L&OVe Workshop 27 April 2011

We held a very successful workshop at the Linklater Pavillion, using discussion/mapping exercises to explore the interdependence between the Lewes economy and the surrounding environment.

Following a short introduction by Colin explaining how the workshop would be an exploration of the roots of the local economy and outlining the objectives for the evening, the participants ran through 2 exercises using a huge map of the locality.

 

In the first exercise, groups of 3 people represented local ecosystems (Malling Down; Ashcombe Bottom; the Ouse catchment upstream to Barcombe reservoir, chosen by the groups from a list that also included The Brooks and Arable Farmland between Iford & Lewes; with the Railway lands used as example – all ‘ecosystems’ within a 5 km radius of Lewes centre) and identified ‘services’ they supplied to benefit Lewes town and its economy [services like food production, fibre production, soil erosion prevention, plant pollination, climate regulation, flood protection, aesthetic pleasure, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities, etc.]. These were put on post-its on the map to show which ecosystems provided which services.

In the second exercise, the groups then shifted to represent Lewes enterprises (They chose Harveys’ brewery; South Downs College; and Tescos from a list that also included Spring Barn Farm \  Lewes District Council \ the Farmer’s market \ Lewes Arms pub \ Chandler’s construction supplies / Richard’s Butchers \ The Lewes part of the Railway system \ Wyevale garden centre and Glyndebourne; with Lewes Golf club as an example) and identified services from the local ecosystems that they used/needed. String and blutack was used to link enterprises to ecosystems providing the services they use/need.

We ended up with a map covered in a web of cross-linkages between the ‘enterprises’ and the surrounding environment – providing an excellent representation of the unseen benefits of local ecosystems to the Lewes economy ….. eco-nomics revealed!!

There was discussion throughout the evening as the groups carried out the exercises, but we wound up with a session in which we brought together our conclusions from the workshop, under headings of “what we know”; “what we don’t know” and “what might we now do”.  We’ve now started to visualise what we know; we’ve recognised there’s a lot we don’t yet know and need to find out and, in terms of what we might do now, the following suggestions were made:

Raise awareness of the value of ecosystems services in the L&OV area

Put a value on local examples of ecosystems services

Seek community involvement in the assessment of ecosystem services, in particular work with young people

Re-package available data for a wider audience

Find further ways to visualise the importance of these services

Develop one or more detailed examples as an add-on to the map exercise

Proposals for the best examples to explore with all those concerned, would be…
– Enterprise:  Harveys
– Ecosystem: Malling Down

Other suggestions for examples:  flood protection, tourism as ‘services’; The farmer’s market/Friday market as enterprises

Organise a workshop to explore possible role of Lewes Pound as a mechanism for investment in local ecosystem services.

The workshop was very ably facilitated by Andrew Bartlett and Daron Williams took responsibility for recording the event, both in words and photos and video. Very many thanks to their efforts in making the workshop such a success. The venue proved extremely well suited to this event.

To follow up on this there will be a meeting at the Linklater Pavillion on Wed 1 June at 7.45pm to decide on which ecosytems/enterprises to study, identify what information will need to be collected during the study, plan how we are going to get it, and agree on who will do what.

Please come along and join the discussion and contribute to the decisions that now need to be made.