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Supporting kindness in our communities

By Sara Venn

Kindness Day is an annual event that is held on the 13th November each year both in the UK and worldwide. It supports, celebrates and promotes kindness in all its forms, in schools, communities and in individuals.

For Incredible Edible, kindness is at the core of everything that happens. From planting crops available to all, the core work that all Incredible Edible groups do, to working to share skills in schools, colleges and with communities, to supporting local producers and farms.  At the core of Incredible Edible is the type of kindness that ensures our communities are connected and supporting each other in a joined up and well thought out way.

Often we are asked why this is important. What brings us to the point where we are ensuring our communities are connected through food and supporting the farmers, producers, markets, shops and land that support them? Why do we think sharing the skills of growing and cooking are so important and what fuels, in the nicest possible way, this wave of kindness that focuses on the power of small actions so that everyone can be included?

The world can be a scary place. There are things happening all around us that threaten our world, our finite planet. Climate change, unstable politics, fear of what is to come and feeling that as an individual your voice is unheard are powerful and overwhelming things that often make us feel that we must retreat, unsure of what to do, whilst we watch ever more depressing documentaries and read sensationalist news stories which make us unsure of what is true and what isn’t. We see the phrase fake news attached to things we know are real and it makes us question ourselves and become insular and detached. Our voices feel silenced.

But all around us there are people, in our communities, doing extraordinary things. Incredible Edible groups across the world are changing the faces of their communities by getting up, getting together and forging that change. For some it’s about creating a garden, for others supporting food waste and food injustice. For some it’s about teaching people to grow and cook and for others it’s about ensuring people have that space to grow. For us all it’s about making sure the whole community can get involved, in whatever way suits each individual within that community. Hosting events and work parties, drinking tea and eating.  Being present in a space where people are learning about each other, about land and food growing, sowing or collecting seeds. This is core to what we all are doing and we are all pushed on by the ever-challenging situation around us, knowing that in our own way we are making the change that we need to see.

Of course groups don’t do this alone! Most collaborate with other local organisations, meaning they are also supporting and encouraging sustainable energy and building projects, local community supported agriculture projects, conservation projects and local economies, and ensuring the way we as a society move forwards is with people and planet at our core, whilst connecting communities and ensuring everyone feels their voice is heard and valued.

And why do we do this? Well we believe we can make a future that is kinder. A future where prosperity is seems in terms of happiness, well-being and health as much as fiscal growth. A place where social injustices are put to rest, where everyone’s voice is heard and appreciated and decisions are made based on what is best for our people and our land, rather than profit and loss.

So why not join us? Everyone can join our movement, bring together your own community to make a new Incredible Edible group, or join one close to you? And let’s spread this movement of kindness of ours. After all, if you eat, you’re in, as our founder Pam says!