At October's Transition Café, I presented a new collaborative Transition project that we're hoping to start up early next year. It's inspired by two things.First, one of the Transition ingredients, which used to be called 'Honouring the Elders', and is now simply referred to as 'oral histories'. The basic idea is that if we are looking for new ways of adapting to post-peak oil life, one important step is to ask older people how they used to live before the age of cheap oil. For example, how did they get around, what did they eat, what did they do for entertainment and what kind of energy systems did they use? This kind of information can then help feed into a Transition Initiative's Energy Descent Action Plan. There don't seem to be a lot of these kinds of projects around yet, though we did find ones in Bristol and right next door in West Kirkby. (You can see the great video they've recently produced here).

Second, I've been fascinated by a set of plaques on the side of the Liverpool One Tesco, which point out that a market garden used to be right where the Tesco is now. The garden was apparently owned by Thomas Seel (one of Liverpool's foremost slave traders) and so the area is called 'Mr Seel's Garden' on the plaque. Its a really striking juxtaposition of historic and modern food systems, and how Liverpool's global connections have changed over time.

So we've brought these two ideas together to develop a project called 'Memories of Mr Seel's Garden: historic and future food systems in Liverpool'. It's going to involve oral histories, looking at old maps and researching in the Merseyside Maritime Museum Archives. We're aiming to build up a multi-layered picture of how people used to eat in Liverpool and where they got their food from. There's a broad range of groups involved and Transition Liverpool will be working alongside the Friends of Everton Park and the Friends of Sudley Estate, as well as with academics from Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Once we've done our research we're hoping to develop a historical food walking tour in the form of a print map and an iphone app inspired by the Walking Through Time project.

If we do get the funding we'll be putting a call out for people who would like to be trained in the different research methods and contribute to the project. So if you are interested please let us know ( We'll find out about our application in Late December-early January, so keep your fingers crossed for us.....


Janet. Johnstone
30/11/2011 11:08

Would love to be involved in any way.
Practical testing of recipes.
Library research - anything realy.
Will have time in the new year.

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