In 2008, a small group of citizens from the Yorkshire town of Todmorden started an urban gardening project called “The incredible edible Todmorden”. The project initially began with the production of herbs, but later diversified into the growing of vegetables, trees and the development of orchards. As part of the project, the involvement of local institution has been promoted including: fire stations, schools, housing associations and the local railway station.
Alongside their own local project, the group is also an active campaigner for the promotion of local food production and consumption; becoming a model for similar approaches globally. Whilst, the movement started as an urban gardening led project, the group now plans to develop donated greenfield land in the hilly area surrounding the town, as a location for growing and learning about food and farming.
Why is this Example Inspirational?
The project provides an example of a local community led initiative which successfully developed and implemented a scheme of urban and local farming/food production. Since its inception the project has grown, and branched into alternative schemes, including developing areas of hilly and difficult to commercial farm land and around their town.
Project Successes and Failures: do's & don'ts
The success of the project stems not only from its role of putting local food production on the agenda in Todmorden, but its its influence as an example for other initiatives both nationally and internationally. Issues with the transference of the project's structure centre on its requirement for a strong local community, with established and reliable levels of social networks and social capital. Hence, it may not be feasible for more anonymous locations. Furthermore, the relationship of the project between commercial enterprises and formal land use planning remains unclear.