Category Archives: Other News

Creating TiK’s Best Year Yet

At our monthly Open Meeting in January it was suggested we set our goals for the coming 12 months by answering questions from Jinny Ditzler’s book “Your Best Year Yet”.

Since we need time to update each other on TiK’s activities in the past month, we ended up creating our Best Year Yet over three meetings in January, February and March.

In January, we answered the first two questions: 1) What did we accomplish last year? and 2) What were our biggest disappointments?

Click on the links to see the full answers. Bottom lines: 1) We’re still here! and 2) There aren’t enough of us.

In February we looked at: 3) What did we learn? The answer might be summarised as “it’s all about people”. We also reviewed 4) What are our values? set out in Section 3 of  TiK’s Constitution.

In March there were six key questions left to complete: 5) Which areas do we want to work on? 6) Which should be our major focus? 7) What are our goals in each area? and 8) What are our Top Ten Goals?

To answer these questions we stuck flipcharts around the walls, one for each of the areas we want to work on. Of course the Food Group, GUCE, Market and the People Petal (i.e. Inner Transition) are continuing. To these we added Education and Enrolling. Since we don’t yet know enough to include KLCBS, we left this area out. So, six areas altogether.

Next, we added PostIt notes for the goals to achieve in each area. The Food Group, Market and GUCE had already set their goals, so we added their PostIts. Then we discussed the goals in other areas and added PostIts for those too.

Finally, everyone was given six “votes” in the form of stick-on stars to place on the goals they felt were the most important.

Afterwards, it was clear that our major focus should be on Enrolling, with the goal of “Recruit and retain”.


Tabulating and sorting the results revealed our Top Ten Goals:

Enrolling         – Recruit & retain
Food Group    – More volunteers
Market            – Broaden produce
People petal   – Encourage caring environment
Education       – Involve schools
GUCE               – Re-launch Transition Streets
People petal   – Welcome person
People petal   – Place people with the right skills in the right place
People petal   – Young people group
Enrolling         – Design campaign

We don’t have “Petals” for Enrolling and Education, so the next steps in those areas will be up to the Tiking Team. Each of the other “Petals” will need to decide on their own next steps.

A Year on the Farm

Pauline Mostyn – One of the Diggers

The gardening year begins early – in fact you could say that it is a twelve-month activity!  There are always jobs to do – even through the winter: tools to clean, pots and seed trays to wash, planning to do and seed catalogues to browse.

My activity this year with the TiK Food Group down at Rectory Farm began almost as soon as I stepped off the plane from visiting my father-in-law in Australia over the Christmas period.  I arrived back at the end of January and already the volunteers were busy with meetings and activities they had been doing over the December/January period.

Our first task was to create a rotation plan, and plan the eighteen beds we have with the different crops we decided to grow.  We have adopted a four-year plan and use a ‘Sowing and Planting Guide’ which follows the ancient wisdom of the influence of the planets and moon.  We decided this so that we had a framework for our activities.  The guide tells the best days for sowing/transplanting leaf crops like spinach & lettuce and fruit crops like pumpkins and beans etc, and this has given us a structure to follow.

So in February we prepared seed trays and sowed seeds.  We set up the greenhouse with an extra shelf and before long the greenhouse was full of sprouting seed trays – or not, depending on how successful germination was.  Spring this year was very slow in coming and consequently many things did not get transplanted until a month or two after the packet said they should.

Other activities were in hand: new signs were being made for the beds so we could easily identify which beds were for which crops.  Gareth, our watering system engineer, was figuring out how to make life easier for us to get water to the beds without having to carry watering cans.

One of our first disappointments was the disaster of the kale crop.  We had a magnificent transplanting day when ninety-six small plants were put into the appropriate bed – a very satisfying morning’s work.  We all went home very happy and chuffed.  What a shock to come back a few days later to find the plants stripped!  Those pesky pigeons … or was it the slugs?

You have probably heard what a prolific year it has been for slugs.  Well, it has been.  We have a policy of not using pesticides, fertiliser and other nasty stuff, so obviously slug pellets are out of the question.  And we are not there at night, which is when the pesky little blighters put in an appearance so it all happens under cover of darkness.  Lindsey has become quite an expert at gathering them and redistributing them to other areas of the farmland and we have resorted to trying to drown them.  There are many books written about controlling slugs but any new methods of eradication or reduction are very welcome.

In our efforts to continue our education in all things ‘growing’ we visited another farmer this year – someone who contributes to a box scheme in Cambridge.  We learned a lot and were impressed by his efforts and his range of equipment.  We plan to make a visit to different types of growers a regular feature of our year.  We also participated in the annual Kings Langley Carnival in June and were grateful to again receive a financial contribution from Carnival funds for purchase of new tools.  One of the items we saw in Cambridgeshire is now on order and we hope it will make our lives easier next year when it comes to transplanting seedlings into the beds.

One of our enthusiastic volunteers, again Gareth of watering fame, decided to attend a compost-making course and is now educating us all on the benefits of making compost in a variety of ways; and enabling us, we hope, to be totally self-sufficient in the future in being able to heal and nourish our soil.

Our main working days for volunteers are Thursday and Sunday mornings although there are some hardy volunteers who come in on other days as well.  There is the grass to cut, bed edges to keep tidy and the compost heap to turn and layer.  Thank you, Colin and Jenny.

We are a group of about twenty volunteers at Rectory Farm.  About eight to ten are regular workers each week and you might be wondering why we do it.  Well, we all share a concern for the planet, the future of our food supplies and sustainability.  We would like to see more locally grown food with fewer ‘food miles’.  Our motto is ‘Food with Thought’.  We have a vision to provide food for the village, and the monthly local food market is our outlet.  It is challenging and sometimes hard work.  It is also rewarding and satisfying, though at times frustrating and disappointing.  Working in a group brings its own dynamic but the benefits are friendship and working in community.  The monthly market brings together other food producers in the local region, and we hope that you have enjoyed the buzz that this brings to Kings Langley High Street once a month.

If you would like to come along and see what we are up to, please do visit.  There is always a group of us on Thursday or Sunday mornings from 10 to 12 noon.  We are on Gade Valley Close, off Rectory Lane.  If you would like to join us, you will be most welcome.


Press Release

Kings Langley Christian Aid and Transition Group meet MP Mike Penning to urge the Government to act on climate change

‘Wake up to Climate Change’

Four members of Kings Langley Christian Aid and Transition in Kings met with MP Mike Penning on 31st October to urge him and the Government to take urgent action on climate change. This follows the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by 87 parties, to take the necessary measures to restrict the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees centigrade.
The local group said they were encouraged by the Government committing to ratify the agreement but said that it was now imperative that specific measures were taken to meet this vital objective. Climate change is already affecting millions across the world by rising sea levels, floods and droughts as well as unpredictable weather patterns which impacts on harvests.
When asked what his view was on this and other environmental concerns Mike Penning said it was time to ‘Wake up’ to this issue and respond in a way that shows we understand that we are tenants of this planet. He agreed to write to the Secretary of State and ask when the agreement would be fully ratified and what measures would be taken to reduce our carbon emissions.
In the discussion the group also urged the Government to help communities and individuals play their part in by providing financial support for renewable energy and incentivising the use of solar panels.
Paul Tucker, one of the Group said: ‘We were really pleased with the reception we got from our local MP and that he understands the importance of taking action on climate change. We are now eager to hear how this will be taken forward and the ongoing support he can provide.’
Paul Tucker
Chair, Christian Aid Kings Langley