Trip to ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’ – Inspiration !

Seven intrepid Hexham Transitioners eventually went on a minibus to Todmorden last week and came back inspired by their adventure. Here are just a few comments  – Photos to follow

Incredible Edible, a small group of people deciding that they could make a difference to “change the world with kindness.” The abiding message that I was left with was kindness. Estelle was our gentle tour guide, passionate, funny, humble…she must have conducted tours on numerous occasions, but her enthusiasm was palpable. Having her tell her story convinced me of the potential of a few dedicated and committed people can make to bring about change on such a dramatic scale. Transformation: – the place & it’s people – through tangible inclusive action.

Very simple really just three things – community, business and education – and they started with food because everyone eats! Not an exclusive thing: ‘If you Eat, you’re In’.

Stories have the power to ignite the soul…If you are sitting comfortably I will begin. Remember all the produce is free, yes free, a bit of counter culture going on there. One Sunday morning  a working party was making its way to a site where two youngsters were helping themselves to fruit, filling a bag, lots of fruit, caught in the act you might say.

‘We’ve been doing this for you, you can have it’, the working party explained.

 The boys took some convincing that if they wanted the fruit that was fine so long as it was for eating. So utterly overwhelmed were they by the suggestion that they could actually keep the fruit that they remained and helped weed. Little actions can bring about behavioural changes, simple powerful stuff.

Todmorden isn’t a rich place – it’s normal, even poor – but what they have going on there is pure gold. I’m a convert. I left with more hope than when I arrived…I have a sense of longing to continue to develop and build on what we already have going on here in Hexham.  Richard

Our eyes were opened! And on our return to Hexham, we found ourselves looking at dismal pieces of Council planting and filling them in our imaginations with Todmorden – style herbs, leaves, and fruit trees, all full of colour and interest. And it gets better because not only can the residents of incredible, edible Todmorden look at them but they are encouraged to pick them, eat them, and put them in their salads and stews.

Estelle, the dynamic inspiration behind the idea, gave us a wonderful tour of the town, with every raised bed or planting yielding its own story through her rapid telling of how it came into being and how it continues to flourish.

Earning social capital was a new concept to some of us, but it is certainly happening in Tod. Rosemary

A great inspirational day out  !  Todmorden certainly has made an impact on the UK environmental movement and shown what is possible. .

What struck me most was not the planting but the enthusiasm of the organisers and the tremendous amount of organisation and fundraising involved – all by volunteers. From small beginnings in just 5 years they have had a very valuable number of spinoffs involving schools,  local business, police etc. There has also been an unexpected spin off of ‘green tourists’ – some of whom were us ! check out the incredible edible film at

All plantings are well signed with large signs explaining that the food is free,
planted especially for bees etc. Essential for spreading the word .

Hexham has made a good start in local food production with its community gardens, farmers market, apple days, food festival etc. The success of Incredible edible Todmorden is due, I think, to its volunteers and its publicity machine. We need to do more public planting and in particular more publicity about our work – only that way can we really get the message about local food across to everyone in Hexham.   Sue

Interested in hearing more ?  Come along to the next Transition general meeting , July 3rd, 7.30pm in the Forum café.



2 thoughts on “Trip to ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’ – Inspiration !

  1. Fantastic to read how inspiring the trip was. Well done to Richard & Sue for organising and to all those who made the day out. Maybe we can use our relationships with Northumberland County Council to get permission to plant up one or many of those “dismal pieces of Council planting” you mention? Definitely worth reaching out to Hexham Civic Society, Hexham Community Partnership & other local organisations to see if this can be a truly collaborative community effort. Wonder what the Hexham Town Plan has in store in this regard.

  2. Ann Barmby. The Rotary Club of Barnard Castle are sponsoring Veg Out in Barney after being inspired by IET. We started in April and we are still in our infancy but going great guns! We have a lot of contact and inspiration from IET. If you want to contact us my number is 07861323232.

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