th from 9.00am – 12.00 noon.

Workshop Nov 13th

The Christmas Tree Workshop took place at the Friends Meeting House on Sunday November 13th.  A great deal of ingenuity and creativity saw a motley collection of sometimes unpromising looking materials transformed into beautiful decorations!

Examples of what we used …

Milk and juice bottle tops (organic, of course!) and recycled card and gift wrap.

Christmas stars: Hand knitted from Wonnacott Organic Wool , grown near Tavistock and spun at Launceston.
Small recycled boxes covered with gift wrap and string

Angels – made from old yogurt containers, covered with recycled glittery material

Greenery from people’s gardens, including a small Christmas tree

4.  Food and Energy Group

The 1st November meeting hosted by Mike was fun, informative and very positive and we agreed to move forward on a number of initiatives as soon as possible including looking into options to support the Tavistock food bank, launching the Open ‘Renewables’ Trail in January and publishing our Community Stories more widely (more details below).

We also discussed the success of the organic potato growing scheme, the apple pressing day at Wonnacott farm, and completed the planning for our 2011 Christmas tree!

5.  Progressing our Transition Stories and Sharing ‘Knowhow’

We’re finding exchanging good ideas and experiences is a great way for us to learn and grow more confident. Our first collection of Community Stories is now available on our website and we’ll be making them available in various places around Tavistock and villages very soon.

If you’d like to share your experiences of renewable energy, energy saving schemes, saving water and other resources, growing things and making things from ‘our own back yard’ … let us know!

You can put your story in our newsletter, on the website and in our growing storybook … or show others how you’re doing it via the developing ‘Open House’ type events …

Get in touch with Kate ( – 01822-835819) or Mike (see below) if you have something to share or would like a copy of the Stories for your community.

6.  Tavistock Food Bank

Initial discussions have begun on developing a Food bank facility for Tavistock. Transition Tavistock will be supporting this and look forward to contributing to its development and operation (

We’d particularly like to look at options for providing fresh fruit and vegetables on distribution days. If you have any ideas, suggestions or would like to get involved contact Mike Dennis ( 01822-618142

7.  Sharing a few thoughts on turkeys……How big is beautiful?

Christmas is around the corner, and if you are ordering a turkey, there is that big dilemma – what size do you ask for? All those things to consider….How many people? Will everyone be there on Boxing Day too? How big is the oven?!

The most popular size of turkey that people initially ask for seems to be somewhere between 12 and 15lbs (5kgs to 7kgs) but as we will explain, this also results in a lot of dilemmas for a turkey producer!!

For most types of turkey, this weight represents a good hen bird, but a good male or stag bird will be much heavier at anything from 17 or 18lbs (8kgs) upwards, depending on the breed.

So basically, looking at the whole market for Christmas turkeys there is much more demand for hen birds because they are smaller. The result of this is that in large hatcheries, the turkeys are sorted according to sex as they hatch. Then suffice it to say, that is the end for a large proportion of male turkeys.

We think this is a tremendous waste of resources and is something that we can challenge!!

Certainly on our own farm, with our own small turkey breeding flock, we celebrate every turkey that hatches and do our best to rear them all as well and as healthily as we can. We can do this because our Norfolk Black turkeys are a traditional breed, slow growing and are smaller than most of the other types of turkeys on the market. So our stag turkeys (the males) still fit into most ovens!

What about the energy needed to cook a larger bird? Well it may take a little longer, but you will either be feeding more people or you will have enough delicious meat to eat cold and hopefully to make a pie or a curry that will take very little extra cooking. So overall, cooking a larger turkey (or for that matter, anything else that is large!) will actually save energy.

To answer the question, we think that all sizes are beautiful, but do consider a larger one as you may be saving more than you think!

If you would like to order one of our organic, free-range, Norfolk Black turkeys you can see more information at or please phone 01837 871238. To go along with our thoughts above we would like to offer members of Transition Tavistock a £2.50 discount on turkeys that are 8kgs or more. Just let us know you a member when you order! To save driving, you can also collect our turkeys from Tavistock if you wish.

                Rosie and Paul Yells

8.  How Bad is Spending £1?

We live, work and shop in a carbon-fuelled economy. So practically every pound we spend releases carbon into the air somewhere. So it is not only the rich countries which are primarily responsible for climate change; it is also the rich individuals who are most likely to be carbon-profligate, not intentionally, but simply through living a normal middle- or high-income life.

