A green campaigner using food growing to bring communities together has reflected on a decade of big ideas growing from small seeds.
Pamela Warhurst, who was brought up in Leigh, founded Incredible Edible nine years ago in her adopted hometown of Todmorden.
I just had a thought that if I wanted to invest in the next generation and look at the huge issues in climate change and health I had better do something about it myself.Pamela Warhurst
The simple idea was to turn open spaces and patches of unused land into areas for growing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs which would be available for anyone to pick or harvest without having to pay.
Since the first community areas, dubbed “propaganda gardens” by Pam and her team, were planted the concept has blossomed and there are now around 125 Incredible Edible projects across the country.
Schools, police stations, hospitals, residents’ gardens and public parks have all been transformed into growing areas and the movement is now branching out into supporting local producers more generally.
Formerly a council leader with extensive experience in health and the environment, Pam said creating Incredible Edible was a spur-of-the-moment decision on the train back from a conference in London.
She said: “I just had a thought that if I wanted to invest in the next generation and look at the huge issues in climate change and health I had better do something about it myself.
“There was nothing complicated, it was just recognising the need to live differently and wanting to stop talking and start doing. I got on the train in London and by the time I got to Manchester Piccadilly I had made up the whole thing.
“I just thought about three different bits of life. It was bringing communities together and joining the dots, using food to improve the places where you live and supporting local businesses.
“It’s planting food everywhere in the place you call home and it’s about creating local jobs and apprenticeships and keeping money in the local market and economy.”
She is full of ideas for how Leigh and Wigan can be transformed by what she has set up and said a chance meeting when the organisation was still in its early stages helped pave the way for the exciting new development.
For more information about the project, visit incredibleediblenetwork.org.uk and search for Wigan or www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk
More information can also be found by searching Google for Incredible Edible.