The Town that Decided to Feed Itself

Imagine living in a place where a sign invites you to pick vegetables from your neighbour ‘s yard, raspberries, and apples beckon along a canal, children sample fennel from a plot on their way to school, carrots and potatoes can be dug at the local police station, beans and peas are free for picking in front of a local college, and cherries hang from trees at the supermarket parking lot. Fanciful or real? In fact, it’s the result of a local project started three years ago to promote food self-sufficiency in Todmorden, England with a population of 15,000. Called Incredible Edible, it was started by women who wanted to make their town self-sufficient in food by 2018. “Our thinking was: there’s so much blame in the world — blame local government, blame politicians, blame bankers, blame technology — we thought, let’s just do something positive instead.”

“Thousands of vegetables in 70 large beds around the town — are there for the taking. Locals are encouraged to help themselves. A few tomatoes here, a handful of broccoli there. If they’re in season, they’re yours. Free.”

The initial project has had other far-reaching effects:

  • Incredible Edible offers lessons in pickling and preserving fruits, courses on bread-making, and the local college will offer a course in horticulture.
  • There is a daily market
  • A local café sources all ingredients from local farms
  • The local school was recently awarded a £500,000 Lottery grant to set up a fish farm

Similar projects are being piloted in 21 other towns in the UK, and there’s been interest shown from as far afield as Spain, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada. Visit Our Innisfil on Facebook for a ink to the full article, Carrots in the Carpark, Radishes on the Roundabout, Mail Online.

Reminder: The film, Hijacked Future, is being featured at Innisfil Public Library, Lakeshore Branch on Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m., sponsored by Innisfil in Transition. See Lights, Action, Transition