Incredible edible

Incredible Edible is now a phrase that you could find labeling projects around the world, but the first one was in a small town called Todmorden…

Incredible Edible grow food around the town in public places for anyone to take and eat. Usually the group doesn’t ask permission but simply finds an area that is derelict, or unloved and plants it up. Gardening without permission is known as Guerrilla Gardening. Incredible Edible Todmorden has really put the town on the map, leading to thousands of visitors a year from around the world for ‘vegetable tourism’. The group asks for donations for tours and to give you an idea of the scale of their success, last year, after they had taken all the money they needed for the project and to expand, they had £10,000 left over which they donated to other community projects. Every single one of them is a volunteer and has signed an agreement that they will receive no personal benefit from the project.

Space to create

During my time in Sheffield I saw a lot of new spaces which have been created in just the last couple of years year. The empty buildings are where there is space to create. It’s where the start up businesses try out, where the broke bands practice, where people can do things differently. As well as going it alone and finding a building there are several projects in Sheffield to share space and facilitate others to create.

Regather trading co-operative offers rooms and a kitchen to small groups and businesses to help strengthen a local economy. They run a vege box scheme and support the Sheffield Organic Growers. I met Johnny in the kitchen working on his delicious Savvy Spreads.

In the centre of town it seems it would be difficult to find space to operate but Union St is to be a co-working space for work and collaboration without high entry costs.

Hagglers Corner provides small spaces for different businesses, from picture framing to yoga, sewing to journalism.

Meanwhile, the show must go on

Meanwhile leases can enable fantastic projects to get off the ground in unused spaces. Normally a business or group has tenancy rights which enable them to keep renting a space, but when a landlord wants to develop a property they may be wary of allowing someone to occupy it who might then be difficult to remove. A meanwhile lease grants the tenant use of the space in the meantime before it is developed.

 

Tour de Buzz meets Tour de France

By shear luck, I was passing a point in the Tour de France route before crossing the peaks to Manchester. Thankfully I was prepared for it, having watched Amelie, who compares it to her love life: “You wait for hours and it’s all over in seconds”!

The corporate sponsorship and commercialism didn’t sit well with me, but the Tour de France was originally a way for people to see the world beyond their town. My favourite part was the reclaiming of the streets from cars. Many of the normally busy roads were closed and children and adults were chalking messages on them. Cyclists were cycling the route and I was able to skip (a version of with my big pack) down the empty streets imagining a world without cars.

Ay up! Th’as like a pack o’ wippets!