I have to admit that Haslemere and Green are not two words that I would normally link very closely. That is a bit unfair, but on the surface Haslemere does seem to be dominated by affluent commuters and 4×4′s doing the private school run. But under the surface all may not be as it first seems and Saturday saw Haslemere’s first Green Fair at the Haslemere Museum, run by the organisation ‘Transition Town Haslemere’.
Having been invited to demonstrate pole-lathe turning I went along partly to find out about the Green Fair and the Transition Town organisation rather than as a commercial opportunity.
Transition Haslemere has a website on wordpress which you can find at this link here. The organisation has been going a year and the Green Fair also celebrates it’s anniversary and its launch as an official Transition Town. What is a Transition Town? As best I can tell it is one where a group has created a series of initiatives to address sustainable issues – and if that sounds like gobbledygook then perhaps you’d best read about it here at transition towns – but be aware there is gratuitous use of the words ‘Sustainable, Peak oil and Climate change’. I was surprised how few transition towns there are yet, and so Transition Haslemere has done well to get going so swiftly – well done to those involved.
The weather forecast was for heavy rain and as the gear all had to be carried over the garden I took as little as possible for a change. Despite the frequent showers the weather was ok and a surprising number of visitors kept me busy – which was a bit of a shame as I had hoped to have lots of time to look around the stalls.
Out in the garden was mainly food oriented. The frequent showers at least gave me the opportunity to chat with some of the stall holders. I loved the display of Radish on the Secretts stall. I had wrongly thought of Secrett’s as a garden centre between Haslemere and Guildford, and forgotten the large farm and nursery behind it. You can see more of the Secretts Farm at this link here, and it’s rich history here.
I also had a chance to chat with Lower Roundhurst Farm, which runs a herd of traditional Sussex cattle and of Southdowns Sheep and sells from its shop (and tea shop/restaurant) direct from the farm. I also heard that Roundhurst is also hosting a part of the Landshare project being developed by Transition Haslemere.
If you’ve not heard of Landshare – it’s a new concept that is matching owners of unused and undersused land wanting help with local people seeking land to grow crops on a sort of communual small-holding basis ranging from small allotments and garden sites upto small holding sizes. Landshare was launched by Hugh Fearnley-thingummybob and the site is hosted by Channel 4 here – it’s remarkable how quickly it’s taking off.
Another reason for attending is that I’ve been feeling a little guilty that I don’t get to do much in my own backyard and although I live in West Sussex just over the border, the centre of Haslemere is only a couple of miles away and is the local town. I got to meet a lot of local people and even talked with a local Landscape firm that wants to use Besom brooms in their lawn work but couldn’t find a supplier – makes a nice change from them being Harry Potter brooms.
Here the Hoy’s old and young, a local family for generations which used to run the dairy (when there was one), are introduced to Polelathe Turning and plan to build one soon!
The band was surprisingly good – although a suitable distance always helps and they abandoned their open spot for the cover of the museum verandah. Given this is a sustainable event perhaps it should be a ‘Wind band’ rather than a brass band. Sorry! It turns out that Pete the conductor is a closet greenwood worker and member of the APT. Small world. I prefer the lumberjack uniform to that of the band though.
This has turned into something of an epic post -
…..But before I take pity on you and finish I just wanted to mention Imbham’s farm, where they now mill their own cereals for a range of bread flours, muesli’s and mixes and came along equipped with hand grinders for all the try their hand at milling. I’ve not found a website for imbhams farm yet but there is some information on the farm here and they do have a stall at the local farmers markets so look out for them.
All in all I found it a very stimulating day with lots of interesting ideas and meeting people doing very interesting things, I hope it was a big success for Transition Haslemere.
Whatever you think of Peak Oil and Climate Change many of the ideas around sustainability seem to be common sense in caring for your local environment and economy – and can even save money. Sadly I can’t make the next one in the Autumn as it conflicts with other shows – but I hope to back next Spring and to have more contact with Transition Haslemere in the meantime – dare I say the word ‘cyclepath’ ?
Peace and quiet returned to the museum garden, with its views over the rolling countryside and it’s Ha-ha. Hard to believe it’s just a few yards from Haslemere high street.
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