Community Gardening in Kentish Town!

On March 7th, five of us gathered at Montpelier Gardens (address here) on a lovely spring morning, tidied up the beds, harvested some lambs’ lettuce (yum) and agreed a planting plan for the season.

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Planting plan 

Bed 1: Potatoes (two varieties).

Bed 2: Herb bed. Already there & beginning to grow again: feverfew, oregano, chives, mint, sage, lemon balm. Plant: coriander, parsley, fennel, dill, Greek basil, rosemary.

Bed 3 Nettle bed. Runner beans, mangetout, broad beans, yellow courgettes. We were offered gem courgette seeds by a generous resident when she saw us working on the beds! We also have some spaghetti courgette seeds.

Bed 4 Salad bed. Kale, red mustard plants, rocket, chard, spinach, sorrel.

 

March 21st 10am – the Big Dig

This month, we’ll have two communal sessions, it being a busy time for gardens – the first being 10am on March 21st eg. the Big Dig – please come along! No experience needed, just a willingness to get your hands dirty.

Otherwise  we’ll have a communal session the 1st Saturday of the month at 10am. Below is the list of March jobs. If you can pop in & do some work on the beds any time, that would be great.

 

March jobs

1. Get some small but sturdy stakes with which to label the plants – very important if starting from seed.

2. Get the potatoes & chit them.

3. Break up chive clumps & spread.

4. Get woodchips  for potato bed. Transport from park gate.

5. Start propagating seeds.

 

Hope to see you soon!

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Get your hop plant now

Our popular hop growing project returns for a second year!
The idea is that we all grow hops in our gardens and balconies, we harvest them in the autumn to brew a batch of local beer, then we all drink it together.

Last year we harvested 9kg of hops. We’re hoping to do even better this year!

Article about last year’s hop growing on The Kentish Towner website

If you’d like to join in you can buy a hop plant for £12. Place your order using the Paypal button below. We’ll have them ready to pick up in the week of 16th March. Traditional planting day for hops is St Patrick’s Day! We will close the orders on 5th March.


Transition Tipple hop plant



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Darn It!

The inaugural Darn It! event took place at the Grafton on a sunny January afternoon in January.

Cake was eaten and Bloody Marys were drunk. Plenty of sewing and darning took place – there were new logos, patchwork jumpers and numerous holes repaired – take that moths! There was a really nice mix of darn pros and rookies so even those with zero experience (come moi) were able to get stuck in. There was even an ‘Embellisher’ (come next time to find out more). What a lovely afternoon!

We can’t wait for the next one – needles at the ready!

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Darn it! Sunday 18/1 2-5pm @ The Grafton

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Power Up North London – latest news!

Welcome to Power Up North London’s first newsletter!

Back in April, Transition Kentish Town, Transition Tufnell Park and Transition Dartmouth Park joined forces to hold a meeting proposing a community renewable energy project. The aim was to consider how we can generate clean, renewable energy in our area and use any income created to benefit the local community. The meeting had a fantastic turn out and since then a core group of volunteers have come forward to work on making this proposal a reality.

The project
The core group has looked at the various energy sources and organisational structures this community project could incorporate. Overall, the group has decided that installing solar panels on a large community or commercial building would be the most suitable option for a first project, as there are established successful models of community owned  solar in London, and these projects can generate income to fund future energy efficiency or generation projects in our community.

We are currently looking for a suitable location and have begun to speak to local businesses and owners of other large buildings who have potential roof space. We want the project to be in the local area so that the local community see the benefits. If you have any ideas for potential locations for a rooftop solar array, please get in touch as we’d like to be speaking to as many people as possible in this early stage.

Next steps
Power Up North London is seeking an accountant or someone with a financial background to act as our treasurer. If you are interested in the project and willing to give an hour or two a week, please contact us at powerupnorthlondon@gmail.com for more information
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Our next major challenge is finding a partner who shares our vision and has suitable roof space for a solar installation. We will also be continuing our research into grant applications and other funding options. When we have a potential project in place we will look to establish ourselves as a community benefit society (BenCom) or similar, for which we will need to appoint a few official board members including a treasurer.

We’d love to hear from you!
While there are a small group of us working on the logistics of this project we want it to remain a community- wide initiative open to everyone. Please share this newsletter widely with those you feel will be interested and don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions and recommendations.

