Thursday, April 17, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 17th April 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent MercuryThe latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has pulled no punches in relating its findings this time.

It has always warned us about the effects of climate change but they all seemed to relate to someone else, in some other part of the world, didn’t they? Well, not any more. The report states that there is not a single region in the whole world that will not be affected by even 2⁰C of warming. This will bring heat waves and other weather related disasters. A 3⁰- 4⁰C temperature rise will see even the wealthy countries, with advanced agricultural systems, start to suffer. There has been three times the number of natural disasters during the period 2000 to 2009 than occurred in the 1980s.

But when are we going to do anything about it? The powers that be must read the reports but what then? We lag behind all our European neighbours in investment in renewable energy and despite what most people believe the USA and China are surging ahead.

We already have a well developed ‘green’ economy but it must be invested in much more. We need to cut our energy waste, to make our homes warmer and cheaper to run – the two things go hand in hand. Investment in renewable energy must be encouraged – not only wind power but solar technologies, which have developed dramatically over the last few years, power from water and waves and geothermal energy but conservation is the most important.

Victoria Nicholls. 
Deal With It - Transition Deal

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gleaning in Kent 26th Kent

Greetings fellow gleaners!
We're really excited for 2014! In 2013, we already gleaned approximately 48 tonnes of produce, equal to over 200,000 meals, with over 200 volunteers across 18 gleaning days. We launched gleaning hubs in Kent, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, Bristol, London and Manchester, and we hope over the coming year to expand to other regions like Lincolnshire and Scotland, and around Europe! We also achieved extensive media coverage, including Channel 4's River Cottagethe GuardianBBC Radio 4's Food Programme and Al Jazeera. And we've recently become one of the finalists for the BBC Food and Farming Awards, in the category of Best Initiative in British Food!
We've got another glean coming up, and we need your help! We've found thousands of leeks going to waste, ready for gleaning. It's an organic farm we've never gleaned from before near Wye, and our first leek glean in Kent! Last month, we managed to salvage nearly 2 tonnes of cabbages and cauliflowers that would otherwise have been wasted, and we hope to do the same again! Join us in the fields of Kent!
Leek gleaning day on Saturday 26th April 10am-5pm (TBC):
Join the Arable Spring! Join us for an idyllic day on a farm near Wye in the Kent countryside, saving literally tonnes of delicious leeks that would otherwise have been wasted for charity. All the food will be going to charities dealing with food poverty via our good friends Community Food Enterprise, FareShare and Food For All in London. Travel expenses are covered for those travelling from Kent – just check with us first! There may also be a few London places available, with priority to Kent gleaners.

Please join us in the fields! If you can make it, please contact me at to confirm whether you can make the whole day, and send me your phone number and where you’ll be travelling from (e.g. London, Kent, etc.) so we can group you with fellow travel companions. We’ll then send you finalized details closer to the time. Please get in touch asap so we have an idea of numbers – the more people we have, the more leeks we can save! Also, please do check whether you can make it, as lots of drop outs at the last minute can jeopardise the gleaning day going ahead!

Please spread the word to your friends and networks
, and do recommend any groups you think we should get in touch with! Here's a sharable facebook link for the event. If you're receiving this you're already on our gleaning list, but if your friends want to receive emails about future gleaning days, get them to sign up to our gleaning list here.
If you can't join us this time, watch this space – we’ll have more gleaning days coming up over the coming year!
See you in the fields!
Many thanks,
Martin Bowman
UK Gleaning Co-ordinator
We are BBC Food and Farming Awards finalists!
See photos from our most recent Feeding the 5000 in Brussels.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cool .... Pines Calyx as a Giant Camera Obscura this weekend

Pines Calyx as a Giant Camera Obscura

The Pines Clayx as a Giant Camera Obscrua
This Easter, the Pines Calyx is going to be turned into a Giant Camera Obscura. Come along and literally have your world turned upside down. Created by artist Sue Toft. Plus Sue’s Skyscreen installation and amazing light painted photographs by the Pines Calyx’s General Manager, Kevin Francis
Open Easter Weekend 18-21 April, 10.00am16.00pm
FREE with entry by donation to the Pines Garden

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Planting up at the Deal Station Garden ....