If you are middle-income do not despair! Looking at the examples below you can see that some purchases are a lot more carbon-intensive than others. You can choose to keep your pound away from the more planet-trashing activities such as flying and leaving the lights on, spending it instead on insulating your home, solar panels or, if you really want to feel good, on a rainforest charity.

Minus 330 kg (i.e. 1/3 ton)CO2e on a well-executed rainforest preservation project
Minus 70 kg CO2e on loft insulation
Minus 3 kg CO2e on solar panels
160 g CO2e on financial, legal or professional advice
720 g CO2e on a car
930 g CO2e on a typical supermarket trolley of food
1.7 kg CO2e on petrol for your car
4.6 kg CO2e on a flight
6 kg CO2e on the electricity bill
10 kg CO2e or more on budget flights

For comparison:-

a) A banana is 80g CO2e and a return flight to Hong Kong is 3.4 tonnes CO2e.

b) The average footprint of a person in the UK is 10 to 15 tons of CO2e, and it is necessary we reduce this to 2 tons CO2e. Half of the 10 tons is “private” i.e. 5 tons that we can control ourselves – petrol, heating, food etc, and half is “public” e.g. shops, schools, road building, and need laws to help reduce these.

CO2e is short for carbon dioxide equivalent which is the overall contribution to global warming of carbon dioxide plus all the other global warming gases emitted such as nitrous oxide and methane.

The fact that nearly every economic activity is bad for the planet has got to make you wonder whether the current accepted goal for high economic growth above all else is really the way to go. Tim Jackson’s book, Prosperity without Growth, suggests alternative systems. According to Mike Berners-Lee, “We could do with spending less time charging around earning as much as we can to buy things we don’t really need.” Instead, let’s try to enjoy what we have got and separate our self-esteems from our salaries.

Optimum Population Trust say that investing £1 in Family planning projects in developing countries could save 250kg (1/4 ton) CO2e.

9.  News From Transition Plymouth

“I thought your members would be interested in a film screening of Gasland that we are staging at The Barbican Theatre, Plymouth on Monday 5 December at 7pm. I have attached a copy of the poster.”

It looks like an interesting film, all about Fracking.  You might have heard that Fracking taking place in this country has been causing small earthquakes.  Well here’s your chance to find out more.


Pat Bushell for Transition Plymouth.

TRANSITION PLYMOUTH is an open initiative that anyone can join. 

Our Planning Group meets monthly and take decisions by consensus, working towards implementing our Aims and Objectives which can be found on the website. 

Anyone receiving our emails is welcome to join the Planning Group providing you agree with these Aims and Objectives, and are prepared to commit to monthly planning meetings. 

Transition Plymouth now has a base to develop their activities – 171 Armada Way. If you’re passing call in and say hi! They also have meeting rooms available to book in exchange for a donation.

 Tel: 01752 255088 / 772395 / 07722851604

10.  Disease and climate change

This was the title of a talk at the Wharf last month by Dr Ann Pulsford. We were reminded that temperatures were rising though not equally across the globe; that some plants have fewer pores due to the increase in CO2; that glaciers are melting and that there were fears that the Gulf Stream could be stopped by melting Arctic ice. Malaria, cholera, Dengue Fever and West Nile Virus were all occurring in areas where they had not been seen before. Insects are carrying disease to warmer areas. There is an increase in Lyme disease carried by ticks which is prevalent on Dartmoor. Changes in the climate mean that mosquitoes are spreading disease in warmer areas. Diseases which were once restricted to the tropics are now found further north. Just as diseases followed Hurricane Katrina and there was an outbreak of e.coli after the Boscastle flood, we need to be on the alert to the spread of disease through contaminated water as earthquakes and storms become more common.

It seems to me that while there may be no simple solutions, concern for climate change is not just a matter of personal preference but is an issue to which our politicians both local and national need to be called to account.

Mike Dennis

11.  Open House – Help Please!

Does your house have any renewable energy features (ground source heat pump, solar water heating, photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, greywater harvesting etc)? Or do you know of anyone else who has such features? If so can you let me know straight away as we are seeking to compile a current list of good practice which could form part of a renewables open house trail if those concerned are agreeable. Don’t think that someone else will tell me. I would rather be told several times than not at all. Email me at or ring me on 01822 618142.

Mike Dennis

12.  News From Tidy Tavy

 We have agreed that we should hold the Tidy Tavy Days on a regular basis, on the first Saturday in the month. This avoids clashing with the Farmers’ Market. So the next one will be on Sat 7 Jan, meet at 10.00 am at the Wharf.

