The ‘Monthly Do’ on Sunday April 22nd at Wandsworth Borough Council’s Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park saw several of us from Transition Tooting join with gallery staff to offer a drop-in afternoon about on ‘Growing Successfully in the City’. Yes – that broad topic included different prompts for the ways ‘urban growing’ is expressed: growing food and flowers; developing green space and experiencing nature; building wellbeing and happiness; growing knowledge and skills; playing; and making new links across the community.

We were lucky to a few hours of sun within a weekend of blustery weather. After a quiet start, 145 people were counted into the Gallery by 4pm. The activities and displays attracted some of them – usually in couples it seemed – to join in:   
Ø  to explore the networks of waste and new social relationships created and recorded by Jane in her Plastic Bottle Tops project

Ø  to pick cards and share ideas, and think of personal actions to take in the DIY Happiness game guided (in the wind) by Belinda
Ø  to play an outdoor Food Footprint game about CO2 in the UK food chain with Charles, using painted boxes from Tooting market
Ø  to make urban-styled seed planters with Li

Just as Charles’ talk on urban growing and transition was about to kick off at 3:30, the sky went black and a strong gust capsized one of the gazebos. All the helpers and audience went out to sort it out in the driving rain – a great image of community spirit in action…
Difficult to plan, but I recommend it as a way to start a talk!  We began with a vivid sense of shared experience among a group who met as strangers: completely relevant to the topic.

Thanks loads to Laura, responsible for Participation & Education at the Gallery, for conceiving the idea and inviting us, and to all the Gallery staff & Justin for a lot of work on the day. The Pump House is a great venue, and we’d love to develop something else together in the future.        Charles