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Connected Communities at RHS Tatton

By Sara Venn

Since the beginning of the Roots and Branches project the focus for all our Incredible work has been to ensure we have connected communities.

Often when individuals contact us about beginning their own group in their area, they ask what the first step is, and undoubtedly our response is always to talk to friends, neighbours and local people to connect their community before anything else happens, so that when ground is broken, the whole community is on board. Connected communities are both the beginning and main part of everything Incredible Edible and, in our view, the answer to solving many of the problems we see about us. To paraphrase, it’s absolutely true that we have far more that connects us than divides us, and communities making decisions and finding solutions to issues, local, national or international, are resilient and supportive.

In the North West region there are 28 Incredible Edible groups and 32 groups that are representative of the Incredible Edible ethos, so it was exciting to see them all come together as a team of connected communities to create one huge community, connected through an exciting garden planned for RHS Tatton. Supported by our northwest regional facilitator Ian at Incredible Education, 6 groups, Prestwich and District, Runcorn, Mossley, Ambers Wood and Salford have co-designed with Joan Mulvena, a garden designer who works with IE Prestwich, a garden that represents Incredible Edible groups across the North West and further afield.

The garden shows four different types of typical Incredible Edible space; woodland, a traditional allotment-type growing space with raised planters, a herb area inspired by the first ever Incredible Edible garden in Todmorden and a cottage garden area. All are included and there to show the diversity that exists across our Incredible network. The plants for the garden were all grown by volunteers from across the North West, which in itself is a hugely brave undertaking but one that has paid off, as the garden is beautiful and original, as well as brave in its design. It’s also wonderful to see our sprout made from willow by volunteers Alfred and Sue in Salford, standing proud at the front of the garden.

RHS Tatton runs from Thursday 18thJuly through to Sunday 21st. If you are attending do pop along, see the garden and have a chat with the volunteers, who will all be there to guide you through the design and talk all things Incredible!