Imagine helping yourself to a juicy cob of sweetcorn from the yard outside a police station. You might feel secretly pleased that nobody has come out to arrest you. You might be surprised to see the corn there in the first place. You’d get even more of a shock if you knew a police officer was watching you on CCTV with a huge grin on her face.
What seems surprising in most places is normal in the west Yorkshire town of Todmorden. Come here any day in the growing season and you will see fruit and vegetables in some most unusual places. There are tomatoes along the canal towpath, strawberries outside the college and herbs on the station platform. What’s more, you are welcome to take as much of it as you like. You can pick your five a day from the fruit trees in front of the health centre or help yourself to a cauliflower from the raised beds at the olde people’s home. You can snip a salad by the fire station or cut broccoli at the bus stop.
We call it a propaganda planting. This simple but radical act of growing food in public places for everyone to share has been a starting point for transforming every area of our town’s life.
The above is the opening of Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution – a book by Joanna Dobson and Incredible Edible founder Pam Warhurst ( the book is available from Urban Pollinators). Pam will be sharing the story of Incredible Edible at the Do Fest Summit on Wednesday 15 March. Don’t miss out, register for your free ticket now!