Who are Incredible Edible Leeds?
- We are part of the Incredible Edible global network which started off in Todmorden around 15 years ago.
- We’re volunteers who live in sixteen areas of Leeds and want to show people how easy it can be to grow your own food.
How did this start?
- We wanted to do something with an untidy patch of grass outside our house.
- We’ve always been interested in growing our own food and wanted to share with our neighbours.
- Although we started in Garforth, very soon other areas of Leeds got in touch and wanted to start their own Incredible Edible projects. It was a no brainer for us to start Incredible Edible Leeds to support each community to get growing.
What is it about?
- Basically, we plant fruit and veg in unloved spaces around Leeds, for people to take for free!
- What we like most about it, is the message. Incredible Edible aims to create kind, confident and connected communities. That’s it. Essentially it does this through food. We all eat food, so everyone has something in common.
- We aim to encourage learning – showing people (even our own children) where food comes from and that growing it can be fun.
- We also want to bring the community together. There’s a great opportunity for intergenerational activities – linking experienced growers from an older generation, with a curious younger generation who are keen to learn.
- Finally, we want to encourage local businesses to thrive. If some of our edible beds are outside local businesses then there’s half a chance that people will stop through curiosity, it will create discussion and encourage footfall.
What have we done so far?
- We’ve been learning how to grow things! When we started out, we had no idea what we were doing. We’ve been reading books, magazines, websites and talking to experienced people such as allotment holders In Bloom groups – there’s so much knowledge there!
- Despite a slow start in 2020 (remember Covid?!), we’ve managed to establish over thirty edible beds across Leeds and during the first Coronavirus lockdown we distributed over 75 starter packs with seeds and compost to those who were stuck at home.
- Over the past 18 months, we’ve been able to bring people together face-to-face, meet them, catch up with them and gather more interest.
- We’ve had some community planting days and given away lots of free seeds and seedlings!
- In Bloom groups and allotments have been fantastic and pointed us in the right direction as well as some existing food-based networks in the Leeds area such as Feed Leeds.
- Leeds City Council, Northern, Lumby Garden Centre, Refill & Go and Fast Signs have all helped us along our way and we’ve also had other local businesses express an interest in helping us expand our reach.
What’s coming up?
- We have a huge pipeline of more public edible beds in existing and other communities of Leeds where we are not yet growing. These will be labelled up with what’s growing, what you can do with it and when it’s ready to pick.
- We’ve also got other non-growing related activities planned along the themes of ‘kindness’ and ‘community’.