September 1st Meeting

Little Green ApplesThe glass half-empty part of me was fearing our first open meeting might be a let-down compared to our inaugural event. I needn’t have worried. Turnout was strong (around thirty of us) and everyone arrived keen and full of ideas to take us forward.

Minutes from the meeting follow below. Thank you Alison for your diligent note-taking skills!

Transition Town Reading meeting minutes, 1st September 2010 @ RISC

Short version:
Important dates:
Monday 6th September: East Reading neighbourhood group meeting (contact Madeleine).
Monday 13th September, October Festival event working group. Great Expectations, 7:30pm.
Monday 20th September, all TTR meeting, 7:30-9:30pm, RISC.

put lists from first event onto
Not owned:
find contacts for neighbourhood group that have none right now.
Contact Misha (cermakovamichaela “at ” if interested in joining Abundance project.
Join TTreading yahoo group, and read Transition Town primer if you can.
Nathan & Jeremy:
add google resources map to web site.
Principals subgroup:
co-ordinate principals discussion, and present back to whole group.
Peter R.:
set up yahoo groups for TTReadingNorth, TTReadingEast, TTReadingCentral, TTReadingWest.

Consolidate into North, South, East, West and Central Reading neighbourhood groups to begin with.
Join abundance project if interested.
Support TFC.
Food preserving workshops.
Local leaflet (newspaper) on what is going on.
Stall at Farmer’s market.
LETS give a presentation to TTR.

Long version:

Apologies: Madeleine, Ruth, Rob W., Liz J., Alan C. and others.
Attended by many (estimate 25+)
Chair: Sabrina
Minutes:  Alison

Agenda discussion:
Sabrina proposed:
– Where are we now?
– Where do we want to go from here?
– How are we going to do this?
– to include roles for people in groups (chair, minutes, finances).
Sunil added:
– (We are) transitioning us as a community as well as ourselves. Proposed an agenda item for a group for outward and inward transisition.
It was addded:
– Space for discussion on what exactly is a Transition Town.
It was proposed:
– Should have a summary of last event.
It was asked:
– Role and relationship between Transition Town Reading (TTR) and GREN.
– It was suggested that this followed on from a principles discussions.

David described In Transition event:  well attended, film screening, followed by small local groups working on questions <TO DO QUESTION>. The responses from these questions were collected into lists which will be put on the website. Local groups have started to form from that first meeting.

*Action*: Nathan to put lists from first event onto

Discussion followed:

Nathan: Transition model is not prescriptive, idea is that we acknowledge issues, collectively agree and work on what we can do to move to a low hydrocarbon future. We should reuse best practice and links with what is already happening.

Ornella:  Important to create neighbourhood *local* groups. Collaboration with GREN could be on different themes.

David: Our Transition Neighbourhoods are larger than some transition towns!

Suggestion to all: GO TO TRANSITION NETWORK to see what is happening.

Andrew: We should prioritize possible actions and concentrate on the ones that have highest impact. It’s about education too. Andrew has background in energy analysis. E.g. stopping car use much bigger impact on energy reduction compared to not leaving appliances on standby.

Sabrina: What expertise can we all bring?

Jeremy: we (everyone) needs some way to feedback to the group.

Russ: (in response to Andrew’s point): every action valuable because it’s part of an attitude change.

Sunil: Inclusivity: some people may be”doers”, some “thinkers”, find a way to include everyone.

Points also contributed:
How do we keep communications between the neighbourhood groups? Suggestion: e-bulletin.
We need to learn from groups outside TTR boundary,


Round-up of the transistion neighbourhood groups:

East Reading: Group has formed. Covers New Town and Uni area. Madeleine is the contact, dealing with mails. No email (e.g. yahoo) group yet.

South Reading: Group has formed. Yahoo group created, Peter R. is moderating this.

Then some discussion on how we make sure we keep communications going between the group: we don’t want create islands in creating neighbourhood groups. Idea of online groups (e.g. yahoo) with RSS feeds into the hub, as well as the idea of group contacts going along to “hub” meetings. Nathan explained existing Transition Town hub model.

Caversham:  an email has been sent around from the last meeting, but a group hasn’t really got off the ground yet.

Earley: groups hasn’t really formed yet. Graham H. was keen on using a centre in Earley.

Central: Group not really got off the ground. The people in this group at the In Transition meeting were actually spread over quite a large geographical area.

*Suggestion*: Consolidate into North, South, East, West and Central Reading neighbourhood to begin with.

Peter W. mentioned model of 10. Ideal group size being 10, if a group gets bigger split it down.

Sabrina: suggested project division possible rather than regional.

Many people mentioned retaining flexibility.

Some discussion of existing projects, e.g. mobile cider press (use of one has been offered by Thame group).

