Incredible Edible began nine years ago through the imagination and passion of a small group of friends in Todmorden. The early days of these story tellers and activists were peppered with phrases like ‘if you eat you’re in’ and ‘redefining prosperity’. People took notice of the simple model, the message of the Three Plates and the enthusiastic do-ability of the model.
Today over 100 groups in the UK and many more around the world call themselves Incredible Edible and organically we have grown to become a network.
Proud of our volunteer led, grass root federation, a network was established to inspire, enable, build up, connect and amplify the work of these groups throughout the UK.
In the next two years we want to invest in this network to learn lessons and to share that learning with existing groups and new groups who want to join the journey. We have called this project Roots and Branches. In Wakefield, Salford, Bristol, Conwy, Dunstable and Middlesbrough, groups have committed to becoming Beacons to learn and share with us. In each place there will be a person whose role it is to gather our learning and support new groups. We will also build a new central hub on our network website for people to share the joy and the tools of their journey.
This has been made possible by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It has supported the project with more than £400,000 of National Lottery funding.
Pam Warhurst, co-founder, said: “I am thrilled at this development. We ‘learn’ as we ‘do’ – that has always been our philosophy. Never before has the need to understand local food and build confident communities been so pressing. I am delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has seen our model and chosen to support us in this work of sharing and growing”.
Sara Venn, from the Bristol Incredible Edible Beacon, added: “From the very first moment I heard the Incredible story I was hooked. We have built a great group of friends in Bristol committed to the same vision. To be rooted locally and connected national with the other Beacons, gives us a great chance to support many others to grow as we have. To grow people as well as plants”.
Derek Bardowell, Senior Head of UK Funding, said: “Food is a great way to bring people together, whether you’re growing, cooking or eating food, it’s something we can all enjoy. By transforming disused urban spaces into gardens where people can work together to grow fresh, healthy food, Incredible Edible is helping build stronger communities. It will be great to see National Lottery funding expand their work across the UK, giving more people the chance to get outdoors and make a difference in their local area”.
The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, the funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people