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Sustainable Wantage
April 2017 Newsletter

Charlton Spring Festival

Thurs 13th April - 11am-2pm
It's time for the Spring Festival again and a chance to visit the lovely garden that Sustainable Wantage help to manage at the Charlton Centre.

We'll have family friendly activities including kids crafts, an Easter egg trail, bouncy castle and face-painting.  There will also be live music, a plant sale, cream teas and plenty of cakes and treats. You are welcome to bring along a picnic.

£1 adults, children free. Enquiries email Olwen or call 07527 201559.

Wantage Market Garden Project, The Charlton Centre, Charlton Village Road, Wantage, OX12 7HG.

Site not suitable for dogs.

Poster about film 'Tomorrow' Film Screening

Monday 24th April - 7.30pm 

‘Tomorrow’ is an award-winning documentary with an up-beat and inspirational message about communities who have found positive ways to make their world a better place. It will be shown at Wildwood Restaurant, Wantage, on 24th April. The film won France’s prestigious César Award for ‘Best Documentary’ in 2016. Here is a trailer.

As seating is limited,
pre-booking is essential. Tickets cost £5 or £3 concession. email Jo or call 07768 767787.

The Mix Calendar for April: The Mix Logo
Mon 3rd Sustainable Wantage Board meeting, all members welcome
Tues 4th Monthly Craft Night
Sat 8th DIY Pallet workshop
Wed 19th French Conversation and Coffee (am)
and Reversible Bags (pm)
Sat 22nd Safe Internet Practice (midday) and Supporting Volunteers: Essential First Aid (pm)
Wed 26th Green Drinks

We're taking bookings now for May: FREE life coaching course (starts Wed 3rd May) Go for it! Set your goals and build on your strengths in life and work; Bike Maintenance one day workshop (Sat 6th May); Crochet for Beginners (evening course starting Tues 9th).

Contact Jo
about any workshops at The Mix. 

Workshops at The Market Garden:

Sun 23rd April Seed to Harvest 1-4pm This 4 session course will cover everything beginners need to know to see their crop through from seed to harvest: sowing, planting out, crop rotation, watering, pests and harvesting - including low maintenance solutions such as companion planting, succession planting, water storage, seed saving and more! 
Sat 6th May
Intro to Permaculture  Discuss and learn the basics and how you can use permaculture principles to redesign your lifestyle and landscape. Market Garden

Do check out the
Market Garden Facebook page. The garden is currently a mass of daffodils, the spring border is looking stunning and tulips are starting to flower. If you have time, come on down and have a walk around. Fridays (11-3) or Sundays (2-4) are the best times (contact Olwen).
For more info or to book on any of the courses or workshops email Jo, call 07768 767787, visit the Mix website, or the Mix Facebook page.

Satisfying Seasons - April

What's in Season This Month New potatoes

Asparagus, broccoli, new potatoes, lettuce and salad leaves, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, rocket, samphire, spinach, spring onions, watercress, wild nettles, basil, chives, dill, sorrel, rhubarb. From the website Eat the Seasons.


"The keys to an excellent nettle soup are potato - to give it body - and really good stock - to give it spirit." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Nettle Soup

In the Garden

There are lots of things to sow and plant in April. For a full guide to gardening for this month, click here.


Badbury Clump bluebellsPeacock, orange tip and speckled wood butterflies appear in April, as trees and shrubs burst into leaf. Listen out for birdsong, which will grow in intensity this month, and watch as the summer birds return. Bluebells usually flower late April to early May - a beautiful time to visit Badbury Clump. In Top Lock Meadow as you enter the meadow, if you look very closely down the left hand side near the road you will find some violets, which the Beavers planted last year. There are also wild daffs by the gate, primroses and one or two ladysmock.

From When to Watch Wildlife.

A SWELL Research Trial in Oxfordshire Energy Local logo

Sarah James has written about this local research project for us:

Over the last couple of years the SWELL trial has been testing a new way of community electricity buying here in Oxfordshire. SWELL stands for Shrivenham and Watchfield Energy Local with Longcot, and a test group in these three villages have been the guinea pigs for a virtual 'Energy Local' club.

Shrivenham Memorial HallThe trial involved 48 buildings - 45 households, one pub, Shrivenham Memorial Hall and Watchfield Sports Pavilion. They have shown that they could make the most of renewable electricity generated locally, saving money and keeping the gains within their community. Collectively the trial participants gained over £5000 in one year! All of the group are electricity users, and some of the group are also generators with rooftop solar photovoltaic panels.

