Todmorden is the West Yorkshire town that is challenging existing perceptions of what people can physically create in the public realm, particularly those ‘leftover’, underutilised, poorly managed and boring spaces to be found in all our settlements. This has seen the transformation of Todmorden’s public spaces into herb gardens, vegetable patches and orchards for use by the whole community. It is a place transforming itself on the back of a simple yet very powerful idea - an idea whose time seems to have come and one that is championed and put into practice by the enthusiasm of its pioneering residents. These are people who are not afraid to do things differently and to use the previously neglected resources available in their town in innovative and imaginative ways in order to challenge and change how we perceive, use and interact with urban space, whilst also providing food that is free for all. This is why Todmorden is widely recognised as a contemporary model for other places to be inspired by, to learn from and, with the happy consent and support of its Incredible Edible community, to copy and follow.
This presentation by Dr Lindsay Smales describes why and how IET was established and what it has achieved. It focuses on the transferable lessons to be learnt by other towns, neighbourhoods, cities and communities and reflects on the experience of delivering a groundbreaking initiative with very little money, no offices and few resources, other than the commitment of a wide range of local people in helping to change their locality, their places and spaces, and ultimately the world, one corner at a time.