Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution…

Get behind Incredible Edible’s RSA kickstarter campaign and help kickstart a growing revolution!

police peeps

What is Incredible Edible?
Imagine helping yourself to a juicy cob of sweetcorn from the yard outside a police station. You might feel secretly pleased that nobody has come out to arrest you. You might be surprised to see the corn there in the first place. You’d get even more of a shock if you knew a police officer was watching you on CCTV with a huge grin on her face.

food to share

This simple but radical act of growing food in public places for everyone to share has been a starting point for a movement that is now spreading across the world.

A few years ago Todmorden seemed stuck in a downward spiral, just another small town blighted by economic decline. Shops and pubs were closing, the market was struggling to compete with supermarkets, house prices were falling and many people were being forced to commute to find work.

Some of the locals decided they were fed up with waiting for the powers that be to sort everything out and so they tried an experiment. They set out to see if they could bring people together around the shared language of food and from there do something that would create a stronger, kinder, greener town and a better future for their children.

There’s a market garden training centre offering apprenticeships to local youngsters, and friendships are being formed across the generations as older residents help their younger neighbours rediscover lost arts like pickling and jam making.


Incredible Edible is good for business too: producers have been inspired to bring out new lines, like an award winning cheese, and sausages from rare breed pigs. Market traders and restaurant owners also say they’re profiting from the Incredible Edible effect.

In a world where ordinary people feel increasingly alienated from the forces that shape their lives, Incredible Edible Todmorden demonstrates a straightforward way of taking back control.

It’s a way that starts with what people have, not what they haven’t – and where politicians and experts learn from the people instead of lecturing them.

So how can RSA fellows help?

The kickstarter campaigners, Joanna Dobson and Julian Dobson FRSA have written Incredible! telling the story of this extraordinary movement and want to get it self-published to kickstart more food revolutions around the world. The book tells the story from its earliest days, when co-founder Mary Clear ripped out the roses from her garden and replaced them with vegetables and a sign saying ‘Food to Share’, right up to the present, when people travel thousands of miles to be inspired by what’s happening in this once overlooked town in the north of England. Woven into the story are facts and figures about the present state of our food system and examples of why we all need to think differently about the way we treat the land if we want to create a stronger, kinder and more stable future for our children.

There are also practical tips about how to get started on an Incredible Edible project in your own community, along with simple and delicious recipes from some of Todmorden’s many accomplished cooks.

The whole story is told in the voice of Pam Warhurst, the inspirational co-founder of Incredible Edible, who gives regular talks in the UK and across the world about what has happened in Todmorden. Her TED talk on the town has been viewed more than 700,000 times.

Why a book?
They like to say in Todmorden that they are the town of the example. They’ve done the hard work of getting Incredible Edible established for the first time and now others can follow their lead, copying what has worked well and learning from the mistakes.

Already more than 50 towns and villages across the UK have joined the Incredible Edible movement. It’s spreading across the world too, with over 300 Incredible Edibles in France alone, and others in places as far apart as Mali, Canada and New Zealand.

But not everyone can visit Todmorden for themselves and although the co-founders receive countless invitations to speak around the country and abroad, there’s only so many places they can be at once.

To find out how you can get involved and help with the Dobson’s campaign head to their kickstarter campaign.

To get started on your own growing revolution, here’s a few incredible edible tips:

Photos and videos by Estelle Brown and Jason Rooper respectively.

This post is edited from the kickstarter campaign.

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