Author: theestuaryalternative

What is ‘Liberation Permaculture’

Is permaculture about re-creating Eden or about changing the world in every way, even politically? Graham Burnett and Nicole Vosper make the case for a politically engaged, ‘liberation permaculture’ – https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/what-liberation-permaculture

This is from two people we have a lot of respect for making the case for a permaculture that will bring about fundamental social change as opposed to one that’s simply a lifestyle choice made by people who want to opt out of the modern world but who have no real interest in changing it. It’s an old piece but one that’s probably even more relevant now than when it was written, given the narrative of change coming from an individual altering their lifestyle as opposed to more politically conscious collective endeavours that seek to not only challenge but overthrow the system. It’s about siding with the oppressed and showing solidarity for their struggles for liberation as opposed to a lifestyle change that simply makes you feel good but does sod all to overthrow a system that is moving well beyond it’s use by date.

It’s starting to happen

Following on from a post about the troubled ¾ estate in Vange on our sister blog, The South Essex STIRRER: The fightback starts herehttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/the-fightback-starts-now/ – as you can see from the flyer depicted above, things are starting to move in a positive direction. If you live on the ¾ estate or nearby in Vange and feel you want to make a positive contribution to your community, get in touch using the contact details shown on the flyer and get stuck in:) There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the estate and no one’s pretending it’s going to be an easy task – however, the more people who step up to the plate, the greater the chances are of achieving success…

Positive developments in Vange

Our sister blog, The South Essex STIRRER has had plenty to say on the problems afflicting the ¾ estate in Vange: Where the new town dream has died…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/where-the-new-town-dream-has-died/ and: Eight weeks!https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/eight-weeks/ Both of these posts have an analysis of how the problems developed with some indications as to how they can be tackled.

What The Estuary Alternative is partly about is promoting and celebrating community based groups who are doing their level best to make a difference at the grassroots. When it comes to the ¾ estate, there are some positive developments to report. Firstly, there’s the Vange Hill Community Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/180311358699122/ – who are lobbying Basildon Council and Circle Anglia Housing (who are responsible for much of the social housing on the estate) to pull their finger out and do the job they’re paid to do. They also encourage residents to take more responsibility for keeping the estate clean. Then there’s The Plot (Vange Hill Drive Community Allotment)https://www.facebook.com/theplotvange/ who as the title of the Facebook group suggests, run a community allotment next to the estate. We’re big fans of community allotments: Get digging!https://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/get-digging/ as they help with neighbourhood resilience through building solidarity and providing self sufficiency as well as being a source of healthy food and an opportunity for exercise. Last but by no means least there’s Basildon & Southend Housing Actionhttps://www.facebook.com/basacton/ – who see their role as facilitating and offering practical and logistical support to groups such as Vange Hill Community Group.

Turning around the fortunes of the ¾ estate is a massive undertaking and no one is under any illusions that it’s going to be a long slog. However, as you can see from the above, the elements are in place on the ground to start to make a real difference, creating the community spirit that’s needed to make a difference to people’s lives…watch this space for developments…

Coming soon…The Estuary Fringe

The Estuary Fringe was created with the aim of taking art back from the pretentious art elites who have somehow insinuated themselves into the borough and hand it back to the local community, to everyone, where it belongs.

Dreamt up by four fools from Southend and under the direction of the fringes creative director John Bulley, hold on “creative director”, that’s art bollocks, the fringe is about anarchic fun without the guilt.

The first festival in June 2013 was incredibly successful. Organised in just 7 weeks with no money and no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, we were blown away by just how well it all went, so we have decided to keep doing it.

Over two weeks in August this year’s festival will be bigger and better with even more artist, local, national and international from all genres, painters and musicians, graffiti artists, poets, performance artists, the festival really will have it all as this year we are pleased to announce that we will have theatrical productions and independent films as well.

The 2016 Estuary Fringe Festival will be from Saturday 30th July until Sun 14th August. Come see what’s on and enjoy.

No need to pay £10 + booking fee for tickets, its free… just turn up, join in and have fun…

The Estuary Fringe Production Team….

The Estuary Alternative is back from the printer

We would like to extend our thanks to Oxford GreenPrint for a superb print job and swift delivery of the paper. Distribution of this will start in Southend tomorrow, including venues such as The Railway in Clifftown Road. Given the kind of paper this is – celebrating and promoting grassroots community projects – we won’t be delivering it door-to-door as we want to make sure each and every copy gets into the hands of people who want to make a change in this area.

So, if you support the aims of this blog and paper and want to take a small bundle to hand out to friends, family and neighbours, feel free to get in touch and we’ll sort something out. Also, if you know of or frequent a venue that you think will be sympathetic to what we’re trying to achieve, let us know and we’ll get the papers in there.

As we’ve stated and written before, we really do want to make this a collaborative project, giving a voice to all of the grassroots community projects operating in the area. The headline on the paper is ‘Working better together’. The aim is to encourage the development of an informal network of groups who help each other out as and when necessary, share experiences and skills and end up becoming considerably greater than the sum of their parts. So, it’s over to you to build on what we already have and build something that can start to bring about real, meaningful change…

SiT Community Allotment Taster Days Sun 09/07/2017 10-14 presented by Southend in Transition

Here’s your chance to find out what Southend In Transition Community Allotment do – if you’re interested in growing your own food as an individual or as a neighbourhood project, there’s a lot you can learn from SiTCA…

Southend in Transition Community Allotment

Southend in Transition Community Allotment
(entrance to allotments off Hamstel Road – Garon’s end – opposite fish and chips Plaice to Be)

Where you can learn how to grow food, look after your garden, take fresh produce home, meet new people over a shared meal and exchange ideas on how to help the community thrive.

