Saturday 9 April 2011

Spring Scheming

One of my new resolutions for 2011 was to get more involved in some of the other Transition activities happening in Norwich.  Having greatly enjoyed a morning back in January planting hedges at the Norwich Farmshare site, I was really looking forward to last month's Spring Scheming at Inner Space.

After a recap of all the great things Transition Norwich has done so far, we started to think ahead and imagine a different kind of Norwich, a more resilient city, a greener, low-carbon city, a city rooted in community.  And we started to think about some of the things we could do to get us to that place.

I was really struck by the wealth of good ideas in the room, and also by the experience and enthusiasm of the people present.  Everyone had ideas, everyone wanted to work together to make them a reality and make a difference.  We talked about local shops, community energy, waste and transport cooperatives.  We talked about schools, cafe-conversations, sharing skills and tools.  We talked about food and about farms.

All good, strong, practical ideas.  We could have spent many engaging hours working through them, but we agreed to take a few ideas and work through them now here and now.

We split into groups, and the group on my table talked about community woodland and bees.  I'll come back to the community woodland idea in a future blog-post, but for now I'll talk about bees.

I've been fascinated by the progress of the Sustainable Bungay's Community Bees scheme, and really wanted to get something going in Norwich along those same lines.  Having spoken to Elena, I knew that the Norwich Farmshare were keen on including bees in the scheme, so it seemed like the perfect match.  We talked about beekeeping in our group, and everyone seemed very keen.  I agreed to take the lead on getting something up and running...

Confession time:  At that point, I knew virtually nothing about bees, other than what I'd say is common knowledge.  I couldn't even say with any certainty how bees actually made honey - I knew they made it out of nectar and kept it in wax combs, but that's not about how honey is made.  So, crash course time.  Norwich library has a number of books on beekeeping, including the excellent "Practical Manual of Beekeeping" shown above.  Fantastic, amazing book - I'm even more excited now that I'm reading through it.  I'm learning lots and have been in touch with the Bungay Bees team to see what we can learn from their exerience.  In our Spring Scheming discussion, we were clear that we wanted a community beekeeping scheme.

And to make it really work, it needs to be a community effort.  If you'd like to be part of setting up a Norwich Community Bees scheme, please do get in touch - leave a comment to this post, contact me via the Transition Norwich google groups, our Facebook page, via this blog's Who We Are page, or via Kerry on the Transition Norwich News piece.

Spring Scheming really was a catalyst for change, and I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of the discussions over coming months and years.  Let's get buzzing!


  1. thank you for the lovely reporting on the spring scheming Jon. I look forward to hearing about the progress of the community bees.

  2. Jon

    Only just seen this and I would love to be part of this - a great complement to the Farmshare scheme.