At the end of a year like no other we hope that you are all safe and well, but please remember if you need help of any kind, get in touch – you just need to ask. This time last year we were planning our Wassail, orchard pruning, Share/Swap Shops and other events. It’s sad that we are once again in severe lockdown – but in the meantime we have learned how to do things despite the restrictions, and the show goes on.
The most amazing achievement has been by our Food Sense group which continued to collect surplus food from the supermarkets and distribute to where it was well used, but in September they opened the Monmouth Community Fridge at Bridges – yay! This requires a team of night shifters to collect, sort and store the food, a team of day shifters to open the Fridge to the public each day, and an admin team to organise all this – and their PR is fantastic – they now have over 1,000 followers on Facebook!
Christmas has been particularly challenging. We had to reduce the number working at any one time to just one (unless they were from the same household) but also the quantities were staggering. We estimate that over the Christmas period we have shifted, and put to good use, over three tons of food – endless crates of sprouts, potatoes and other veg, fruit, bread but also turkeys, mince pies, ready meals, and everything you can think of. That’s over three tons of food that would have gone to waste in Monmouth! How much food is being wasted in the rest of the country, let alone in the rest of the world? The mind boggles – we go to the trouble to produce the food, harvest it, process it, package it, transport it, and then we throw it away! Homo sapiens?
We have also been getting on with our Green Grow activities, working with the ACE Green Spaces Group, undertaking site visits with Nigel Leaworthy’s great team at the County Council on further tree planting, wildflower meadows and community gardens. An on-going project has been with Monmouth Comprehensive School – fraught with difficulties in that we weren’t allowed on site until the contractors were signed off and then we weren’t allowed on site because we were in lockdown! We now have access on inset days and have made an initial site visit. But the good news is that the school has agreed, and the Governors have noted with delight, our proposal that “Transition Monmouth works with the school to develop the site in compliance with the Well Being of Future Generations Act for sustainability, resilience, biodiversity and flood prevention using the principles of permaculture and agroforestry”.
We have ideas which we hope to discuss with the school on 4 January but fear this will be postponed until the next inset day – 2 July! But all is not lost. We can now seriously get on with the open access area that consists of a community fruit / veg garden, an area of woodland planting where we already have snowdrops, primroses, foxgloves, a carpet of wild strawberries, bluebells, hellebores, ferns and plenty else, and a wildflower meadow in-the-making that goes all the way down to the bike sheds by the Leisure Centre. Well, that’s better than the ‘lawn’ they were going to sow and then mow 14 times a year, isn’t it? We have also arranged for all the green waste produced to be composted on site rather than have MCC transport it to Abergavenny for composting, for us to then buy it back for our use.
And then there’s the ACE Climate Future Festival which, we hope, will take place this year with a great range of events – something for absolutely everyone in Monmouth. Planning is well on the way but we need a larger group to make it happen. Please join the Zoom meeting (also the AGM) at 7.30pm on 10 January. The link is on the ACE Monmouth Facebook page, or email Laura.email@example.com and she will send it to you.
That’s it for now – apart from a couple of things below. We will have another Members’ Meeting soon, but not in January. The hellebores are in bud, the snowdrops are on their way, the days are getting longer, the light is getting brighter, vaccines may not solve the problem but they will surely make the world a safer place. Here’s to all things better in 2021!
And to start you off with a little bit of light reading you could try:-
https://manifesto.wwf.org.uk/wales – Our challenge to the next Welsh Government is to respond to the opportunities that lay ahead by pledging to do the following:
- Deliver a green and just economy by putting nature at the heart of every decision and creating a national jobs programme which is fit for the future
- Reform the food system so it delivers for nature and people by embedding nature and climate friendly farming practices and protecting nature abroad by making us the first deforestation free nation
- Put nature on the path to recovery by protecting our rivers, seas and land for current and future generations by dedicating 1% of all departmental budgets to restoring nature and combating climate change
And one last thing: Do you regularly take The Guardian, and would you be willing to pass on old copies from time to time? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her on 01600 716934