YOU’VE probably spotted them – groups of curious people clustered around the police station beds or poking around the Apothecary garden – a new breed known as vegetable tourists.
Up and down the UK, people have heard about the green-fingered food fanatics in Todmorden and are coming to see how we are doing it for ourselves.
Sometimes we can barely keep up with the number of requests we get for town tours or invitations to speak to groups around the country.
While Pam Warhurst is addressing the Global Greenbelt Conference in Toronto, Mary Clear is taking the Incredible Edible message to urban architects in London or filling the Victoria Theatre in Halifax to talk to 450 members of the Trefoil Guild. Almost daily, the tireless Estelle Brown can be seen leading groups around our town, telling the IET story and inspiring them to have a go themselves.
We’ve had a teacher from Australia, our twin town partners from Germany, students from Calderdale College and the U3A, planners from Rochdale and community groups from Leeds, Nottingham, Cumbria and East Yorkshire.
Nick Green goes to Glossop and a few weeks later, a Glossop grower calls in at the Bear on the offchance and gets a whistle stop town tour. Debbie McCall and Alan McDonald speak at the Wirral’s Envirochamps conference and 30 intrepid growers jump on a bus to see IET for themselves.
Now Hoylake has joined Cloughmills in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight, York and Wilmslow in taking on the exciting challenge.
Usually, they’re here for lunch, using our cafes, shops and the market. This interest in our incredible adventure pays dividends for the town in more ways than one.
What do they all have in common? They’ve been grabbed by our Can Do attitude. They come for ideas and advice. They are inquisitive and full of energy. They go away plotting and planning about how to make it happen at home.
And they do make it happen, inspired by Todmorden.