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Pam’s back of a seed packet guide to spinning the community plate

By Sarah Ward

Why is this important?

Because people matter. We believe that when we act together each of us is stronger for it.  Bringing people together creates powerful connections and we do this through food – growing, harvesting, discussing, eating, sharing.  If you eat, you’re in; food is the leveller that joins us all.  By bringing people together for a shared activity we can help create kind, confident and connected communities which are better for each of us and all of us.

But… what can I do?

Reach out – think about someone in your community who might enjoy some company, some time outdoors and the quiet satisfaction of seeing the freshly weeded bed, then say hello next time you pass them in the street and invite them along.  Many of us are lonely, so use the connection of food to make some new friends in your community.

Display your wares – we grow food in public places so anyone can enjoy it, so be clear about what it is and when to pick it.  Make a traffic signal from piece of wood; red, amber and green horizontal stripes, covering up the ones that don’t apply. Work on your plot at different times of the day and week so different people see what’s going on – and talk to passers-by, offer them some fresh produce or tell them it’ll be ready to pick when they pass next week.

Create opportunities – growing is great, but not everyone who believes in Incredible Edible is a grower, so create opportunities to get involved which make use of different skills, like creating a campaign to support the local food market or making a batch of jam.  Connecting with people, showing kindness and building confidence doesn’t just happen at the plot.

Be social – motivations for getting involved with Incredible activities will differ, but deep down we all want to connect, so provide different opportunities, both at the plot and in different community venues.  By being seen around town, you’ll attract interest and make connections with new people.

Be visible – Start growing outside the GP surgery.  Or what about the train station?  Encourage commuters to give the plants a bit of a watering while they’re waiting on the platform – that’ll give people something interesting to discuss when the train is delayed.

Adapt – consider how everyone can get involved in your activities, no matter who they are.  Having a diverse group of members will help attract diverse people to your plot, so consider how someone different to you, perhaps someone who uses a wheelchair, or who doesn’t have English as their first language, will be welcomed and involved in your group.

Utilise – use your community resources; the venues, facilities and support.  Make connections with other community groups and organisations to see how you can work together.  Join up, share and learn so you can do more together.  Building community connectedness will help if times get tough.

Promote – create some seed bombs or other give aways, stand by your bed and give them away while you chat to people about what you are doing – and what they can do!

Never stop using your gifts. Folks don’t always want them but they can’t stop you giving.

That’s how the community plate spins.