This Saturday, it’s our birthday; 6 years ago to the day, our little Transition Town market started, with just 11 stalls (see pic). Amazingly some are still trading with us; Brett and Bailey cakes, Comfort and Joy deli, Owl Kitchen gluten-free, Bread Bread bakery and farms, Brockmans and Brambletye.
The opening came after a year of planning for myself (Karen), Laura and Rachel (pictured with Rory); having public meetings, working out our principles, visiting farms, talking to the council and bringing other volunteers on board. It was the incredible volunteer energy in our community that got the market started and established; Gunpowder Studios built us a website; Claire Hunte took on the twitter account; Antenna studios offered us the land and cafe; Veryan Wilkie-Jones organised the childrens’ activities; Joe Duggan dressed himself and others up as carrots for promotion (for months); Mags Proud led the volunteer set-up and set-down teams (for years); Rachel de Thample, Clare Goff and Robin Buck set up and ran the Patchwork Farm stall and there were so many other Transition Town members that came and helped week in week out. It was and still is Transition in action.
And now, It feels more relevant than ever as more and more people are waking up to the climate change emergency and the unsustainable nature and cruelty embedded in our current food system. Transition is about moving towards a more sustainable future using local and national strategies. Thank you to Rob Hopkins who developed these ideas from permaculture principles and wrote them down, inspiring a movement that now operates all over the world in countless inspiring projects. Here’s a picture of him visiting our market (we were so proud).
We’ve now grown up (a bit) to become more than 30 stalls each week and we’re proud to have seen so many startups grow to become successful traders, so many teenager volunteers grow into successful adults and we’re relieved that our farmers have survived with their precious expertise intact (some of them only just). We’ve also moved with the times; we have more vegan food, more recycled and handmade products, and have incorporated the ‘eco-duo’ of The Store Cupboard and Roots and Cycles into our centre, bringing waste-free food and cleaning refills, making it easier for us all to become a little more sustainable. And we’ve even had a little baby, the fledgeling Wednesday mini market (2-7pm).
Of course, none of this would be possible without all the custom that you all bring week after week – so all we can say is thank you so much, and here’s to another fantastic 6 years.