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Three raised beds and picnic bench in a fenced off area close to houses Three raised beds and picnic bench in a fenced off area close to houses

A personal mission to connect communities

By Sarah Ward

Connecting communities is key to Incredible Edible groups and for David, part of Incredible Edible Prestwich and District, changing a small piece of land from a dumping ground into a place to grow food has been a way for him to connect with his neighbours and wider community.

David was chatting to a neighbour who mentioned Incredible Edible and that was the start of his Incredible journey.  There was a piece of land at the back of where David lived which was a great resource for the local rats, but less so for the local community – exactly the sort of space which many Incredible Edible groups grow on.  For David, having recently left prison, tidying the space up, building planters and getting plants in the ground was his way of connecting with the people around him and giving something back.  When it was time to harvest the crops, David took them round to his neighbours to encourage them to get involved or to just enjoy the fresh and very local produce – he also takes produce along to the local nursing home.  Coming from a large family, in a tight knit community, David was keen to find that community spirit in his new home and now feels a sense of pride in what he’s achieved – especially seeing kids playing together who were neighbours but didn’t know each other until they got involved in the growing site.

The bit that David enjoys the most is the landscaping, so a new project to start Incredible Edible Radcliffe has given new challenges to David and the team as they take on a large area of land which will become a market garden.  For David’s landscaping talents, this gives an opportunity to develop new ideas, for example recycling truck tyres to make ponds and to join the team of people who in a couple of weeks cleared the overgrown plot so that it can become productive land again.  Over the coming months, the land will be to turned into a community growing space, accessible to schools and the local community, with a link to Radcliffe Market, so produce grown there will be sent across to the market to be used by any food outlets and also to be sold on to the public.

If you’d like to get involved in Incredible Edible Prestwich and District, or the new Incredible Edible Radcliffe group, then get in touch with [email protected].  And if David’s story has inspired you to get involved with your local Incredible Edible group, then search our map here and get in touch.  And if you’d like to start a group in your local neighbourhood, then sign up to the website to access our Getting going resources, or check out our 10 Steps to being Incredible guide.