The Team were out again today (Sat) at the Deal Station Garden - all nine planters have now had their first planting with a mix of early cropping salad and perennial edibles with some companion flowers.

Our store area has been taken over by tons of strawberrys to go out later in the month.

The crabble apple and poppy areas all look progressing well .... we have a volunteer from one of the houses nr the car park to water the tree. Sarah has done a great job in organising the watering schedule...

for more info contact sarah at

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 10th April 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent MercuryGood news, of sorts, for the badgers this week. Trial culls that have been taking place have been cancelled because they have been shown to be unsuccessful – exactly as the science had forecast. A huge amount of money has been wasted on something that was never going to work and has caused suffering to the badgers that were not killed outright.

In Wales, where it was decided not to go for a cull of badgers, it has been shown that increased bio-security, greater care over cattle movements and a programme of vaccination has been instrumental in reducing cases of bovine TB over the past year.

Surely the question should be asked – from where do badgers get TB? It is pretty obvious that TB has been passed to badgers from cows and an inevitable cycle has continued. Poor health in cattle is caused by continued over production of milk, where cows have a very short and highly industrious life.

Another report this week has told of the unprecedented killing of red kites by the use of poison. These magnificent birds have been successfully re-introduced into the UK after years of persecution made them extinct. The bodies of 16 kites were found in Scotland and the RSPB are at a loss as to why these birds were killed. Birds of prey are often killed by gamekeepers on grouse moors, however unlawfully, but red kites are carrion eaters and do not kill live prey.

Are we a nation of animal lovers?

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Deal 'Gardening Question Time' Tuesday 29th April

Deal With It are organising a Deal 'Gardening Question Time' on Tuesday 29th April at the Landmark Community Centre doors open 7pm for a 7:30pm start.

The idea of the evening help anyone who wants to grow fruit and veg how to get off to a flying start or those of us who do it but want to improve

The format will be informal one with the emphasis on sharing and swapping ideas and knowledge.

None of us are 'experts' but we been amazed when people come together the richness of the knowledge in our community. Its about passing those skills on

Ignorance is Welcome :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Suggested planting list for next week...

Deal Station Gardening Group
Spring/Summer Planting Plan 2014
We wanted to maximise visual impact as well as illustrate some basic veg planting techniques (drought, companion planting).  Plants have been chosen for colour, hardiness and mixed heights.
A common theme in all the planters will be the planting of wild flowers to grow up amongst the veg.  Red poppies, white oxeye daisies and corncockles in remembrance of the start of the Great War. 
Ramsgate Platform
X2 new long thing planters
Red Valerian
Trailing rosemary
Purple Sage
- will need a water retentive mulch, bark chips or broken sea shells maybe
London Platform
Planters 1 & 2 (country end)
Broad Beans  - existing and new sowings
French bean – seedlings, started in greenhouses
Rainbow chard  - planted in blocks
Beetroot – planted in blocks
Planter 3  (by the gate)
Rhubarb – already in situ
Strawberries – in situ
Cranberries – in situ
Gooseberry -  to purchase, large and spiky
Planters 4 & 5
Salad – early spring
Sweetcorn in grid formation                      }
Squash between sweetcorn                     } 3 sisters
Beans (maybe) up the sweetcorn                        }
Trailing nasturtiums

Front of the Station  - Sue and Adrian to source and report back 
Globe artichoke
Wild flowers as above

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Busy day at the Deal Community Garden's

Again we got a great response for our volunteers today: with 16 people out this morning

At Deal Station Garden we moved nearly 2 tons of topsoil to the two new planters on the Ramsgate Platform.

We setup two additional planters outside the main Station entrance 
and a team completed our third Pop-up Poppy Meadow dig at the Deal Telephone Exchange and sowed the poppy seed. If any one has any poppy or wildflower seed we could do with some at the two end areas...

Meanwhile back at the Landmark Garden Imogen and crew are starting plant up veg & salad crops. We also got a nice donation of runner beans for the front bed.

Next Saturday 12th - the Deal Station team are planting up the planters from about 9:30am - the suggested planting list is below - please contact Adrian O if you have any other suggestions or bring plants on Saturday...

