TLP 41 – Seed Swap 3rd March

Years ago, everyone kept their own seeds from one season to the next. This knowledge is disappearing and along with that knowledge many heritage seed varieties are being lost due to the majority of seeds currently for sale being produced by huge multinational companies who concentrate on a very small number of varieties without a thought for where you might be growing the plants or encouraging biodiversity.

This is where the Seed Swap comes in. Perhaps you have a favourite bean variety that you have been growing in the area for years or you need a few tomato seeds. The seed swap aims to create a way of circulating these seeds between local gardeners, and to preserve traditional varieties.

Saving and swapping seeds is also a great way to save money. Especially for people who can’t resit the tempting seed catalogues and  buy a several packets containing hundreds of seeds each when you might only need a few. Instead, just buy a couple of packs, split them and bring your spares along to swap!

If you need some seeds or have spares, please drop them off in the Seed Swap box at the Resource Centre on Great Oak Street. There are some instructions here for how to make a seed packet.

We hope that this community resource will grow over the next few years. Help Llanidloes protect biodiversity and protest against the increasing control of the seed supply by a handful of large companies.

This year sees the introduction of “Llanidloes Seed Bank”, a permanent collection of seeds held at Llanidloes resource centre.  Find out more on the day.

Below is a list of the seeds that are currently available in the Seed  Bank. If you have any seeds you would like to add to the box – please come and see me at the resource centre on a Tuesday morning or drop me an email. I’ll try to keep this list updated as much as possible!

  • Radish – Sicily Giant
  • Radish – Jaune d’Or Ovale
  • Mange Tout – Oregon Sugar Pod
  • Mullein – Aaron’s Rod
  • Coriander
  • Lemon Balm
  • Atocha
  • +LOTS MORE!

What is a seed swap? Take a read of this Ecologist article

TLP 31 – Bring and Barter 2011

March 2011 saw the first ever Bring and Barter event. Held at Dol Llys we invited a crowd of Llani-ites along to trade their wares.

And I have to say it went really well. People had brought baskets full of fantastic homemade jams, chutneys, wine, beer, bread handmade crafty things, hats, scarfs, bunting, hand-turned dibbers, baby sitting vouchers (!) and lots more . It really was amazing. There are some very talented people in our lovely town.

It’s really such a great idea. You come along with 12 jars of the same jam (or whatever) and leave with a jar of marmalade, a loaf of bread, a hat, half a dozen eggs, a jar of chutney, a bottle of wine, some honey… Everyone feels like a winner.

I can’t wait to do it again.

But before we all got stuck in to the swapathon we watched a presentation from Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh) of Automatic Earth, A Century of Challenges.

From the Sustainability  Conference,

In Foss’s presentation “A Century of Challenges”,  she discusses the many converging factors that are contributing to the predicament we face today, and how individuals can build a “lifeboat” to cope with the difficult years ahead.  She explains how our current financial system is an unsustainable credit bubble grounded in “Ponzi dynamics,” or the logic of the pyramid scheme.

Foss argues that this crisis has developed in the context of the fossil fuel age, an age which will prove to be a relatively brief period of human history. She says that we have already seen oil reach a global production peak, and other fossil fuels are not far behind; and while there is still plenty of fossil fuel in the ground, production will fall, meaning that there will be less and less energy available to power the economy at prices afford to pay.

Foss continues that societies have gone through boom and bust cycles before, examples include: the Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble and the “Real” Great Depression of the 1870s; but most people in the Western world today will face this crisis without the knowledge or means to provide the basics of their own survival. The industrial system has nearly destroyed the individual capacity for self-reliance.

Foss argues that individuals and communities that take steps now to prepare stand a much better chance to thrive in a changing world.

It’s a pretty hard hitting, detailed, full on documentary. So after scaring the bejeebers out of a room full of people for 80 minutes it was well and truly time for a fun alternative to ‘ponzi dynamics’ to take its turn!

 

The Century of the Self – Happiness Machines

We thought long and hard about what to do for the opening event for “The Loop Project Presents”. Our main aim with these nights is to bring people together to talk about the way we live and how this effects the world we live in. We wanted to ask questions.  What motivates our behaviour? Why do we value what we value? What are the alternatives, and how do we realise them?

Adam Curtis’ award winning documentary seems to answer these questions more directly and with more persuasive force than anything else I’ve seen. What’s more it comes at it from a surprising angle.

Adam Curtis introduces the first episode,

“This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”

So, you may ask, how does Freud relate to the environmental problems we face? Through the documentary we come to learn how since the 1920s public relations and politicians have used Freud’s theories to “engineer consent” and how our desires (to consume) have been created.

Curtis cites Paul Mazur, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s:

“We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

In order for any real change to be made in the world we need to understand the root cause of our consumeristic values as only through understanding can we bring these values into question and have any chance of changing the way we live.

We invite you to join us to watch the first episode of this brilliant documentary series.

After the film there will be discussion and drinks. Please bring something to share.

