Archive for the ‘Transition Free Press’ Category

Teas in Transition go walkabout!

I wrote this piece for the latest edition (Spring/Summer 2014) of Transition Free Press, the quarterly grassroots UK newspaper which reports “on a culture that’s shifting the way it looks at and engages in the world… with news and feature stories that other papers don’t quite reach.” I manage the distribution for the paper. The piece both records the first Sustainable Bungay* wellbeing walk of this year, which I introduced with a pot of tea, and looks at how paying attention to where we are can show us how we belong in a place.

Teas in Transition go walkabout

“Can you guess what’s in this tea?” I am standing in the community library garden in early April, introducing the first Sustainable Bungay wellbeing walk of the year. The liquid I’m pouring from the large white teapot is a light golden green in colour; “pale sunshine” someone calls it. Though no one recognises its fresh, mild taste.

The tea is from the leaves of a nearby birch tree. I’m talking about its spring tonic qualities – the theme of this walk. Birch leaf tea helps cleanse the system and reduce uric acid. Several people here have told me recently that they suffer from rheumatism, arthritis, even gout. Time to get acquainted with birch!

The monthly walks themselves are about paying attention to where are and discovering what makes us belong in a place. They began last year after a Green Drinks discussion about wellbeing and community, where we decided to walk together and map the places and green spaces around town that we valued and made us feel at home.

The route is decided collectively on the day by everyone who turns up. As we walk people show each other the meadows and alleyways that have resonance for them, as well as swapping local knowledge and stories. One month we may hear about about the history of local trade and shops, and another discover how the relationship between human society and the River Waveney has changed over time (and take a swim!). It’s also about engaging with the people (and plants and places) you meet along the way.

When I organise a walk there is a strong focus on plants and trees and learning to see them as multi-faceted fellow inhabitants of the Earth with their own reasons for being here, as well as their medicinal qualities. And there is always a pot of tea!

Birch leaf tea: 5 fresh or dried birch leaves per person (picked spring/early summer), infused 5-10 minutes in just-boiled water. No harmful side effects. Drink freely.

I teach people how to connect with the living world through plants (and my ever-present teapot!). I also manage distribution for Transition Free Press and chair Transition initiative Sustainable Bungay* in northeast Suffolk.

Photo caption: Me with a teapotful of wild and community garden flowers at Transition Town Tooting’s foodival, September 2013

Credit: David Thorne, Transition Town Tooting


Admin’s Fine But Don’t Miss the Morning Glories!

I’ve been doing the distribution invoices for the next issue of the quarterly Transition Free Press over the last few weeks and giving a hand with the mailout for Dark Mountain Book 4. So I’ve been seeing a lot of addresses!

Both these publications are well worth signing up for. You can order bundles of Transition Free Press or become an individual subscriber. And you can order copies of any or all of the Dark Mountain books, or become a subscriber.

So, returning to the flowers. I’d been so caught up with all the admin, I almost missed these two beauties this morning:

Morning Glories Grandpa Otts

All text and images by Mark Watson under Creative Commons with Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives

Mark in Flowers goes distributing papers (as well as seeds)

Happy new year everyone!

TreeTobaccoMy first piece for 2013 on Mark in Flowers is a crosspost of one I wrote for the Transition Free Press website, a callout for transition initiatives and related groups everywhere to sign up for a bundle of this exciting new newspaper on all things cultural downshift. Or to support our crowdfunding campaign. It’s going to be a busy time.

I’m keeping some space for the flowers as well though. This year I’m planning a small Mexican garden here at home, and I’m already excited about Mexican basil, which apparently has a cinnamon taste. And I’ll be growing some more epazote. Oh, and wild tobacco, and old favourites cempoalxochitl and tithonia, and…


Calling All Transition Initiatives, groups and individuals!

Free_Press_by_CheshireBatThe first ‘proper’ edition of the Transition Free Press is fast approaching publication and we need YOU to support us. That’s all those Transition Initiatives, related groups and individuals out there!

The editorial team, contributors, business and distribution departments have been working full-on over the past few months (did we just go through Solstice 2012 and Christmas?), commissioning, writing, collating, interviewing, proofing, editing, picture researching and making connections with the Transition network (small ‘n’) preparing this unique paper for its release on February 1st.

We have now covered the cost of printing and postage. Next up we need to pay contributors and the core team producing the paper.

Why do we need another printed paper in the world? Because the issue you will hold in your hands and read from cover to cover on the train, the bus, the sofa or the toilet, contains reports and stories you just won’t find anywhere else in print media. Stories, from the dedicated transition groups and individuals working towards the energy-leaner future that  for some is already making its presence felt.

This is the paper where you see you’re not alone in making those vital steps towards a more collaborative, less destructive way of life. Read the latest on the gift economy, food and austerity, how communities are standing their ground against fracking and facing land rights issues. Discover what climate change scientists are really saying about carbon levels in the atmosphere and find out how to get local with food growing  and production. We’ll even be introducing an agony column for those times when we all feel lost in transition.

The Transition Free Press is written by transitioners from the UK to Japan to Europe and the Americas. It can be read by everyone everywhere. Because although we might live in different worlds, we share one planet. And that planet is changing, fast.
Mark Watson, TFP Distribution

If you are a transition initiative or community group who would like to distribute a bundle of Transition Free Press papers, see details here.

Or support us on the Buzzbnk crowdfunding platform, here

Read the Preview Issue here.

Transition Free Press – the change is in your heart, head and hands

Images: Tree Tobacco flowering in the house, 1st January 2013 (MW); Cartoon by ~CheshireBat. Everything here is Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.