| Azad Sharma
Case Study: Incredible Edible Lambeth
The start of a new year will lead many of us to think of adopting healthier lifestyles and seeking new opportunities. Healthy living implies not only exercise but healthy eating, access to good quality food, and by extension, a healthy environment. So what happens when healthy eating becomes the basis of change and strength in communities? It goes without saying that food brings people together, so can growing food do the same?
The story of Incredible Edible started back in Todmorden, 2009. A group of volunteers and locals got together to share their hopes and dreams for their town. They concluded that the best solution for disconnected communities was to bring people together by growing food. That small meeting has now created a global movement centred on the effort to re-localise the food system, with 100 member-groups in the UK alone. We wanted to see how this huge project worked at a local level, so we checked out Incredible Edible Lambeth in London.
If you were to imagine Incredible Edible Lambeth as a culinary experience it would have three courses. For starters, people are brought together as a community and encouraged to look at places in their locality which can be transformed into spaces where food could be grown. The main course is seasoned with the seeds of knowledge. Incredible Edible, in terms of their big overarching project, are devoted to recovering the science of food growing and in Lambeth they support food growing projects in local schools as well as partnerships with local food banks. And for dessert, well the cherry on top is that little piquant flavour that ties the dish together, and for Incredible Edible Lambeth that’s bringing in local businesses, supporting the local food economy, and bringing food-growers and shop-keepers into a closer relationship. The best part about this meal? Everyone has a space at the table!
One innovative way Incredible Edible Lambeth are documenting their work and keeping a track of all their projects is through the use of their map of the local area. They update this map regularly and it lists all the food-growing projects and local businesses they work with in one easy to navigate digital map. You can check it out here.
Incredible Edible Lambeth are also great event organisers, hosting regular get-togethers as well as seed swaps where all attendees are guaranteed to leave with a small packet of seeds to encourage them to grow their own food. If you are thinking of getting involved in something new this year, start with Incredible Edible.
Photo by Adli Wahid