Ornella: As well as practical projects, wants an exchange of ideas and projects. Ties in with knowing what each person’s skills are.

Lead to discussion on similarity with LETS.

*Suggestion*: Peter asked if LETS could give TTR a presentation.

Jenny noted that there could be things that you’d want to share (skills) in TTR but wouldn’t have necessarily put on LETS database.

Suggested that we need to think about TTR and LETS.

Local projects:

Food related, “Abundance Project”:

Paul H. and Micha explained the Abundance project concept, history of it from Sheffield, and attempts/ funding to set up an abundance project in Reading. Anyone interested in taking part in the Abundance project should contact Micha (cermakovamichaela “at ”

Interest in learning preserving skills. Merry knows a lot about this. Michele mentioned idea of workshops on cooking suggested for / at RISC.
*Suggestion*: Cooking workshop teaching how to preserve.

Chris: (related to Abundance), need to think about who will benefit, e.g. giving away food could impact TFC (for example).

Andrew: important to educate ourselves on the effect of our actions. For exaple, if everyone cooked food from these fruits then we could be increasing fossil fuel usage. Education and attitude very important.

Peter W.: part of TT is reduce carbon footprint. Learn how to preserve without cooking.

Sunil: transition from mwhere we’re at. Abundance redices food miles. We should have an eductain element in everything we do.

Chris: shouldn’t cook the good fruit. Trying to reduce the reliance on distant produce by replacing woth local produce.

Heather: Does all this suggest a couple of principals?
“What value does it have?”
“The community value is the value”
Following principlas would help in identifying projects.

Sarah: If there were extra fruit, we could give away with a leafletraisinmg awareness of TTR.

Peter W.: reinforced Sunil’s point, chance to educate on apples, always with an eye on fossil fuels.

Richard: We should know where the food goes, and we shouldn’t overproduce.

Nathan: We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Acting with good intentions. Educate and want to do right thing. And accept if later find out that should have done somethong different.

Sabrina: In figuring out what todo, look beyond right/wrong, good/bad etc, instead look a helpful/unhelpful. Transition is about coming together with different skills.

Energy related projects:
Paul H.: on GREN website info on a meeting with Islamic Trustees of Env, FOE & reading Energy Pioneers. To tell people how they can use feed-in tariff.

Sabrina: Contact Sabrina for info on Reading Enegry Pioneers projects, including purchase scheme for Photo Voltaics.

Sunil: Find out about existing projects. SUPPORT TRUE FOOD – IT IS AT RISK OF CLOSING DOWN (

Paul R: Suggested an A5 leaflet with info on what is going on, combine with True Food leaflet drop. Include hints and tips.

Jeremy: make it a local newspaper.

Sabrina: Possible leaflet subgroup?

*Suggestion*: Do a True Food leaflet drop in your area.

Chris: (food related, taking away trade from local shops. Only give away in certain situatin, otherwise charge, but less than others.

Jeremy: Had started a google map of where notice boards, true food etc are.
*Action*: add google resources map to web site.

Jeremy: Had followed up on Diana’s idea of stall at the Farmer’s market. Has spoken to John at market and TTR could have small (2m) table. Need to follow-up on what we could do with this.

Jeremy: (added at end of meeting) Has found a company that does biodegradable banners. Anyone interested in sharing the cost (approx £100) for a TTR banner?


Sunil: “12 steps” to transition. TT is flexible, based on patterns that can be updated.

Dave: 12 principals based on permaculture principals.

Pete W.:: The ethics are:
Care for Earth.
Care for People.
Fair Shares.

Paul H: won’t sort out the principals now. Suggest a structured seesion to do this, or an online collaborative doc (e.g. a google doc) that all can refine.

Ornella: If small group working on this should be mixed.

Concern that a small separate group not participatory enough.

Peter: rather than creating new, find out what is already there. Read resources on web.

Richard: has material on process that could help.

Veronica: We should all go to local library and ask for TT handbook.

Dave: offered to put together a draft of principals for discussion.

Sabrina: Don’t want to loose preexisting stuff, want to add our concerns.

Peter W.: Principals and patterning are around designs. We need to sort out ethics first.

Russ: getting bogged down in semantics. We should base ourselves on what has already be done. We will have a feeling on it. Think it will grow organically.

Dave: If we become a Transition Town, then we will get more support from the network.

*Action*: Subgroup to form to coordinate the principals task, and will feedback to the larger group, where there will be an open discussion to form TTR’s principals & ethics.


Monday 13th September, October Festival event working group. Great Expectations, 7:30pm.
Monday 20th September, all TTR meeting, 7:30-9:30pm, RISC.

At next meeting we need to cover how we share the load.

Volunteers needed to chair and take minutes at next meeting.

Everyone please…
Join the TTReading yahoo group so that we can stay in touch.
Read the Transition Town primer if you can.

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