Did ever a book launch have a lovelier view? This is Todmorden, as seen from outside the Unitarian church, where we had a beautiful afternoon of celebrations for Incredible! on Saturday.
It’s one of only three photos I managed to take but I appointed our daughter Finn as Unofficial Launch Photographer, so here’s a little insight into the day, courtesy of her excellent pictures.
The first part of the launch was one of the ‘rewards’ for some of our top Kickstarter backers, although sadly not all of them were able to come. My co-author Pam Warhurst welcomed them in her usual dynamic and inspiring way.
Then Estelle Brown, Incredible Edible’s full time, unpaid webmaster and tour guide, took everyone off to look at the town. Here she is outside Mary Clear’s front garden, where everything is edible and anyone can help themselves.
Thanks to Estelle, our guests saw all the sharing beds around town, from the police station to the pre-school, and also enjoyed the edible walking route that features not just food for humans but lots of plants that are good for bees too. To avoid overkill on the pictures I haven’t put many of the town on here – if you want to see more of the wonder that is Todmorden, take a look at Incredible Edible’s website.
Meanwhile, back at the church, it was all hands on deck to get the lunch ready. Here’s Pam in a pinny with lovely helper Alison.
The food! What can I say about the food? It was stupendous.
And lots of the ingredients came from around the town.
If you didn’t know, you’d never guess it was completely free of meat, dairy and other animal products. Volunteer Hilary Wilson, who is a passionate vegan and outstanding cook, had spent the whole week planning and prepping. I managed to snap this picture of her during a rare moment away from the kitchen.
It stayed dry all day (never a given in Todmorden) so we ate outside. Don’t worry about the policemen – they weren’t there to keep order but to represent the local force, whose station plot is one of the most photographed in the town.
Lunch over, it was off to Incredible Farm, the project that never stops evolving. It’s almost impossible to believe this was once a piece of waterlogged, rubbish-filled scrubland.
Some of the new developments this year are a solar powered pumping system …
… and Rufus the cow, seen here with François Rouillay, founder of Incroyables Comestibles, the French manifestation of Incredible Edible.
Back at the church, lots more people were arriving for afternoon tea. All the cakes were vegan too, and they tasted even better than they looked.
And what about these for some Incredible tea cosies? Somehow, town centre grower Jenny Coleman manages to find time to knit them.
Over the time I’ve been writing about Todmorden I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. This time it was a magnificent peal of bells that rang out just as we were coming to the end of our tea, part of the celebrations to mark the volunteer-funded restoration of the belfry.
Some of the hardy Incredibles were staying on for the second party but for us it was time for one last photograph and then to set off back to Sheffield through the beautiful Calder valley.
Thank you, Incredible Edible Todmorden, for an unforgettable afternoon.