- About Us
In the year 2030 ...
Penwith is a series of communities with very strong cultural and social links. Most social and emotional life takes place within each local community.
At the Community level local production of food and energy take precedence in community planning.
Each year the Community Meeting decides the priorities for investment in new plant/machinery and systems for:
- Local RE production
- Energy efficiency investment
- Energy trading for surpluses and shortfalls
- New food crops to try and reports presented on recent cropping situation
- Local transport systems including horses and other non fossil transport
- Land use policies for local production of materials such as wood for building, bark for tanning, fibre planting for textiles
- New local production systems and which systems should be investigated jointly with other Penwith or wider communities (eg textiles, soap, cleaning products, dyes and paints/colourings, building materials )
- Repair and maintenance training for machinery and skills
Penwith as a whole produces:
- Some three quarters of its own food, and has District level processing and storage facilities
- Around four fifths of its own non-transport energy and the demand has been reduced by half through clever energy efficiency measures and local restructuring of demand
- The local transport system works on a need basis and includes significant sharing of resources through a community owned transport company which includes freight and postal deliveries and collections.
- Fishermen routinely travel using sail assisted boats to collect and deliver freight and passengers, which has rapidly transformed their sea desecrating behaviour.
- Local schools include sustainability at the heart of the curriculum and major lessons are practically based including wind turbine and tractor maintenance, organic gardening, food preserving and cooking along with nutrition. Non-one reaches the age of 16 without being able to grow some food and preserve and cook local produce.
- Duchy College provides local degree level courses on sustainability to further local learning.
- Adult education courses for cooking, food growing and preserving are well attended and leading on to a culture of food and cooking which is now renowned throughout the region.
- Local education for all ages also focuses on environmental changes and how to adapt local systems and approaches to develop flexibility and resilience.
The research on Terra preta undertaken by the Duchy college has lead on to a high level of local fertility increase through a programme of creating the agri-char in pyrolysis plants, which produce electricity and heat for sale and have the special charcoal as one output. This is processed locally and goes onto fields throughout Penwith. This has lead to a doubling of local food productivity on each field so treated and the demand is so high that more pyrolysis plants are planned and more coppice woodland is being planted each year.
Local food production covers all vegetable needs throughout the year and over half of the fruit needed is now locally produced. The area trades charcoal for wheat and other cereals when not enough is produced for local needs. Local protein in the form of meat, fish and eggs is mainly produced on permaculture based farms with high levels of grass fed animals, producing much less methane per animal. The low lying areas next to the sea where not yet inundated are used for fish farming in pond culture, with skills and yields increasing as experience is gained.
There are several food preserving centres all run entirely on RE including wind, solar and anaerobic digestion of any wastes which cannot go to the pigs kept by the preserving units.
Farmers are now well trained in organic and permaculture principles and biodynamic horticulture in particular is taking off. The proportion of the population working on the land has increased to 20% and the percentage of sick people has dropped from 35% in the early years of this century to under 7% now, with improved diets, more exercise and being needed for worthwhile work.
The local seas are protected with no take zones covering half of local waters and bottom trawling and gill nets are banned. As a consequence the local fish production has dramatically increased and the sea bed is thriving.
This has spawned a new eco-tourism in which tourists arrive by sail boat, travel locally on horse-drawn transport and see the attractions of the sea close up.
Local skills are increasing in materials development using locally grown crops, with practical R and D covering textiles, fibres and building materials etc from arrange of crops including hemp, flax, short rotation coppice and seaweed.
Penwith now has such a reputation for inventiveness in the new negative carbon economy that there is a thriving centre for materials R and D, which trades ideas and skills for specialist products which cannot be produced locally.
With so many people practically involved in food growing and preservation, and with materials production there is a major local ethos for healthy outdoors living. Each spring there is a round Penwith race in which over a thousand people compete for the most imaginative low carbon way to travel around the Peninsula. The race includes a Spring Festival and feasting on the fresh new season green foods from greenhouses and protected cropping environments locally.
This new approach to living and involvement of all kinds of people has generated a high level of health compared to the “bad old days” when over one third of local people had poor health.
Obesity is now almost non existent and many health issues are dealt with by local “barefoot” doctors, nurses, herbalists and complementary therapists such as ~EFT practitioners, chiropractors and healers. The need for operations has dropped dramatically and health education and the fostering of healthy attitudes is a major element of the upbringing of all local children.
There is an Elders/Healers Council for major health issues which meets regularly to discuss and develop policy responses to environmental and health threats, and works with the local health professionals and others to promulgate these policies. They also work closely with the Community Meeting to ensure that health aspects of food and diet are considered in local future planning for cropping and work requirements.
Charmian Larke created this draft Energy Vision Statement for Transition Penwith ... thanks Charmian!