Wednesday 2 October 2013

The Incredible Edible Todmorden

The Incredible Edible Todmorden
September 2013

There is a chapter in one of Alys Fowler's foraging books which takes a look at the Incredible Edible Todmorden initiative (IET) and when she read it Helen asked "do we ever go through Todmorden on the canal - I would love to see it".

And so the seeds of this years big trip were sown. Why not take a trip north which includes the Rochdale Canal and have a day in Todmorden. So, if asked, I guess my answer to where did you go on holiday this year would be Todmorden - at least it sounds a bit better than Rochdale!

We had arrived in the basin last night and were immediately confronted with IET signs and plantings beside the canal, including a plum tree with a solitary fruit among its branches. So whats this IET thing all about? Well, its an initiative dreamed up by some civic minded locals in about 2007 who wanted to start an environment improving movement which would benefit the whole community. The result was the introduction of guerrilla gardening into the horticultural lexicon.

IET planting plots

Put simply the locals find bits of unused land and start to cultivate them with edible crops - fruit, vegetables and herbs. No official sanction or organisation - they just go forth and sow!

Todmorden's impressive town hall

The evidence of their efforts can bee seen all over the town; fruit by the canal, medicinal herbs by the doctor's surgery and vegetables in front of the police station. In facts there are pockets everywhere and there are maps to show you where to look. What a great idea!

Our arrival at the start of September was a bit late for most crops but it is clear that locals plant, cultivate and harvest the produce. From a foragers perspective it was very thin pickings as so many people had been their first, but what an inspiration!

A little something for Montgomery

We spent the morning wandering round the town, also playing a visit to the old Co Op which is now an excellent eco deli with a lovely cafe upstairs. We also persuaded the owner of the antique shop to open up and sell us a very cute antique Buckby Can, which make a very fitting memento of our trip.

1 comment:

Frank Clarijs said...

In the list of canals (right hand column of the blog) you mention a unique canal "Jam Butty". I wonder where that could be? :)

I enjoyed the travel story, thanks!!