Sixty people at WinACC's meeting on Sat 5 April 2014 enjoyed an inspirational talk by the force behind Incredible Edible, Mary Clear.  

The Incredible Edible movement believes in the power of small acts of kindness. It started in 2007 by planting food around the town of Todmorden, a northern town that had suffered following the end of manufacturing. 

“It’s much easier to be a protester than to take action yourself”, Mary told the gripped audience. Clearly a human dynamo, Mary and her friends created raised beds and grow vegetables outside the Job Centre, police station, fire station, railway station, care homes and schools. Now, shops have joined in with boxes outside the doors – for example, the butcher grows parley and thyme, and the hairdresser rosemary. “We do propaganda gardening” she said, “to reconnect people to the seasons, and show them that food doesn't grow in plastic bags in the supermarket.” The project aims to provide good local food for everyone through working together, learning, and supporting local business. “Food and cooking are the Trojan horse for spreading kindness”, she added.

Local people share skills that have almost been lost, such as pickling, making jam, bottling and skinning rabbits. Incredible edible has created new jobs thanks to the new growing and learning centre, and as a result of hundreds of visitors to Todmorden though “food tourism”.

Incredible Edible has now grown to a national movement, with active groups all over Europe and across the world.

Mary’s closing message was " Using kindness, we can build a better future Enthusiastic members of the audience pledged to make small acts of kindness themselves, such as collecting surplus fruit to give to other people, looking for green spaces in their village where they could plant fruit trees, and growing vegetables on spare land at work or near their homes, as well as  growing vegetables in their own gardens.

People then enjoyed a free lunch provided by The Balaka Restaurant, specialists in Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine.  The restaurant’s Director Shafi Hussein said: "The Balaka is pleased to help bring people together to learn about the importance of the local option for food."

Sarah Gooding, the convenor of WinACC’s food group, would be delighted if anyone interested in getting Winchester growing could contact her at food@winacc.org.uk or by going to the WinACC website winacc.org.uk.