Members of an Energy Local club can use locally generated electricity from within the group before turning to the grid to meet their electricity needs. Because the price the grid pays for generation is much lower than the price consumers pay per unit, local generators can get a better price for their electricity, while users still get cheap electricity. The club was also on a time of day tariff which rewarded them for shifting some of their energy use to low demand times. This saved them more money and tends to reduce the carbon footprint of the grid electricity used.

The Oxfordshire trial has now finished, and the next stage is underway in Bethesda, Snowdonia. SWELL's trial was 'virtual' – the savings relative to a standard tariff were calculated and delivered in vouchers. Bethesda's trial will involve a real variable tariff supplied by Co-op Energy.
WESET logo
The SWELL participant coordinator was local charity,
Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust. Click the link for more information about SWELL and visits to Westmill wind farm and solar park.


Fashion Revolution logoFashion Revolution

Emma Summerscales, a local fashion designer specialising in ethical fashion, tells us about the Fashion Revolution movement:

On 24th April 2013, five garment factories collapsed at Rana Plaza. Over a thousand people were killed and many more injured. Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro decided enough was enough and founded Fashion Revolution to
campaign for a fairer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry.

Their first campaign '#whomademyclothes?' prompted 70,000 people to take a selfie showing their clothes label and tagging the brand; and 372 brands responded. This developed into the '#imadeyourclothes' response from over two thousand producers giving a glimpse into their lives as garment workers. Last year over 800 events were held in FR week, spanning 92 countries.
Catwalk image
FR work with UK Government and EU policy makers and the movement has made incredible progress in just 4 years. But 75 million people work in fashion and textiles worldwide and many still suffer exploitation and unsafe working conditions. The industry uses an enormous amount of natural resources and pollutes our environment.

Explore where your money goes when you buy clothes and check out brands using the Fashion Transparency Index at
Fashion Revolution. Or have a look at my Ethical Guide to Fast Fashion.


In Brief

The new State of Nature in Oxfordshire report by Wild Oxfordshire has collated information from over 60 individuals and organisations, distilling key messages about recent changes to nature in the county.

Those who liked the
Repair Café at The Mix last month might like to read about a new model being tried in Edinburgh. The city now has a 'Remakery'; a permanent space for repairs. 

An important tool in our fight against climate change could be under our feet. Did you know that the soil holds four times more carbon than all the plants and trees in the world? Currently 40% of agricultural soil is classed as 'degraded' or 'seriously degraded', and degraded soils have a reduced ability to hold carbon. Scientists and farmers around the world are pointing out that we can use regenerative farming methods to improve these soils – using organic fertiliser, no-tillage, composting, and crop rotation. As the soils recover, their ability to hold carbon increases, and they pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Here are six maps showing what Americans think about climate change. Most think that climate change will harm Americans, but they don’t think it will happen to them.

WhaleSave the whales! This month, whale hunting season begins in Norway. Hundreds of whales will be killed for animal feed and ingredients in beauty products. This petition urges Norway to end this practice.

Out and About in April

For more details, click on the links.

Mon 10th - Linking the Landscape: Gardening for Wildlife (talk in Thatcham).

Mon 10th - Giving Nature a Home, talk by Peter Holden MBE in Didcot, OX11 7JN. Peter was instrumental in developing and promoting the Big Garden Birdwatch and has written 9 books, including the RSPB handbooks of British Birds and Garden Wildlife.

Sunday 16th -  Uffington Farmers' Market 10am-12:30.

Sun 23rd - Iffley Meadow's Fritillaries

Sat 29th -
Wantage Farmers' Market, Market Square, Wantage. 8:30am - 1pm.

Sat 29th -
Bluebell walks, in Reading and Henley-on-Thames.

Sun 30th
Orchid Extravaganza Walk at Sydlings Copse, OX3.

Green Drinks SW Social Green Drinks
Wed 26th April
7.30pm - 9pm In The Mix on Mill St
Bring your own tipple  |  All Welcome.

Sustainable Wantage

Images: Market Garden by Olwen Barlow, Catwalk by Emma Summerscales. The following images are from flickr: New Potatoes by beautifulcataya, Nettles by Evelyn Berg, Badbury Clump Bluebells by Andy Knight, Whale by Cyrille Humbert.
Copyright © 2017 Sustainable Wantage, All rights reserved.

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