Welcome back …

Dear Transitioners

Welcome back!  We hope you all had a good summer break + enjoyed the hottest, sunniest summer ever.  Is this the portent of things to come? – good or bad?  Discuss!  Well, it’s food for thought.

Talking of food, while most took a break, Food Sense garnered the most amazing army of volunteers + coming together of the community to produce 1,092 free packed lunches (in plastic free packaging of course) for all children attending the Summer Play Scheme at Overmonnow School.  We didn’t know until 10.30 each morning how many lunch packs to prepare + they had to be ready to go by 11.30 – a mind-blowing task.  We will write the project up in detail + post on our website in due course but there is much information to put together before this can be finalised.  In the meantime we send our heartfelt thanks to all who supported the project which, we hope, will lead to a much improved scheme in future years as we continue to work on this with the County Council.  Our formal letter of thanks is reproduced at the end of this email.

Meanwhile there are two consultations that require our input.  The Welsh Government is asking for our views on fracking in Waleshow dare anyone even think of fracking in Wales? – but a response would be good.  We will discuss the Transition Monmouth response at the Members’ Meeting on Tuesday but if you would like a copy of the WG paper please email vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for a copy.  The more responses the better!

And then there’s the MCC Local Development Plan – for which we have been asked to submit candidate sites.  These are normally for housing developments but can also be for recreational + other purposes such as the creation of woodlands for the purpose of flood prevention.  Responses are required by 19 November + we will discuss a Transition Monmouth submission – but if you have any ideas please let us know – or make your own submission.  Further information on http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/planning-policy/candidate-sites.

Surplus food:  Food Sense:  We have set up a distribution system for surplus food that is being made available by Waitrose, Marks + Spencer, + LIDL.  If you would like to be part of the network or know of groups or individuals who could make use of it, please email mail@transitionmonmouth.org.  Up till now the fresh food on offer is mainly bakery items.

It’s also the time of year when there is surplus food that you have grown yourselves.  Please bring to the Swap Shop at Monmouth Priory on Saturday 15 September or email us.  On an on-going basis, fruit + veg are particularly useful for the community lunches held each week.  We are also planning an apple juicing event + will try to let you know in time – but certainly all the latest information gets posted on our Facebook pages.

Plastic Free Monmouth is delighted at the news that Raglan Dairy will be supplying milk to primary schools throughout the county in glass bottles!  No more plastic bottles, no more straws – a saving 437,000 a year of each!  Our congratulations to James Durose at Raglan Dairy + a big thumbs up to Monmouthshire County Council for a wise decision.  While we are working hard to reduce the use of plastics, we still have to clean up those that get out into the wild – so come + join the litter pick on 16 September.  Next meeting – Tuesday 25 September, 7.30 at the Robin Hood – all welcome – please join in with our aim of achieving plastic free status for Monmouth!

And lastly – HELP!  Most of our regular helpers are away for our coffee morning so please offer your services if you are able to help – 9.30 onwards on Saturday 15 September at Monmouth Priory.  Contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk / 01600 715065.

Now, here are those dates for your diaries:-

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 11 September, 7.30 to 9.00 at the Robin Hood to talk about Food Sense, Plastic Free Monmouth, fracking in Wales, the Local Development Plan, Nature Isn’t Neat, apple juicing …… – then time to talk about whatever is on your mind.  Come + chat!

Abergavenny Food Fest Fringe:  Friday 14 September, 6.45 pm at St Mary’s Church:  Food, Poverty + Power – see https://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/programme-2018/food-poverty-and-power/ – a free event

Abergavenny Food Fest Fringe:  Saturday 15 September, 2.45 pm at the Festival Farmyard in the Castle Street car park:  Food Justice:  What is it + why do we need it? With Mary Ann Brocklesby + Pamela Mason

Transition Monmouth Coffee Morning:  Saturday 15 September, 10 till 12 at Monmouth Priory:  Fairtrade refreshments, homemade cakes, sew a bag, MyGreenScene ethical home + clothing products, tools from Tools for Self Reliance Cymru, + Swap Shop for seeds, plants + produce – bring all that surplus from your gardens, + meet friends old + new!

Litter Pick:  Sunday 16 September starting at 2pm from the car park near the Skatepark on Rockfield Road.  The river banks will be a target so bring your kayaks, canoes + waders.  To help in planning, please email jim.s.handley@gmail.com to say if you will attend

Discussion Workshop:  How we collect data + use it to make better decisions about environmental management:  Tuesday 18 September, 7.30 at the Robin Hood:  Led by Matthew Macdonald-Wallace of Mockingbird Consulting

Plastic Free Monmouth:  Tuesday 25 September, 7.30 at the Robin Hood – please come + get involved.  This is a campaign in which everyone can ‘do their bit’, be it changing the way you do things at home or where you work, or at the school, church or community group that you are involved with.  We have loads of ideas + information, + plans for the coming months including achieving PLASTIC FREE MONMOUTH status very soon.  It’s fun + it’s exciting – promise!

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 9 October, 7.30 to 9.00 at the Robin Hood

MCC Climate Change Champions:  Wednesday 10 October.  This group has met quarterly for over 10 years + includes representatives from around the county.  Plastic Free will undoubtedly be on the agenda.  Contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for further details

Newent Climate, Energy + Environment Forum:  Saturday 20 October, 9.45 to 4 pm at Newent Community School with key speakers (including Dr David Drew MP, Shadow Minister for Environment), discussion groups, workshops, trade + information stands

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you soon, hopefully for the Members’ Meeting on Tuesday 11 September, our Coffee Morning on Saturday 15 September, our discussion on Environmental Monitoring on Tuesday 18 September + other of the great events happening in the next few weeks.

Ann Eggleton, Chair
Bryan Miller, Deputy Chair

creative community action…for life after oil

Summer Playscheme Lunches:

We would like to express our thanks to all those involved with the Monmouth Summer Playscheme lunch project. During August, nearly 1,100 free, healthy and nutritious packed lunches were put together (in plastic-free packaging) for the children attending the morning sessions of the Summer Playscheme at Overmonnow School.

This ambitious project (managed by Tŷ Price, Transition Monmouth Food Sense + Monmouth Methodist Church) found funding and volunteer ‘sandwich-makers’ from the Monmouth community.  Thirty-five volunteers gave up one or more of their Summer mornings to make sandwiches, bake cakes, pack the lunches and generally ferry things around Monmouth in order to get the freshly-made lunches to the children on time.  But, there are a whole host of others without whom none of this would have been possible.

Contributions + assistance came from local businesses (Wigmores Bakery, Munday + Jones Fruit + Vegetables, Milking Solutions, Tinsley Supplies Ltd);  community groups (Home-Start Monmouthshire, Monmouth Fairtrade Forum, Monmouth Lions Club, Monmouth Rotary Community Champions, Overmonnow School Parents’ Association, Rockfield Community Centre, Sunbeams Toddler Group, local branches of The Women’s Institute);  Monmouthshire Housing Association, and various local individuals.

This project was a great way to make sure the children all got a good lunch + also showed how different community groups can work together.  The feedback from parents + children alike has been very positive, with one little boy describing the lunch as “scrummylicious”!

Without the generosity of both time + money from its supporters, this would have been an impossible project to get off the ground.  So, a huge thank you to everyone involved.

Kate Rees – Transition Monmouth Food Sense
Maggie Riches – Tŷ Price, St Thomas’ Community Hall
Ann Langford – Monmouth Methodist Church