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Members of IE Brighouse visiting IE Wakefield Members of IE Brighouse visiting IE Wakefield

Connecting Incredible communities

By Sarah Ward

At Incredible Edible, we believe great things happen when we connect communities; to listen, share, learn, support and to just be a friend.  That’s why we support different Incredible Edible groups to get together.  Here we hear first hand about the benefits of sharing between groups.

Following other Incredible Edible groups on Social Media is a great way to see what other groups are doing but there is nothing like taking a tour round their patch to find out what’s really happening.  “Everyone thinks that everybody else is doing Incredible Edible exactly the same as they are,” said Andy Austerfield from IE Wakefield, “but once you get out there you find that each local group is putting its own unique spin on being Incredible.”

Andy was speaking after visiting Incredible Edible Brighouse and then hosting a return visit from them to Incredible Edible Wakefield, where the group were shown round three of Wakefield’s sites.

Brighouse is a very similar demographic to the first Incredible Edible group in Todmorden – the group having taken over looking after about 20 town centre planters and a number of canal side beds from the Council – whereas Wakefield is much more spread out and is made up of around eight small Incredible Edible Groups, each based at its own edible community garden and with Incredible Edible Wakefield acting as an umbrella organisation for them all.

A group of about eight members from Brighouse made the 20 mile trip to Wakefield and after touring three of their edible community gardens had a lunch of vegetable soup at one of them, made from locally grown Incredible Edible produce.

Asked what they had learnt from the visit Sandra Edwards said, “How Incredible Edible Wakefield works with a number of community centres: looking after their outdoor growing space and in return using their indoor facilities to make drinks and food and use as a meeting place.”

“Wakefield has also been able to divide some of the growing space into plots for people to rent and therefore earn a small income to cover some of their overheads.”

Inspired by their visit to Wakefield, Incredible Edible Brighouse are now thinking about working more closely with other community organisations and also creating a Herb Trail complete with map to link their Town Centre plots and give visitors a reason to visit all of their growing sites.

In return Wakefield were impressed with how closely Incredible Edible Brighouse works with their Council and also how well they utilise volunteer time from a number of large local employers to create and maintain a large number of high profile growing spaces.

Overall there would seem to be a number of very good reasons to think about visiting another Incredible Edible group near you.

An exchange visit can:

  • Bring your group members together and help boost morale
  • Help develop a sense of being part of something bigger
  • Open your group up to new ideas/possibilities

The Incredible Edible groups in Wakefield and Brighouse would definitely recommend exchange visits and plans are afoot for Incredible Edible Brighouse to host a visit from Incredible Edible Aireborough next as their Incredible journey continues!  If you’re not sure of your closest Incredible Edible group, then you can find out here.