Pamela, Jim and I felt we needed some help because of lack of time and expertise. Neil McClung ( will also hold a contact list and is to produce an action plan; Jeff Moody ( will work with Jim on the website.

Thanks to them for offering and thanks to all who support Tidy Tavy.

                        Jane Miller

Editor’s Note: There was no mention of a December meeting but there are a couple of contact email addresses above if anyone wants to query this!

13.  Transition In Practice Course

From: Paola Uberti ‪<>

Dear Transition Tavistock,

You may have seen on the Transition Network that Schumacher College is hosting a two week short course called Transition in Practice from January 3 – 13, 2012.

The course is taught by pioneers and leaders of the Transition movement including Rob Hopkins, Naresh Giangrande and Sophy Banks, who are at the heart of the Transition Town Totnes project and the Transition Network.

This two week course looks at the Transition experiment through stories and models of change. What is the transition that is needed at this time? What supports engagement and shifts in behaviour, for individuals, organisations and communities? What stories do we know of other cultures that have made the transition to a peaceful, inclusive and sustainable way of living? And what is it about Transition that has created such a widespread engagement around changing how we live?

The course will give a deep conceptual and embodied understanding of the shifts we are living through now, and provide maps of the territory that support grounded and wise choices through these turbulent times. It will be a chance to connect with key figures involved in the vital movement our communities need in these challenging times.

Transition Network Offer!

In order to assist participation from Transitioners we offer a fees discount to active members of the Transition movement.

   Any 1 week – 10% fee reduction

   Two weeks – 20% fee reduction

 In addition we can offer a further 10% reduction to all those participants who wish to take the course as a non-residential and organise their own accommodation.

Very best wishes,


Marketing Volunteer

Schumacher College

Direct: +44 (0) 1803 860 054

Fax: +44 (0) 1803 866 899

Mailing address: The Old Postern, Dartington, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6EA, England

14.  Car Club

A car sharing scheme may be on its way to Tavistock. Watch this space. Update next month!

15.  Apple Juicing Success

A group of Transitioners met up at Wonnacott Farm on the 22nd October and had a very enjoyable day pressing apples and bottling the juice.

There are some ideas for improving the process for next year, including a community apple harvesting, and holding a wider event. Watch this space!

16.  Additional ‘Snippets’

EoN power down box (for PCs and TVs): The TV version is available from the EoN shop for £3. The desktop version is more expensive (! TASS also have a number available in exchange for a donation.

National Self Build & Renovation Centre: Sue and Adrian have visited the NSBC in Swindon. This is a really good facility full of excellent exhibits and ideas and recommended, especially if you are near Swindon (

Time banks and LETS (local currency): With the raging storm continuing over the financial market and the security of our money … highlighted also by the ‘Occupy’ protestors, perhaps we should be looking more closely into the opportunities that developing a Tavistock and Villages Time Bank or LETS scheme might offer? More next month or check out the Transition book: LOCAL MONEY: how to make it happen in your community (

Cars running on compressed air: According to Wikepedia they have been under development since the 1920’s. Reading this article ( it seems as though there are still limitations to overcome and Tata Industries may have stepped away from their development work.

Interesting reading

Martin Taylor recommends:

‘Renewable Energy in the Countryside: Rewards & Risks. A study for Campaign to Protect Rural England, Devon’  (

‘Land use futures: making the most of land in the 21st century’. This is a report from 2010 available at:

Local Consultations

West Devon Borough Council has launched a number of consultations and surveys for those interested.

Call for residents to take part in shopping and leisure study ( A study into the shopping and leisure needs of Okehampton and Tavistock being conducted by independent consultants brought in by West Devon Borough Council.

Designers to work with communities on development vision ( West Devon Borough Council is inviting the people of West Devon to take part in the shaping and designing of new housing and employment developments in Okehampton and Tavistock. The sites for development were decided earlier this year as part of West Devon’s Core Strategy.

Want to get more involved in Planning for West Devon? Tell us how! ( A blueprint setting out how West Devon Borough Council will be involving the community in making plans about future development in the area has been published for consultation.

Survey calls for the Midas touch ( BUSINESSES in West Devon now have a golden opportunity to tell the Borough Council and Devon Renaissance (DR) what makes them tick, how we can help them in future and provide a steer on attracting funding to allow this to happen (open until Friday 25th November 2011).