Incredible Edible Food Revolution is Happening

school flower and vegetable beds photo

Raised beds at the local primary school image from Incredible Edible Todmorden

What happens when two women in a small town realise that vegetables could be planted in the flowerbeds of the local parks and along the edges of the town's cemetery. A revolution, of a planting kind, is born. That's what happened in Todmorden, in Yorkshire. The women started planting rhubarb and chard and other vegetables in municipal tubs by the bus stop, on the railway platform, at the school, in the cemetery, outside the doctors' office. Their goal was to inspire others to start growing vegetables wherever they could: in their own back gardens, on balconies, outside their offices...

They launched their organisation "Incredible Edible Todmorden", with the goal of increasing the amount of local food grown and eaten in the town. Their aim is to have the town self-sufficient in food by 2018. The response has been overwhelming. The local council, to its credit, has given permission to plant 500 fruit trees around the local playing fields and is looking for plots to turn into new allotments. The town used to have 44 allotment sites and now it has only four.

building planters photo

building planters image from IET

"Todmorden is preparing for climate change and marshalling our many human resources to fit us for a future where we need to be more self sufficient in food." Reading through their list of projects gives an idea of how the townspeople, businesses and schools are getting involved, and it is inspiring. Graphic design students from the local college created a calendar to sell to raise money. The primary school has a small orchard and will soon be opening a group of 26 raised growing beds for community use. The high school has created poly tunnels to force plants and students are building raised flower beds out of timber from some demolished houses.

A community herb garden has been started and they are planning a local eggs coop to be launched in the spring. This is part of their Every Egg Matters campaign which hopes to ensure that every egg eaten in the town is grown locally. They also want to set up a land bank to share resources.

hugh at harvest festival photo

image from IET

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been publicising the idea on his t.v. show River Cottage, and he visited the harvest festival where 400 attended and brought local produce: " from lemons to organic bread, local beer and wine to fish, herbs and vegetables filled the church." Incredible Edible Todmorden
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