We need help to remove the waste bags from the Telephone Exchange - so if you passing en route to the recycling centre please help yourself ...

Big thank you to everyone who turned out on this bright and sunny day in Deal ....

Victoria's Green Matters - 3rd Feb 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

At last, our ‘greenest government ever’ is launching the ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’ (RHI) which will encourage the market in domestic renewable heat. Similar to the ‘Feed in Tariff’ (FiT) for solar powered electricity production, this aims to pay the consumer to generate heat for the home. Solar thermal systems are already in use which utilise the sun’s power to heat domestic water supplies.

There are various other systems already in place in much of Europe – here again we are way beyond our European colleagues in using this proven technology. Biomass boilers use wood based fuels e.g. compressed sawdust pellets, sometimes using the waste from saw mills and sometimes from sustainable forests where each felled tree is offset by the planting of another.

Ground source heat pumps are another option. Here, heat is absorbed from the ground by fluid filled pipes sunk into the earth and used to heat water in the home. Another technology is air source heat pumps which act rather as a fridge in reverse by extracting heat from the atmosphere and recycling it into the home. Both systems require a small amount of electrical energy to power the pumps but both use naturally occurring heat which is constantly renewed.

The rising cost of energy has been constantly in the news for the last few months and has provided the politicians with many opportunities for sound bite reactions but little has been done to provide long term solutions but RHI would reduce energy use and therefore cost.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Films at Pine Calyx - 9th April Project Wild Thing

Films at the Pines Calyx: Wednesday 9th April, 11am & 7.30pm  Project Wild Thing

Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get more kids (and their folks!) outside and reconnecting with nature. The film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature.  And Project Wild Thing is much more than a film, this is a growing movement of organisations and individuals who care deeply about the need for nature connected, free-range, roaming and outdoor playing kids in the 21st century. Hundreds of people have already committed huge amounts of time, energy, resources and money to help get the project where it is today. Which is really just the beginning.

Calyx Films by the Sea

The Bay Trust will be screening a series of educational films depicting various aspects of sustainable living, at the Pines Calyx throughout 2014. 

Free Entrance* - Licensed Bar – Popcorn available – Doors open 7pm

Seats are limited so email to reserve a seat
* Donations welcomed to cover license fees


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sussex Community energy response to Fracking

Sussex Community Energy takes on Fracking as 15 community energy schemes launch across Sussex

Balcombe hit the headlines again this week: not because of the Sauron-like threat of evil Cuadrilla, but because plucky locals in the village have started their own community energy scheme: REPOWERBalcombe.

Indeed, REPOWERBalcombe is one of 15 energy coops launched recently across Sussex. Under the mentoring of Community Energy South, these community groups are now being up-skilled by the team at OVESCO in Lewes, ready for launches in the next 12 months or so.

It's surely supremely ironic that the threat of fracking in East and West Sussex - where thousands of wells are required to fulfill frack companies' promises to shareholders - is causing a surge in interest in its alternative.

And while the anti-fracking movement grows in strength, community energy also grows as a positive alternative. Being involved in both camps, it's interesting to see how anti-fracking is seeding this potential:
Resistance to fracking has boosted community spirit in areas affected. It's an old maxim that people tend to unite in the face of a threat; in the towns and village where frackers are intent on drilling, anti-fracking groups are some of the largest (and most active) organisations in each place. This provides fertile ground for similarly aligned groups, such as those supporting renewable energy.
Anti-fracking requires an attention to detail that that - for many of us - would simply be too dull to contemplate a few years back. Comprehending the miasma of technical, regulatory, legal, and financial mechanisms involved in the oil and gas industry have all been fundamental to the fight against fracking - and blocking frackers uses much of this type of this industry-specific knowledge. The devil really is in the detail.
These finely - honed skills are transferable onto something more positive. Community energy schemes require learning about organisational structures (usually Coops), working out how to raise money, dealing with lease agreements as well as the technical bits and pieces to do with generation equipment and grid connection. This kind of attention to detail reaps rewards when applied to this new form of renewable energy development.
The new resistance to government-led programme of unconventional fossil fuels has revealed people power as an effective weapon. And grassroots action cuts both ways: it can resist, but it can also grow. A bottom up movement is rising: with models such as OVESCO in Lewes and Brighton Energy Coop, communities around Sussex (and beyond) can see that their their long-held frustrations over the lack of renewable energy might be sorted out via DIY. If you want something doing, you gotta do it yourself.

