If you’ve wandered past the junction between Middle Street and The City recently, a not-so-subtle difference may have caught your eye.
What was once just a patch of grass with a few trees – nothing more than a spot for dog walkers to cut across on an evening walk to the park – is now a busy and colourful plot brimming with possibility.
Potatoes nestle beneath the rich soil, just brave enough to begin peeking out their foliage, while rhubarb lines a rustic woodchip path, elegantly inviting curious onlookers to explore. Raspberry canes hug the back wall, modest as yet, but promising sweet summer treats to the eager hands of the toddlers at the nearby nursery. The spiky silver fronds of globe artichoke stand proud and unapologetic.
This is the work of the newly formed Incredible Edible Beeston – a group of Beestonians who, inspired by the Incredible Edible movement started in Todmorden over a decade ago, were united by the simple dream of bringing good, fresh food to their town.
Of cutting food miles to food metres.
Of building a vibrant, community space which includes everybody.
Of taking positive action in the face of an increasingly gloomy outlook for our environment.
A lot of planning and some encouraging conversations with the local council later, and Incredible Edible Beeston’s first plot was secured. A few hopeful social media posts went out requesting volunteers and donations of surplus rhubarb crowns and herb cuttings, but the group weren’t expecting anything like the response they got!
More than 20 local people showed up, including families with children, and threw themselves into digging beds and planting currant bushes with truly incredible enthusiasm. Less guerrilla gardening and more a gentle Sunday down the allotment, the plot’s first session was full of laughter, community spirit and plenty of cups of tea – poured from flasks and drunk whilst leaning on spades between all the hard work, of course.
Incredible Edible Beeston are quick to point out that The City doesn’t belong to us as a group. It belongs to every child who crouches to find hidden strawberries, every retired couple who pull a few weeds as they stroll past, every professional who digs a new bed on their way home from the 9 to 5, and yes, every dog walker who passes on their way to the park.
This plot, and the many more we hope to create in all the unused, unloved patches of land around our town, belongs to you, Beeston.
If you eat, you’re in.
Incredible Edible Beeston are planning plenty more sessions and would love volunteers for Sunday 8th April when we’ll be planting potatoes, and Sundays 19th April and 17th May for general gardening duties. No experience is needed! Any donations of edible plants would be gratefully received.
If you’d like to know more or want to get involved with Incredible Edible Beeston, you can find us on Facebook and Instagram, @incredibleediblebeeston or email: firstname.lastname@example.org