When Incredible Edible groups start activities in their community, they achieve more than just growing food. As this story from Incredible Edible Penryn in Cornwall shows, where the growing happens can have really positive effects for community resources and can help to build kind, confident and connected communities.
Somewhere around 5 years ago, Pete Shields, who was fairly new to Penryn in Cornwall, began asking around to see if he and a few other like minds could start to use the land around St Gulvias Hall in Penryn to build a garden for the community. Incredible Edible Penryn came up with a myriad of thoughts and ideas around how they could bring the Incredible Edible ethos to Penryn, a tiny community of just less than 7,000 people on the outskirts of Falmouth. From growing containers to plant giveaways, the group is super active, but for Pete the group’s greatest achievement will always be what the edible garden outside St Gulvias Hall has done for the hall and its community.
The management group of St Gulivas Hall were making plans to sell it off. It was underused and the expenses it was incurring in running and maintenance costs far outweighed any income it had. But once Incredible Edible Penryn’s garden began to flourish, so it seems did the hall. People began to come to St Gulvias because of the garden and suddenly people began to find themselves going to the hall for the first time in ages, if not for ever.
Now Incredible Edible Penryn regularly run a community café in the hall and there is another “Pay As You Feel” café run there as well, that uses some of the produce from the garden and surplus food from local businesses that would otherwise end up in landfill. The exposure this has given the hall has seeped into the entire community and now the hall frequently finds itself fully booked as yoga classes, a cheer leading group and a tango dance club to name but a few, become its regular users.
In the true sense of collaboration and partnership working, St Gulvias Hall has played an important role in the supporting the development of Incredible Edible Penryn. They share insurances, and the group relies on community fundraising via donations from events held at the hall, or in exchange for food or plants at the community café. The two form a truly symbiotic relationship, and prove that with effective collaboration, communities can work together for positive change.
To read more about what happened in Incredible Edible Penryn, create your account (if you haven’t already) and head to the Marketplace. We’ve also collated some great hints and tips about where to site your growing activities in our Growing in your street section of our Toolshed, where we keep all our resources to support Incredible Edible activities – sign in or create your account to access these Incredible resources. And if you’ve got a great story to tell from your Incredible Edible group, then please contact us so we can share your story and inspire others.