Notes from meeting of 15 Feb 2010

Reported by Finn, with a few additions by David:

A good meeting last night, with Paul, Casper, Tom, Robert, David, Ian, Joyce, Jane, Gayle, and Finn.
We were also joined by Janet Maines from Farnham Town Council.

Age of Stupid / Transition Plan-Vision for Farnham
Paul said that although the numbers of people coming to watch the Age of Stupid at the Maltings was low, it had made him realise that we are lacking a policy or plan on a way forward for Farnham, GB and the world — what we need to do about what is already beginning to happen and whether our publicity materials are relevant.
Tom said that local action is best because then we are not hamstrung by lack of international agreement.
Robert said that the 2006 Future Vision Statement for Farnham could be a starting point and Janet said that the Farnham Design Statement, currently being finalised, could be another one.
Finn said that the Transition Priorities (Food, Energy, Transport, Housing, Jobs) could be another way of getting to definition of a policy statement, as could the Vision wall chart we produced last year.

Janet asked us to review the Design Statement and give input to that. We agreed that would be the best starting point.

Paul (kind of) volunteered to coordinate this activity, but we must all support him.

ACTION: Janet Maines to forward the Design Statement to Paul. Paul to gather our input on that document.

Greening Bentley
Robert said that the Greening Bentley team had decided to stop being proactively engaged with the community but simply to offer information and support via their website. This was owing to a low level of engagement from the community, which Robert felt was part of a more general kind of “un-green” feeling since the Copenhagen conference.

Jane pointed out that the population as a whole is going through a grieving process. Many people are in Denial. As someone else had said, “In order for me to agree with you you are asking me to give up every hope and aspiration my culture has ever taught me to want”.

Someone pointed out that this was the good thing about Transition — the emphasis on Positive Visions and Fun.

Meeting with Waverley Borough Council
David asked what preparation we were going to do for this meeting.

Janet Maines asked whether Members or Officers would be at the meeting. Finn said that he thought that Officers would be manning the stalls and that Members were being invited.
Janet recommended that Diane James, Chair of the Scrutiny Committee of Environment & Leisure should be invited, and John Sandy (who will make an opening statement).

We discussed whether to nominate particular individuals as experts on particular subjects but agreed we could not do this until we knew the date and who would be attending.

We agreed that the emphasis needed to be more on listening than telling the already overworked council members what more (we think) they should be doing.

The emphasis needs to be on having a conversation, forming a relationship with these people so that we can become a resource for them.

Janet recommended large posters with a relatively small amount of detailed information as best for making an impression at the event.

Food Plan for Farnham
Finn shared a first-draft business plan for the Food Plan and asked for input, with a view to asking for funding from outside.

ACTION: everyone to give input to Finn or Joyce on local producers, outlets, funding sources, and feedback on the numbers contained in the draft business plan.

Ian said he thought a local food directory would be useful because it would help him at work to be able to buy sandwiches (etc) from local producers.

Community Kitchen
Ian described how a community kitchen would work, based on his visit to the one in Vauxhall — volunteers cooking cheap simple food made from local produce and selling it cheaply — and asked whether anyone would be interested to help.

He thought it would be easy to get premises, but someone suggested a Food Van as an alternative. Several other suggestions for locations and for people to contact were made, including Soul Action and Potters Gate School.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
1. Tom said that Farnborough Council’s refusal of the planning application to expand flights at Farnborough airport was going to appeal. He would let us know if there was a way we could give input.
2. Finn will post Branson’s recent statement on Peak Oil to the ning website.
3. Robert said that Food Inc has recently been released and is wondering how we might get this shown in Farnham. [It is due to be shown at The Barn this Wednesday at 8.30pm]
4. Robert said that his Slow Food project is now likely be a Surrey-wide initiative, rather than just a Farnham based one.
5. Robert’s Soil and Soul group is moving slowly forward
6. Alice Holt restoration is moving slowly forward
7. The Bishops Meadow Trust has bought the meadow (via Sir Ray Tindle)
8. Robert is looking for a table loom, if anybody knows of one.
9. David is reading the Transition Handbook and is about a third of the way through.
10. Gayle said that Phase II of her design of the garden at Farnham Museum is now being implemented.
11. David said that he is going to make labels for all the different species of tree that have been planted around Potters Gate school.
12. Ian said that he is making good progress on the “interstitial space” site in the Chantries, having leafletted the households there a couple of weeks ago, and meeting the youth group shortly.
13. Joyce said that the FLFI will be erecting further polytunnels on 6th March, not next weekend as previously advertised.
14. Robert suggested that FLFI re-open negotiation with Surrey CC for use of land in West Street.
15. Janet said that small grants of up to £200 for specific items could be obtained quite easily from the Town Clerk.
16. Janet asked whether we have any links with Bells Piece. We discussed.
17. Janet suggested that talking about shortages of resources could be a better way of getting people’s attention than talking about climate change.
18. Tom said that for him Transition planning is like white water canoeing. There is no way you can paddle against the flow — you have to go the way the river is flowing. But you can choose your course to avoid hitting rocks, and perhaps find a quiet backwater or two to shelter in. That is the approach we should be taking for Farnham with Transition.

Next week’s meeting will be GREEN DRINKS at the Hop Blossom. All are welcome.

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