Growing food can change the way you respond to everything around you.
That’s what Incredible Edible Todmorden co-founder Pam Warhurst told me recently during one of our long chats about the story of the Incredible Edible movement.
And why have I been having long chats with Pam?
Because (drum roll)
we have written (another drum roll)
a book about Incredible Edible Todmorden!
Yes, a whole book!
Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution (by Pam Warhurst, with Joanna Dobson, as it will say on the cover) tells the story of the Incredible Edible movement, starting from the day when another co-founder, Mary Clear, ripped out the roses in her front garden and replaced them with vegetables and a sign saying ‘Help Yourself’.
It charts the progress of the project over the six years since it was founded to today, when people come from all over the world to see what is happening in this once overlooked little market town in west Yorkshire.
I’ve been researching and writing the book for the best part of two years. I’ve done hours and hours of interviews with a whole range of people whose lives have been affected by the Incredible Edible movement – from the high school chef who started planting his own school dinner ingredients to the self-confessed city girl who had never even had a pot plant before she moved to Todmorden but now feeds herself and her son fresh, home-grown vegetables for nine months of the year.
Incredible Edible isn’t just about growing food though. It’s about a way of building community, recovering lost skills and boosting local businesses so that we can all look forward to a kinder, greener, more resilient future.
From planting vegetables on unloved patches of ground to launching a market garden training centre to encouraging local farmers to increase their range of products, Incredible Edible demonstrates how small actions have power to bring about big changes.
The book I have written with Pam doesn’t just tell a story, either: it also includes hints and tips for anyone who wants to start an Incredible Edible project where they are, and gives a few simple recipes from some of Todmorden’s many accomplished cooks.
In true Incredible Edible style, we’ve decided to publish the book ourselves. Today I launched a campaign on Kickstarter, the website that enables ordinary people to back creative projects.
Going the Kickstarter route is forcing me to do two things that are right outside my comfort zone: fundraise and (horrors) appear in a video.
I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be doing either of them if it weren’t for the fact that I really believe the Incredible Edible movement has the potential to inspire people to bring about real and lasting change.
My biggest hope for the book is that it will inspire more and more people to see that it is possible to live by a different story, one that is not the worn out, disempowering narrative of global consumerism.
Our Kickstarter page is here. It gives more details about the book and explains how, if you want to, you can get involved with it and what you would get in return – everything from an e-book to a hard copy of the book to a fruit tree grafted in Todmorden!
However, this blog is not about to turn into one long advert for the campaign. That’s not what I’m here for and although I have got to plenty to say about the way the Incredible Edible approach can help us build a better future, please be assured that I won’t be making endless pleas for cash.
What I’m concerned about is how people can connect with the land, their food and their communities in what somebody in Todmorden described yesterday as ‘a joined-up circle of scrumptiousness’.