Transition Ipswich was active from 2008 to 2013. After 5 years the projects we wanted to get started had become established, and the need to have meetings to stimulate new activity ceased. The projects still flourish and grow; information on them can be found below. If you’d like to get involved all the information is at your fingertips!

The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm has a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme which brings around 50 members together to grow vegetables all year round on a few acres in Rushmere St Andrew.

The farm’s growers work Ryan and Justin work incredibly hard alongside the members, who all work 1-2 hours a week on the farm helping plant, weed and harvest, in return for a very good value veg box every week (around £9). The farm now also accepts ‘armchair’ members who support the farm financially but are too time-poor to volunteer, which makes the farm more inclusive and accessible.

The farm is low carbon and uses no chemicals to grow, preferring hand tools, seaweed sprays and using animals to improve the fertility of the soil. They also grow beautiful bunches of seasonal cut flowers along these lines in their bee-friendly flower garden.

Aside from the great local produce, it has wonderful open days, skill-share sessions and social events, coordinated by the project coordinator Sue Hall and supported by farm directors Tom, Ken and Andy. The website and blog can be found here.

Maidenhall Community Orchard is a Transition Ipswich initiative started by a handful of orchardistas who wanted to grow fruit along permaculture lines and get some agency over their food supply. Participants wanted to create a community space in Ipswich for residents to come together; to plant an orchard, and enjoy and share wonderful fruit!

The group cleared up a pair of disused allotments in February 2011 and planted a handful of fruit trees and soft fruits bushes. In 2012 we received funding to plant some larger traditional varieties of fruit tree which will still be thriving in decades to come.

There are now over twenty trees on the site, a growing collection of soft fruits, a communal shed and a raised bed for annual vegetables to be grown and shared. In 2019 the space is flourishing working along permaculture lines, and producing modest amounts of fruit, alongside opportunities to socialise and cook together outdoors.

We’re always looking for new members so find out more on the facebook page where you can contact the group’s coordinator Rona Sharp.

Incredible Edible Ipswich formed in 2013 when a group of students took inspiration from the growing Incredible Edible movement and wanted to get Ipswich on the map as a town where residents can plant up disused empty spaces and create a vibrant local food environment.

It’s slowly building up from strength to strength, with two sites in use at present and more in the pipeline. An article on the group’s work planting trees on Inverness Road is here, read about it or come and see the sites on Cemetery Road (coordinated by Kirsty Wilmot) and St Margaret’s Churchyard (coordinated by Lucy Drake).

You can pick a sample of the produce to take home and get involved planting, weeding and watering! Contact us through this site, or the facebook page with details is here.

Below are some other fantastic projects working towards creating a more environmentally friendly Ipswich. These projects do not necessarily support or endorse the Transition movement in any way, but are doing great things for Ipswich and need shouting about:

Ipswich ‘Ripple’ Food Cooperative was created following the closure of a wholefood shop in Ipswich in 2007, when a group of customers and keen cooperators from the local housing cooperative decided to set up their own food coop. The aim was to supply organic wholefood items that were no longer available at affordable prices.

Over 10 years later, and now trading from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Ripple is now catering for around 50 members, about 20 of whom actively help open and run the fortnightly trading days, and work behind the scenes to keep the cogs turning.

The shop gets a bulk of supplies from Suma, an ethical wholesaler, but also stocks a number of local products, including Suffolk honey, rapeseed oil, flour, mushrooms, fruit juice, pulses and preserves.  This inspiring video shows the coop in action, and its website is here.

Cycle Ipswich has been campaigning for better cycling infrastructure for over a decade in Ipswich. They respond to any planning consultations which may affect cyclists, and share useful information through a google group. Find out about their recent campaigns, their aims and how to get involved on their website here.

Random Camel Housing Cooperative is a housing cooperative with 9 members living intentionally as a community in a terrace of 3 properties in Foundation Street which they bought in 2012. Their property has been eco-retrofitted and is a fantastic hub for charity music gigs and film screenings.

This is one of the longest standing and most successful projects in Ipswich, which not only campaigns for and promotes sustainable lifestyles, but also provides a working model of how this can be done. They are a brilliant example of cooperative living.

Many members are vegan or vegetarian and are involved in a whole host of environmentally focussed community projects around the town. More info on the fabulous camel gang is here.

La Tour Cycle Cafe is a community hub in Ipswich which was set up by Anna and Cliff Matthews in 2015 to bring the community together. This included cyclists who used their in-house turbo training room, to increase their cycling fitness through a time-trial simulator. It was also an instant hit with families who enjoyed the homely feel.

The cafe moved to the Waterfront from its original home in Tower Street, and has now morphed into a fantastic hub for community-minded organisations to run pop-up events, groups and services. Anna also now runs a Home Hub for homeless people in the town.

The facebook page with all the latest events and projects is here. Head down for one of Anna’s ‘cheeky coffees’ or lunches; it’s the warmest welcome you’ll get anywhere!

Hullabaloo is a vegan cafe on Cemetery Road in Ipswich which was set up in 2018 to bring together the vegan community and provide a space for creative events. Run by Jennie Debenham and Jon Halls, a talent vegan chef and percussionist respectively, this beautiful cafe has transformed an empty space using upcycled fabrics and pre-loved furniture.