In Germany, nearly 50% of renewable energy is owned by individuals and community groups. More than 1000 coops help power the nations renewable energy transition. Many fossil fuel power stations have been shut down; renewable energy has simply out-competed them. For the UK's oil and gas industry, this is a worrying trend: have their fracking activities kicked over a hornets nest that threatens them with their own extinction? Go to this article on our website to share it

Brighton Energy Co-operative is the trading name of Brighton Energy Limited, a Community Benefit Society registered in England, Registration number: 31107 R


Monday, March 31, 2014

Deal Garden Share - Looking for a grower in Walmer, Cornwall Rd area

We are looking for a Garden Share Grower in the Walmer, Cornwall Rd area. 

Small growing area approx 3x4m in south facing garden, own access and water butt / tool shed.

If you are interested in finding out more please email or phone Steve on 01304 372673

Sunday, March 30, 2014

East Kent Transition Gathering 30th March

We had the first of 2014's East Kent Transition Gatherings this afternoon in Whitstable. 

This is a twice yearly event for an informal networking between all transition groups in East Kent. 

Today's event was at the Stream Walk Community Garden hosted by Transition town Whitstable. There was about 35 people from transition groups & projects in Whitstable, Canterbury, Dover, Ashford and Deal. 12 DWIers manged to attend.

The history of garden was very interesting. Its now three years old based on a 7 yr lease of an old allotment in the town which imposes some constraints on building as it all needs planning permission.

The garden is subject to both flooding from the stream and drought - so an interesting site grow things on.

Laid out on good permaculture principles with nice features like compost toilet, education area and Facebook site
coming soon tea /cafe area. An inspiring site to visit with fantastic work being done from TT Whitstable. For more details see their

Jo Barker  from Canterbury TT faciliated the afternoon and  spoke about the Permaculture International Conference in 2015 & how we could get involved

From the round up:

  • Eco screenings
  • Workshops on inner transition
  • Transition Streets at Addisham
  • Book swap
  • Bike mend coming up
  • as well as the Stream walk...
  • Library Beds site in the centre of town
  • Timebanking project
  • Social Business network via blue banana
  • Community Garden got funding & go ahead from DDC
  • Eden Project coming to Greening Dover 7th June
  • Deal has ended its status as the oldest muller in transition and now is 'offical'
  • Deal station Community garden expansion on platforms
  • Started 3 pop-up meadows on waste land in the town
  • 2nd year of the Landmark Community Garden on the High Street of Year (!)
  • Deal Seedy Saturday seed & plant swap on 22nd May
  • Deal beach clean on 4th May
  • Energy Fair in October
  • Attending the Eco-fair in Canterbury on 17th May

Many thanks to our hosts at Whitstable and our car sharers from Deal.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Deal's BigDig day 2 - Meadow Making @ Deal Station

The weather was a lot kinder to us this weekend, rather than the hail & rain our volunteers endured last week.

Dave had done sterling work during the week to do a second dig and with all the bricks and rocks he dug out even manage to build a rockery at the end of the site.

We had donation of tons of Daffodil's bulbs from the Adelaide Cafe at Hacklinge ... have to see if they are viable next year but all planted.

We had two tons of toil soil delivered to the waste land on the Ramsgate side of the station to give a good base to the 115sq m we cleared the week before.

After getting that spread and the Poppy and Golden Coreopsis seeds sowed we formed a Green-Line dance to tread the the seeds in.

We had enough energy to work on two more mini-meadows: One on triangle of waste land in the Car Park - where we have
also planted a crab apple tree

and the third mini-meadow on the waste land in front of the telephone exchange opposite the Coop.

Next weekend 5th April we need volunteers to help soiling up the new planters on the Ramsgate Platform and completing the Phone Exchange area.

A big thank you to our 14 volunteers today and to Rose & Adrian for their version of the 'World Turned upside down' .... Thank you Diggers all!