The Incredible Edible Network started out in the small market town of Tomorden in the North of England. It was pioneered by a group of like-minded individuals, which included Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, who wanted to find a universal language, one that cut across age, income and culture.
“If you eat, you’re in.”
Their answer lay in the one simplest requirements for sustainable life – food. Food is understood by everyone, its a great way to get people talking and, more importantly, to take action. So they started growing it around their communities; fruit, vegetables and herb sprouting up all wherever it could. They grew things in front of hospitals and police stations, made edible canal towpaths and sprouting cemeteries, in the corners of railway station car parks: if it had ground, they grew!
This ‘propaganda gardening’ started getting traction as more people in the village got involved. Food was becoming the catalyst for change they had hoped for. Building up from small herd gardens and community plots, Incredible Edible became involved in various campaigns, supporting local businesses and organising the creation of learning centres at the Incredible Farm and the Incredible Aqua Garden.
Tomorden has become the flagship for the Incredible Edible Network, with ‘vegetable tourists‘ coming from all over the world to poke around in their raised beds and take inspiration from their ethos. There are now more than 100 groups in the UK and globally, with Incredible Edible groups reaching as far as Canada and New Zealand. The Network strives to provide more people with information about food activism and community resilience using these 3 ‘plates’:
The Community Plate – growing produce and working together
The Learning Plate – providing training from field to classroom to kitchen
The Business Plate – supporting local commerce
Feeling full yet?
See some of the work they’ve grown across the country.
Student at Bournemouth University and intern/accidental activist with Atlas of the Future, Matthew spends his time promoting the solutions of tomorrow and staying out of his overdraft.
Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear