Incredible Edible Todmorden

Posted by Veronika Susedkova Oxfam activist

20th Dec 2012

Incredible Edible Todmorden grow food for sharing wherever there's space for it. Living in Todmorden I have had a chance to get involved with all the great things Incredible Edible Todmorden (IET) have been doing. And anyone else can join and contribute with cooking, designing posters, doing guided tours, meeting and greeting visitors, taking photos or working with children.

 For IET food is in the centre of attention. It has started with herb gardens and nowadays everybody can walk so-called Green Health Route round the town centre and explore vegetable beds (aka propaganda beds), herbs and fruit bushes - signs 'Not ready not pick' or 'Help yourself' tell people whether the food is ready to be enjoyed.

The walk leads through Pollination Street, with herbs and fruit trees growing on reclaimed land and with bug hotels for all the friendly creatures which help with pollinating. Visitors can follow the path alone or get a company of one of the volunteer guides - 50-seater coaches have already brought visitors from Scotland and Wales - vegetable tourism has taken off in a big way.

The walk also includes local shops and cafes, as well as indoor market. The stalls here were given blackboards from IET to write on what local food they sell - this encourages locals to buy local food.

Mary Clear, chair of the community group, told me of her long wait before the idea of sharing the food got into the community. She said she started in her own garden placing 'Help yourself' sign among her herbs and veggies. It took nearly two years before a Mum with her children stopped and picked some leaves - and even returned to ditch something in her compost bin. Next day, on Mary's doorstep there was a bowl of soup made from the herbs and leaves picked from her garden. This is what I think Incredible Edible is about - sharing and caring.

Pam Warhurst, the chair of IET, believes that different way of live and small changes can bring about a kinder future. This small start has also led to establishing spin-off social enterprises. Firstly, a partnership with local high school, The Food Hub, provides food and training to the students. Also, an aquaponics unit is being developed at the school and students will soon have a possibility to study towards Diploma in Environmental and Land Based Studies. Additionally, Incredible Edible Growing Ltd provides more locally grown food - especially to local cafes and restaurants - as well as training.

To sum up, I think that Incredible Edible is about 'living the life you want' now - without waiting for decisions to be made or strategy papers to be written. It's about taking actions - smaller or bigger - and enjoying the results. That sounds pretty incredible to me.

If you want to know more about Incredible Edible Todmorden visit  http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/home.

If you feel inspired by what Incredible Edible Todmorden do and know a similar group in your area nominate them as your Food Hero - you can learn how at

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/our-campaigns/grow/food-heroes/nominate 

 This story and information were provided by Penny A, one of the volunteers from Incredible Edible Todmorden.

Blog post written by Veronika Susedkova

Oxfam activist

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