A torrential downpour of rain greeted us at the start of Exeter City Futures’ Connect: Spring Sharing of Local Green Initiatives. Thank you to those who attended and made it to the venue, despite the damp conditions! 

Thank you to Kaleider for the warm, friendly venue and Daily Bowl for the excellent food.

Following is a summary of what was presented, organisations mentioned and useful resources. If you don’t find what you’re looking for below, give us an email at changemakers@exetercityfutures.org and we will assist you.

Summary of Presentations

We heard from speakers as follows:

The presentations gave us insights into current projects and organisations, as well as tips on how to get involved or share information.

Firstly, we heard from Andy Johnson of Homme de Terre – an organic food advisor. Andy explained the economic benefits of buying local and organic, even if it’s £20 per week per household. Andy is particularly interested in why younger people and residents who environmentally aware do not buy local and organic.

Mick Green shared his initiative Cycle Whatever the Weather. He explained his personal journey to the project, his comments and observations on mannerisms of the public and gave a succinct overview of Tipping Points which is currently being examined by Exeter University. If you want to sign up to the challenge, click here: Cycle Whatever the Weather Challenge – Exeter City Futures

Kate Jago and Melissa Fayad presented their work with the Pinhoe Forum and Collective Commons which incorporates the collective saving of green spaces in Pinhoe by using systems-based thinking, as researched by Exeter Living Lab. Kate used the examples of areas of wildlife in Pinhoe which had been curated by developers as examples of the shifting baselines of what we understand as wildlife. Similarly, the use of cultural appropriation and the separateness residents feel to some of the cultural associations placed in new developments. Residents are involved in this work, and it has become apparent that policy work is incredibly important to make changes for local areas. Kate also shared an upcoming event at the Exeter Climate Hub on 22nd – 23rd April 2023 titled ‘Exeter Earth Day’.

Councillor Duncan Wood, the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change at Exeter City Council, gave an update of the council’s commitments to reduce emissions in the city. Duncan shared a video (see link below) which summarised the work on and at Exeter’s Recycling Centre and the challenges of producing, storing and distributing energy owned by the council with a limited grid. He also shared that the Council is the largest landowner in the city, so direct tree planting in Exeter can be easily done and Passivhaus retrofit for council-owned buildings and new-build projects have been a focus.

Exeter’s solar farm now powering recycling facility and electric fleet – Exeter City Council News

BBC Spotlight – Exeter’s solar farm now powering recycling facility and electric fleet – YouTube

Finally, Tracey West shared information about the Word Forest Organisation. Whilst it’s primary aim is to plant trees in Kenya, the charity has a holistic approach by supporting communities, empowering women, sharing ideas and knowledge of permaculture and to facilitate education.

It’s worth mentioning that during the evening some other organisations were brought up in discussions:

Following the presentations, the provocation question ‘How can Exeter grow more green initiatives?’ was asked and the groups talked about this and fed back 3 main points from their discussions. The conversations were thoughtful, and provided useful points of connection between ideas, organisations and people. We’re grateful to those who spoke about their organisations and we hope good connections were made.

If you would like an opportunity to share your initiative at an upcoming Connect event, please check back to this page, or on Exeter City Futures’ social media for updates.