This article explains their vision, whilst their facebook page gives information on opening times and menus, which change daily. The food is simply heaven, and all sourced as ethically and locally as possible. They also have cosy film nights and creative sessions in the evenings. It’s a great place to hang out for a Sunday brunch too!

Cupboard Love is a Woodbridge based company set up by Mel Menhams in 2018 to tackle the plastic pollution problem. Mel’s online and mobile shop delivers to La Tour in Ipswich weekly, allowing Ipswich residents to buy plastic-free cupboard staples, including food and personal care products. Find out more on her website or facebook page.

Preloved Chica is run by Elene Marsden who has a passion for pre-loved clothes. Sustainable fashion is in Elene’s heart, and she shares this passion through her weekly radio show on Ipswich Community Radio, and her own social media channels.

Elene says, “If you like to shop ethically, think it’s important to keep clothes out of landfill, you love recycling and you take pleasure in the story behind each garment you wear, then you and I are on the same wavelength.” If you are, and want to find out more about her work, check out her website and facebook page.

Where Does It Come From is run by Jo Salter who has made it her mission to show people where garments come from; from where the raw materials are grown, to how and where they are weaved, cut and finished. Jo connects customers to the creators of their garments, which are beautiful, unique and ethically made. Find out more about her company on her website or facebook page.

People’s Community Garden is a beautiful and productive community garden right next door to Transition’s Maidenhall Community Orchard. Both projects are sited on Maidenhall allotments, which are teeming with wildlife, including a community-run beehive, fruit orchard and polytunnels.

There is also a newly refurbed pavilion here, where a monthly community market is held, attracting local residents of all ages. Their most recent project is an ActivSheds projects for local men to share their carpentry, DIY and construction skills. Find out more on their website here.

Green Living Centre is a one-stop shop web resource for how to live more sustainably. It is focussed on wildlife and conservation work around the town, listing lots of conservation work parties and other events for people wanting to help conserve the green spaces around Ipswich, including our amazing parks.

For more information, and a great set of resources on sustainable living more generally, check out the site here. They also have a great list of local groups, which includes a full list of wildlife organisations operating around Ipswich – these are here.

Greenways is a countryside management organisation which manages many of the fantastic public green spaces in and around Ipswich. It does this for the benefit of wildlife and local people, and actively encourages volunteers to get involved in their practical conservation work. If you’d like to find out more about how Greenways improves and enhances our wild areas check out their website here.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust‘s Ipswich team is a collective of staff and volunteers aiming to protect and enhance the town’s wildlife, and inspire the next generation of young naturalists. They run weekly Wild Tots groups for young children and their families, which are forest-school style sessions in Christchurch and Holywells Parks.

They also run a monthly Wildlife Watch club for primary school children, and a Young Wardens group for teens. The team also bring adults together with breakfast and evening events in Christchurch Park, looking for local wildlife and celebrating with breakfast or a drink in the Woolpack pub. All the events are on the website here, or their facebook page. They also write a blog.

Legacy projects

These projects have come and gone, but are still a brilliant resource for those who may wish to set up their own projects on these themes.

Ipswich Pig Club, a.k.a “Acorn Antics”, ran from November 2011 for over two years, raising numerous groups of rare-breed weaners to slaughter and sharing the pork amongst the club’s members. It’s eight members started the club to create a source of ethically raised pork, and to learn to keep pigs as a group, as well as butchery skills.

With the help of a supportive landowner, the club has gone through the process of researching and building fencing and an ark, and all the associated issues with keeping pigs, from Defra licensing, suitable breeds, slaughter and butchery costs, and putting a care rota in place.

Their project blog is here – complete with video footage! The club reformed in 2013 when the pigs were integrated into a larger project, but the lessons learned and enjoyment members got from it made the venture more than worthwhile.

Transition Ipswich’s 30 Mile Food Challenge began in 2012 when some of TI’s food group challenged ourselves to eat only food from a 30 mile radius around our town for the 30 days of September. In 2013 the Challenge was ruled out across Suffolk when we linked with other Transition Groups across the County. With a few wildcard treat items allowed (tea and coffee were popular choices!) we set about researching what we could get locally that had been grown and processed here.

From modest beginnings we set up a website and started mapping producers and retailers and even produced a small directory as a leaflet to spread the word. In 2015, following a number of years of the challenge (including cooking classes, shared meals, picnics, farm tours and wild food walks), the project had achieved it’s initial aims and wound down, but still has resources available for anyone who wishes to do a challenge.

The website did not survive due to a lost domain name which departed with a volunteer, but there is a Suffolk-wide facebook page here. There are still maps available of local producers, retailers and restaurants.

Local Foods Suffolk was a 3 year lottery funded project run by Suffolk ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England, now known as Community Action Suffolk).  The project supported the creation of 66 new local food projects across Suffolk, from pig and chicken clubs, to orchards, community gardens and growers cooperatives.

It also created a local food database and directory of community projects and food producers. A blog about the project by their project officer is here. The list of local producers is here, or can be downloaded as a printable PDF document here.

Do you know about any other projects which promote, encourage (or more importantly DO) sustainable living in Ipswich? These can themed on any kind of sustainability you can think of, be it around fashion, upcycling, anti-consumerism, local food, transport, energy, wildlife or plastic action. If so please let us know via the Contact page.