It started in a front garden and has taken root all over world

Pam Warhurst, left, and Joanna Dobson at the launch of their new book about the Incredible Edible organisation, which began in Todmorden
Pam Warhurst, left, and Joanna Dobson at the launch of their new book about the Incredible Edible organisation, which began in Todmorden

A new book telling the amazing story of Incredible Edible Todmorden is something to settle down with now the nights are drawing in

Written by Incredible Edible co-founder Pam Warhurst and writer Joanna Dobson, Incredible! charts the rise of the project from a tiny beginning in one Todmorden front garden to a movement that is now rippling out across the world.

It shows how the simple act of planting vegetables in public places for everyone to share brought people together to transform their once-forgotten town.

Through a series of humorous, inspiring and often moving stories, the book describes how Incredible Edible caught the imagination of individuals and groups, from the police force - who have a vegetable plot outside their station - to the local secondary school Todmorden High, which was the first in the country to run a BTEC in Agriculture.

Two food-related social enterprises are creating jobs for the town, and the hundreds of ‘vegetable tourists’ who visit every year bring additional income – and often go on to start projects in their own communities.

From these very local beginnings, there are now more than 70 Incredible Edible groups in the UK, over 400 in France, and others across the world from Tasmania to Togo.

Woven into the narrative of Incredible! are facts and figures about a broken food system and why people need to think hard about how we do food at a time of increasing global insecurity.

It explains how Incredible Edible’s focus on the three strands of community, learning and business can help create communities that are stronger, kinder and greener and able to show resilience in the face of mounting challenges such as climate, change, recession and social fragmentation.

There are also recipes and tips on how to start your own Incredible Edible project. As they like to say in Todmorden: ‘If you eat, you’re in!’

Publication of the book was financed through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, with a total of 344 people pledging money to help the story get into print.

Supporters of the crowdfunding campaign came together with the authors to celebrate at a pre-publication launch in Todmorden in the summer. They were given a guided tour of the diverse growing areas in the town centre, including those at the health centre and outside the police station. Visitors were able to chat to the two authors and many of the people featured in the book. Following a lunch of locally grown produce, the visitors toured the innovative Incredible Farm social enterprise in Walsden.