Food is a universal language that brings people together

Visitors from Wetherby take a look at one of Incredible Edible Todmorden's growing beds
Visitors from Wetherby take a look at one of Incredible Edible Todmorden's growing beds

Incredible Edible Todmorden is an action group of local volunteers, which has been working with like-minded people in the town for over four years trying to help create a better, kinder future for our town and its children.

Using the language of food, we have sought to bring people together, across age, income and culture, to play their part in doing something positive for themselves and their community.

We work across three elements of our society, what we call our spinning plates.

l Community - the way we live our lives day to day,

l Learning - what we teach our children and the skills we share with each other, and

l Business - how we invest in our local economy and support local food producers and suppliers.

The community group build, maintain and promote propaganda food growing sites in the town centre from the doctors surgery to the canal bank. All our sites are “help yourself food to share.” It takes cooking lessons out onto the street and into people’s homes. It organises fun celebrations that lift the spirits of residents and attract many visitors to our incredible town.

The learning group organises the informal skills sharing sessions that over the winter and spring period attracted around 1,000 people to hundreds of free courses from tree grafting to keeping hens, jam making to “what does go into a Todmorden sausage to make it so tasty?”

We also have links to every school in the town, particularly the High School and hope to create much greater awareness about the importance of growing food locally and using the school’s purchasing power to support local businesses.

The business group are interested in both demand and supply of local food.

They have funded free blackboards for market traders to highlight what local food is on sale, organised local food fairs, promoted the market for local free range eggs through its “every egg matters” campaign, and brought vegetable tourists to our town to see what the community are up to with their local food growing aspirations.

We have launched the Incredible Edible Green route across the town. It takes tourists and local residents through a series of exhibition edible gardens, along the edible canal towpath, past small shops and cafes and through our market.

Here volunteers from the community group has created “Pollination Street”, a town centre food-to-share site where herbs and rhubarb grow alongside apples and soft fruit, leading people straight to our great market.

Now shoppers can wend their way to every corner of our town, not just the supermarkets.