17 Feb 2010

Stroud and Totnes Green party twinned

Greens from Totnes, the fastest growing Green Party in the UK, visited Stroud to improve on connections with members of the Stroud District Green Party.

Photos: pics from afternoon meeting

As two areas that show strong support for the Green Party values, Stroud and Totnes Greens hope to share experiences and learn from each other. The two market towns, both with histories of green activism, had their first meeting in Stroud (6-7th February) to share their experience of Green politics. I really enjoyed meeting the Greens from Totnes - lots of talk and lots to share and learn.

Here is some of what I wrote and collected for a press release earlier in the week: The two towns were among the first to launch thriving Transition Town projects and both have launched their own currencies to support the local economy. The towns also share an important arts economy; Totnes has the Ways with Words Festival and the long-running Summer Music School and it has been said in the Daily Telegraph, 'Stroud is to the arts what Hay on Wye is to books'. Totnes is yet to have a Green District councillor but just like Stroud, they elected their first Green County Councillor last year and have a number of Town councillors.

John Marjoram, who set up the project with Totnes said, "Meeting up with Greens from different areas makes you more aware of our common values, it also helps develop new personal friendships".

The group of Totnes visitors joined a Green party stall leafleting in Stonehouse, had a tour of Stroud where they were impressed by the Farmers Market and the Co-Housing project, joined Party members for a meal at the Star Anise Cafe and had table discussions about key issues at The Exchange.

Cllr Philip Booth, a Green Stroud District councillor, who joined the discussion, said: "It was great to share experiences with Greens from Totnes: there are many similarities between the towns, like our large number of artists and keen interests in social and environmental justice. Of course there are also differences - we can learn much from hearing how others are trying to tackle similar challenges. I am looking forward to a return visit to Totnes in the Autumn."

Lydia Somerville, the Greens Parliamentary candidate for Totnes, said, "It was very inspiring to see examples of what can be done by elected Green Party councillors to support the local community (or local community projects). We are particularly keen to encourage the creation of a "food hub" like yours in Totnes, and seeing the Springhill Community project has motivated us to keep up the pressure for a similar co-housing project in Totnes."

Green Party members in Stroud look forward to more collaboration with the Totnes Greens in the future.

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