Welsh information
People sitting around a table sharing tea, biscuits and Incredible stories People sitting around a table sharing tea, biscuits and Incredible stories

How Incredible Edible is growing leaders

By Sarah Ward


For ten years now Incredible Edible has seen every day the growth of kind, confident, connected communities through the power of food.

This doesn’t happen by accident, it happens because people make an active decision that they want to build better communities to live in and live more sustainably in the present so there is a kinder future for the next generation to inherit.

In the last year we have gathered together a team of Regional Facilitators, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, who get out and about to support existing groups and help new groups get going and get growing.

As we travel around the UK we are privileged to meet lots of groups doing amazing things. We listen to the stories of what works and what good looks like and we have also had some nice academics and researchers look at the things that make our groups thrive. Time and again they come up with the same answers:

  • Passionate & skilled leadership
  • Infectious enthusiasm
  • Dedication
  • Inclusive attitude
  • Improvisation

Amazing and inspiring groups of people happen not by chance, but because people have the will to make that happen; change happens because people dream of a better future and have the courage to stand up and make that happen. That is called leadership.

And we also know that sometimes it can be hard and sometimes we need people around us to help us on that journey.

That is why this year we are launching our Growing Leaders programme. We don’t believe that leaders are people who stand up on stages and give presentations, but people who have got that passion and skill to make things happen, and the infectious enthusiasm to bring other people with them. We are all different and we all have our own style – we want to celebrate and share that.

The Growing Leaders programme is a series of group meetings, led by a facilitator where we travel a journey together.

On that journey we focus on a number of things:

Focus on Incredible Edible – what does Incredible Edible mean and how can we use the Three Plates to make a difference in our own communities.

Focus on me – how do I understand and know myself, so that I can find the best style of leadership for me.

Focus on leadership – what are the different styles of leadership and how can we learn from different examples, how to be the best version of ourselves.

Focus on the team – how do we create teams that trust and support each other so we can move towards a shared common goal.

Focus on community – what are the different theories of how communities work together and how we can make those places we call home work for everyone.

And in each section, we do three things together:

Time to learn – this will be informal, something like watching a video of Pam and others in conversation and then discussing and drawing the learning out of that, collecting our thoughts in our Leadership Journal.

Time to connect – just being together is good and we will celebrate this by eating together and sharing our own stories.

Time to share – this is meeting in different locations (perhaps the ‘home patch’ of each person) and having a meal so that there is some down time together.

In October, we had one of our Connecting Communities events in the North West. Over 50 people came along representing 22 different groups across the area. It was an inspiring day and we took the opportunity to announce the first pilot of our Growing Leaders programme. It is a pilot because it is as much about learning and listening as it is about doing.

People were invited to get involved. Not because they wanted to be something extra special but because leadership is for everyone. People like…

  • Those running groups and the wider team
  • Those wanting to start new things and learn together
  • Those who don’t think it is for them, but other people do!

We began with our first group of Incredible Edible Community Leaders at the start of the month.

We began with Focus on Incredible Edible. Exploring together what the vision, mission and values of Incredible Edible mean for us and how they inspire our actions – particularly focusing on what the Three Plates means.

Once we have learned a few lessons from this pilot we will be sharing the programme across the different regions so that together we can support each other to be change-makers, creating kinder, more confident and more connected communities in the places where we live… and hopefully having lots of fun along the way.

If you’re interested in getting involved in a future Incredible Edible Growing Leaders programme, then get in touch.