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Demonstrating the three plates in synergy: the creation of Incredible Edible Oldhill

By Sarah Ward

This story from Incredible Edible Dunstable illustrates so many things which are part of being Incredible…

We start when Sahira from Incredible Edible Dunstable went along to give a talk about all things Incredible at Dunstable Gardening Club. And while enjoying a cuppa after the talk, Val, one of the club members, approached Sahira to let her know about a raised bed which wasn’t been used in a local shopping centre.  Val knew Nick who knew Justin (the landlord for the property) who knew Sharna who works with Autism Bedfordshire whose shop is next to the raised bed.  And through these community networks an incredible new group started to grow!

Sahira knows about growing but hadn’t run a course before or worked with people with autism, but that didn’t stop her.  Shahira worked with staff from Autism Bedfordshire to develop a five week course which local people with autism attended.  The course included visiting the original Incredible Edible Dunstable site, planning out what to plant in the raised bed, clearing out the site and getting it ready for planting, getting the plants in and finally having an amazing launch supported by the Deputy Mayor.

The group who attended the course all really enjoyed the opportunity to get involved in something outside and which contributed to improving the appearance of their local community.  They also enjoyed learning about plants (and weeds!) and are looking forward to eating and sharing the food as the crops come into season.  Jason, who attended the course, works in the nearby Autism Bedfordshire shop and as part of his job he’ll be out watering the plants in the bed every Saturday.  Meantime another eager volunteer, Carley, will be encouraging the local community to get involved and to make Incredible Edible Oldhill a great new group.

The local Glider pub, has supported the activity by giving the upstairs room to the group for free so they could meet and plan – the incredible landlord, Rupert, even provided free tea and coffee.  Sahira was keen to support local business too so she chose the local independent nursery, Eaton Bray Nurseries, to buy the plants from and the nursery returned the favour by delivering the plants for free.  And Milehams Discount Car Care, a keen supporter of Incredible Edible Dunstable, provided the sign for the new bed, made from a car registration plate.

This story shows how incredible things happen – the power of community networks, the support of business and partners and the interest in learning about where our food comes from.  We would like to give a big thanks to the businesses who have supported this work, to Autism Bedfordshire for their enthusiasm and of course to the group of people who have made the raised bed into something the local community can value and enjoy.

If you’re in Dunstable, head along to the Incredible Edible Oldhill site and see the beautiful raised bed outside the Autism Anglia shop at Lowther Road, Dunstable.