All the best,
Power Up North London

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Belsize Beer/Kentish Town Keg/Primrose Pint: 1st taste this Saturday!

Come along to the Bull Pub this Saturday to the launch event of Belsize Beer, Kentish Town Keg and Primrose Pint where you can sample (at least) one of the 500 pints of locally brewed 4.5% beer!

 

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Hop harvest 2014

The Kentish Keg / Belsize Beer / Primrose Pint hop growing project had their first harvest yesterday.

8.7kg of hops from all over the area were brought to The Bull pub and are being brewed today.

We will be sampling the beer in three weeks time!

Meanwhile, we will be growing our hops again next year and there will be another opportunity for new hop growers to get involved.

2kg hop harvest from champion grower Mike of Mercers Road

Debbie weighing the harvest

Eli with a box of hops

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The power’s out in the heart of man – take it from your heart, put it in your hand!

On Saturday 10th May three of our North London Transition groups came together with local (and in some cases from further afield) empowered residents to discuss the feasibility of setting up a North London community energy company! On a day which typified the ever-baffling nature of the ‘British Summer’, we were delighted to welcome around seventy attendees brimming with enthusiasm and support.

nlpFirstly, we heard from Agamemnon Otero who gave an enthralling overview of the mightily impressive work he has done as a Director and Project Manager of Brixton Energy;  driving the creation of the first inner-city, co-operatively owned renewable energy project on social housing estates as well as two further projects of the same model. He highlighted the role that such projects can play in fostering community empowerment, citing the apprenticeships that are undertaken by the young residents who reside in the estates. This is an aspect that Hackney Energy are also hoping to adopt, according to our second speaker Millie Darling, who provided an inpiring insight into the work she has done in creating the energy co-operative from scratch. Her main tip – take the initiative and just do it! We then heard from Nigel Farren of Energise Barnet who provided the group with a wealth of advice on the key aspects that need to be considered for such an ambitious project, such as company structure, funding, council support, and the focus on energy production and/or efficiency. After a stimulating and exciting Q&A where the thirst for knowledge was extraordinary, Nigel’s food for thought led us nicely into the second part of the event – our open discussion.

Our enthusiastic energy producers split off into tables to brainstorm some of the key themes of the day; funding, location, company structure, communicating with local authorities, district heating, and marketing. Discussions were vibrant and productive, as well as being a great opportunity to meet some new friendly local faces! Each group then came back to present their interesting and inciteful findings, and as the clock ticked past ten past four we realised that we’d reached the unfortunate time where we needed to wrap up.

The emphasis in Sara’s closing remarks and over the ensuing days has been that of momentum – let’s ensure that the positive energy and can-do spirit is capatilised upon over the coming weeks and the aim is for real and tangible action to be taken over this period to help develop the project.

Finally, thank you to everyone that attended on behalf of TKT, TTP, and TDP – all of your enthusiasm and support was infectious and has filled us all with much excitement and positive energy that we can make a real difference by turning this incredible idea into a wonderful reality.

PS. any ideas and feedback on the event and the discussion going forward are welcomed!

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Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it…

We set up Transition Kentish Town four years ago. We’ve done all kinds of things together – film showings, marmalade making, nettle and elderflower workshops, gardening adventures, apple pressing, draught busting, seed swaps, talks and films.

One of our bigger projects was setting up our community-led veg box scheme in 2012. The idea was to start something that went beyond volunteering, something that could generate income and jobs, build an alternative food supply chain outside the supermarket economy, and lock in social change.

We’re coming together today with our neighbouring Transition Initiatives in Dartmouth Park and Tufnell Park to see if we can create another ambitious social enterprise: a community-owned energy company.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

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Kentish Town Keg – 80 local growers sign up!

Last night saw the distribution of the first batch of prima donna hop plants at The Grafton Pub. A great time was had by all sampling all the local brews and looking ahead to our very own craft beer. Whilst in Brixton, the first year launch of Brixton Beer saw 40 growers sign up – we have been completely amazed to have already 80 local growers on board. Wow!

The Grafton have offered to host a ‘sampling and beer growing’ night for us in May/June….more news soon!

 

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