“The Century of the Self – Happiness Machines”

Sunday 12th December 7.30pm Dol Llys Hall.

Loop Project Presents

The Loop Project are planning a series of events which will include talks, debates, workshops and documentary showings. We hope this will develop into a regular feature in Llanidloes’ calendar – a chance to meet people, share knowledge, challenge assumptions and discuss ideas.

We are currently looking for people who would be interested in taking part – either by giving talks, attending events or by getting involved in promotions so we can reach a larger audience.

At this point I suppose I should let you know about what you would be letting yourself in for…

“Sustainability” – Of What?

We started from the perspective of concerned environmentalists, worried about sustainability and despairing at the lack of any convincing action either from businesses, government or individuals. Eventually we realised that environmental catastrophes unfolding are but a symptom of a much larger problem and that current attempts to “solve” environmental “problems” are ultimately flawed as they seek not radical change, but instead to sustain our current individualistic lifestyles of consumerism, materialism, the unending pursuit of growth – the very things that are in the fact root causes of the environmental problems.

A New Morality

The Loop Project hopes to call into question these values and believes that only by doing this can real change be made and the way opened to a new morality that recognises our place in the world, as part of the ecosystem, not rulers of it. To have any real effect the environmental movement needs to give up on it’s mission of “sustainability” (of current lifestyles) and move towards a radically different set of values, that while they may not line the pockets those currently in power, will enrich our lives.

We hope to bring forward new ideas, to challenge assumptions and to give real practical advice on how to live a life more in harmony with each other and the world we are part of.

We know this is not an easy task to take on and don’t expect to change the world overnight, but for change to happen it needs to start somewhere. Albeit in our own small part of the world, we are opening the door and invite you to walk through. Who knows where this may lead?

Loop Project Presents… will take place at Dol Llys Hall. We invite people to come to the events after which there will be open discussion and drinks (bring something to share). Keep an eye on the website or sign up to be kept up to date with the program of events.

If you would like to give a talk or have suggestions of films to show please contact us, we would love to hear from you.

TLP 20 – Make a seed packet

Here’s a handy little set of instructions for you on how to make a seed packet so you can pack up all the lovely little seeds you’ve saved and distribute them safely to all your friends.

Download a pdf version of the instructions here.

TLP 19 – Andy’s Bread

We are now selling bread at Great Oak Foods on a Friday afternoon.

All the bread is handmade using organic ingredients and baked locally in Llanidloes.

Soon we hope to offer an ordering service and in the near future a Community Supported Bakery with a subscription service.

Email bread@theloopproject.co.uk us if you are interested in ordering bread or to join the mailing list to find out what bread will be available that week.  Price list and details below.

TLP 18 – Marmaduke Dando

The Loop Project had the pleasure of being introduced to the music of Marmaduke Dando at the first festival of The Dark Mountain Project, “Uncivilisation”.

From Marmaduke’s website,

Marmaduke Dando is a singer of morose ballads and frisky drunken jigs, often extracting references to early Scott Walker, Brel and Weill. Bred from genuine pirate ancestry in a southern port, now based in London. He writes about all the horrors and beauties of the modern world, and barks them back at it with his dear band on the cold and regimented performance stages of London. His songs have been set to films, played in the Houses of Parliament, and used as an aid for aspiring Casanovas.

Shortly after the event we were asked to produce a poster to promote the launch of his debut album, Heathcliffian Surly. Here’s the poster,

TLP 16 – A WWOOFers Tale

A proud moment for The Loop Project as we have an article published in Issue 43 of The Idler, Back to the Land

The article tells the tale of our WWOOFing experiences over the previous 2 years. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’ll just say buy the book here.

In case you don’t already know it here’s a bit about the Idler from their website,

The Idler is a bi-annual, book-shaped magazine that campaigns against the work ethic.

It was founded in 1993 by Tom Hodgkinson and his friend Gavin Pretor-Pinney.

The title comes from a series of essays by Dr Johnson, published in 1758-9 in the Gentleman’s Magazine.

The intention of the magazine is to return dignity to the art of loafing, to make idling into something to aspire towards rather than reject.

As well as providing a radical and thought-provoking read, the Idler is also very funny.

Editor Tom Hodgkinson has written two books which develop this attitude to life. The first, How To Be Idle, has been published in 20 countries and has so far become a best-seller in the UK, Italy and Germany.

His second book How To Be Free takes an anarchic approach to the everyday barriers that come between us and our dreams.

Our article tells the story of what happened to us when we broke down those every day barriers that had stood between us and our dreams.

Issue 43 of the Idler features a major interview with David Hockney about the historical shifts in control of images. There are essays on the land and politics by Simon Fairlie, Paul Kingsnorth, Harry Mount and many more. Tom Hodgkinson has written the introduction where he writes on Roman farming guides. There are fine illustrations from Stanley Donwood, Alice Smith, Clifford Harper and more. The book has been lovingly typeset by Christian Brett.