Early June and I’m at Leeds Beckett university talking about rethinking our green places and making them edible. At their Headingley campus they have sooo many great green spaces, website says 100 acres of parkland, some of which are crying out for food. Had such a good reception from the folks as many are in the physical activity sector and can see the connection with students, spaces and food. Got talking about joining dots with sustainability institute, with their estates policy, with scouting group connections and all the stuff we know makes sense to demonstrate a bit of thinking outside the box about how things are done. More to come on that one.
Then over to Moss Side with the wonderful Lauren and Raymond of the ICU Garden project, a bunch of inspired Mancunians wanting to bring their passion and gifts to the community through the replanting of food at and around a church in the Moss Side area.
As ever volunteers but this time helped by supportive housing associations, Moss care and St Vincent’s. As I write I’m on the way to plot the plot and set up the plan for a big lunch once we’ve kicked off a new way of using so much good land around our churches.
Landscape Institute are such good people. Went to their conference in Manchester and talked edible landscapes with some great young architects who so love our work. Also had the chance to talk to some place making academics and practitioners to explore how together we can raise the profile of seeing edible landscapes in our towns and cities as normal, not just good practice. All the time, in any conversation, it’s all about how what we are learning from what we do at grassroots can help us challenge systems that just aren’t working for the benefit of people and the planet any more.
Then Saturday, it must be Cork, well West Cork actually. The nicest people you could ever imagine, and so Incredible Edible. St Patrick’s Boys primary ,a YouTube link is below, are just inspirational. Miriam and Bev of Edible West Cork are brave and kind and already planting food out there in the community, and the cafes grow and sell local food. Jobs a good un as they say.
Finally for June I travelled to Guernsey for their Journey to 100 conference. The big question? What can we learn from the past and from people across the globe that could help us build a world where health, wealth and happiness is invested in in such a way that the idea of living a great life for a long time does not depend on where you live and what your income. First off the inventor of the Blue Zone concept, Michel Poulain, who has identified the elements in a number of communities across the world where many people live to 100 . Funnily enough, good simple food, activity, a great community around you, and happiness all played major parts. Sound familiar? Community was such a big issue at the conference and together with our story which everyone so loved, the work of Rupy Aujla a doctor who is dedicated to teaching people how to cook great food stands out as a great partner in this brave new world. And next the NHS………