Affected by the economic crisis and worried for the environment, three citizens from Todmorden, a city half way between Manchester and Leeds in Yorkshire, decided in 2008 to transform public spaces in vegetables’ gardens usable by everyone. Since then, new shops opened, and the town is hosting many tourists who came to be inspired by the Incredible Edible project.
Todmorden landscape is not usual, you can enjoy and see corns and other edible vegetables planted in vast buckets in front of the police station. Apple trees and medicinal plants sits in front of the hospital, accessible to everyone who wants to pick them up. You also can find some in schools, for that you just have to follow the Green Map edited by the association to guide you through the town and through all the edible that grows.
With everywhere the same placard planted close to it, saying “Food to share” or “ Go for it, it’s free”.
In 2008, the financial crisis hits Todmorden, city of 25 000 citizens, pushing Pam, Estelle and Mary to act and gather others to try to solve what they could. Over 60 people came to the meeting in Pam’s café, the “Bear Café”, when the three women were only expecting not more than 10 people. This was the starting point of an amazing adventure.
“The idea was to think about a new way of life by using differently our resources to ensure a better future to our children and our planet” explained Pam Warhurst who is extremely worried about climate change.
The principle is simple: planting, cultivating and sharing. Everywhere where a soil spot is free, it is possible to plant vegetables. The project also aims to create a new way of life encouraging local exchanges by sharing organic fruits and vegetables, cultivating by neighbors and inhabitants. It also allows connection between people and those citizens are thumbing their noses to industries which are using fertilizers, pesticides and which are throwing away tons of food. Such a waist.
Lots of citizens started to cultivate their own gardens and vegetables gardens, which generated the adoption of new municipal rules allowing inhabitants to raise laying hens and to offer their eggs to others.
Incredible Edible has been an example for many different city around the world. After the terrible earthquake that shake Christchurch in New-Zealand in 2011, leaders came to Todmorden to learn about Incredible Edible and its communal vegetables’ gardens, to reconstruct the city.
The town saw different shops opening since 2008, a cheese shops, a bakerie, a pizzeria and a small café. Moreover, the criminality rate dropped since Incredible Edible was created.
In less than 8 years the town reached a 95% of food self-sufficiency and they are aiming to reach the magical 100% before 2018.
To learn more about Incredible Edible, follow that link http://incredibleediblenetwork.org.uk/