Taster Days – Volunteers and public welcome

Sun 09/07 10-14

Gardening, watering and lots of vit D:), the Big Bee Count – spot them and record them.

Sun 23/07 10-14

Gardening and a bit more of citizen science – the Big Bug Hunt – spot them and record them


Other events locally:

Transition Drinks – 27/07 Thur 19:00 Olde Trout Tavern

Village Green Festival 08/07 Sat 11-9PM

SEEOG Talk – 17/07 Mon 8PM Growing Together Westcliff – The future of organic seed

Learning opportunities

Compost making

Wise watering

Soil fertility

Weeding

DIY:

water catchment and…

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Working better together

There’s an amazing range of grassroots projects operating in this area. They range from community gardens and skill share initiatives through to resident run and managed local parks and open spaces. All of them in their own way contribute to the project of building a more just, sane and sustainable world that could eventually replace the decaying, dystopian one we currently have to endure.

One of the ideas that motivated building and holding the Southend Radical Fair that took place on May 6th this year was to facilitate networking between the grassroots projects in the area. Obviously, there’s a level of networking that already does take place and a number of groups do co-operate with each other – if that didn’t happen, the Southend Radical Fair would never have got off the ground!

The thing is, if we’re being honest, we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to networking and working together. Now don’t get us wrong, we are most definitely NOT calling for any kind of formal alliance! We’ve been there before in trying to meld a disparate range of radical groups and individuals in London into a semi-formal alliance and it didn’t work. We’re looking at a looser, more ad hoc arrangement where groups and people work together on specific projects or actions.

As well as this, we would love to see more in the way of skill sharing and mentoring between the different groups and people working on grassroots projects. There’s a tremendous wealth of knowledge out there ranging from how to organise and facilitate meetings, set up blogs and websites, produce papers and flyers through to building events such as the Southend Vegan Fair, managing a community allotment and in the case of Passionate About Hardie Park, managing a local park! If all of this could be shared, we would all be stronger and better placed to bring about meaningful change.

This is why we have set up The Estuary ALTERNATIVE blog and paper. As well as promoting and celebrating what grassroots community projects are doing, we want to use what we do as a place where we can share skills and experiences and grow stronger together. So, it’s over to you to make this happen!

We’re going to be bringing The Estuary Alternative out as a paper…

To help boost this initiative of promoting grassroots alternatives and projects along the estuary that are helping to build a new world in the shell of the increasingly dystopian one we currently endure, we going to be bringing out The Estuary Alternative as a paper. Following on from the Southend Radical Fair that was held on May 6th at The Railway in Clifftown Road, we want to develop a central clearing house where people can go to in order to find out what’s going on, network with each other and promote their own projects. We realise that patience and a fair bit of graft in the form of networking is required to really get this project off the ground and that it’s going to take time…

So, if you run a grassroots community project that’s promoting a positive alternative, feel free to write a few paragraphs about what you’re doing and it can go into the paper and onto the blog as well. We’re aiming to bring The Estuary Alternative paper out two times a year. Ideally, all we want to do is edit other people’s contributions, lay the paper out and sort out the printing. Unless it’s about the projects we’re personally involved in, we really don’t want to be writing the content – we want this to be your paper…

When it comes to distribution of the paper, needless to say, we’re not going to be doing this door-to-door. We’re looking for other sympathetic venues such as The Railway and Utopia to take small bundles of the paper for their patrons. If run or know of such a venue, let us know and it will be added to the distribution list. Also, if you want to take papers to distribute to your friends, neighbours and family, let us know and we’ll sort something out.

As for funding the cost of printing the paper, we’re happy to fork out for the first issue but after that, we really would like contributions from groups running grassroots projects in the area. We really want this blog and the paper to be a collaborative effort and eventually, we want to reach a point where we can hand this project over so it’s run by the people involved in grassroots community projects along the estuary. So, it’s over to you…

Food Cultures: A Food Plan

Date: Saturday 10th June
Time: 2 -5pm
Venue: Focal Point Gallery, Elmer Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1NB

To what extent is the production and consumption of food central to how we experience the place we live in?

How is the food we eat related to wider economic, social and cultural policies?

Find out about local food initiatives and ethical alternatives to multi-national food companies.

Contribute to a discussion about how the future of our food cultures might be changed for the better.

Come and join Club Critical Theory and our special guests for an event all about our food cultures.

There will be talks, discussion, free local food and drink, and a chance to feed into a Food Plan for Southend.

Programme

Event starts at 2pm: Focal Point Gallery

Introduction by Joe Hill: Director of Focal Point Gallery

2.05pm: Andrew Branch (CCT, UEL) and Tony D Sampson (CCT, UEL) introduce CCT and discuss “food” culture as ordinary.

2.20pm: Guest Speaker: Alex Rhys-Taylor (Goldsmiths)

2.25pm: Q&A

2.30pm: Giles Tofield (CCT and Cultural Engine) and Clare Mitchell (Cultural Engine) introduce Southend’s Food Plan

2.40pm: Snack bite talks including – Southend in Transition, Project 49, Urban Farmers, Railway Garden Permaculture project, Mendip Wildlife Garden, Ron Bates (St Lawrence Orchard) and Dean Ward on foodbanks

3.30pm: Food Plan Workshops

Food from Kitchen 49 and Southend in Transition will be available during the workshops washed down by the Cultural Engine’s Southend-on-Seacider

CCT will be back in Sept 2017 with a Seaside Cultures Special