AN INCREDIBLE STORY
THE INCREDIBLE NETWORK
IE’s concept model is of three spinning plates metaphorically representing community, business and learning. We live in communities that are often disconnected. If communities connect together and believe in their potential, people start to do good, kind and loving things in the world around them. Incredible Edible believes this starts by agitating the three plates: Community Community is at the very heart of Incredible Edible’s work. Working with whoever is willing, we create powerful connections through food, which lead people to believe that when we act together each of us is stronger for it. Learning Incredible Edible believes reviving our hands-on knowledge of food is essential for all our futures. Schools are natural places to start, with food playing an increasingly important part in the curriculum. Incredible Edible works with schools and their gardening clubs to pass on skills and get them growing. But of course learning doesn’t end at the school gates, and groups across the country provide training through adult gardening clubs, training courses and workshops such as chutney making, pickling and frugal cooking. Business In the UK we are a nation of shop keepers. Proud, industrious people, making a living, giving back to the community and making the local high street vibrant. Incredible Edible believes in local business and its positive impact in our communities. The business plate is nothing at all to do with sponsorship or asking others for help. It’s everything about what we as individuals can do to support a local food economy. Getting pounds into the pockets of small local food businesses so that over time they might be able to produce more and employ more people. It’s dead simple. If it’s possible, the more people that shop for local food, the stronger our local food economy is and the stronger our communities are. We support local and buy local. So where does Incredible Edible Marshland fit in? Progressively more and more groups have taken up the IE model, sharing the same vision for their communities, inspiring each other through growing together and demonstrating kindness in their locality. In 2012 the incredible Network was formed and started engaging, inspiring, building up, connecting and amplifying the work of groups across the UK. By 2016 over 100 groups in the UK and over 600 globally had joined the network.
INCREDIBLE EDIBLE MARSHLAND
Here in the Marshland enough people were keen to start a gardening group. It was World Naked Gardening Day in May 2019 but the cold wind in Ousefleet precluded us from joining in. Instead with the agreement of Ousefleet Hall’s management committee we set about tidying up a bedraggled looking and unloved area outside the village hall, the aim, to turn it into a community growing space.. We received a startup donation of £300 from the Incredible Edible Network and also £800 from the Year of Green Action Fund to buy soil, seeds, compost, plants, tools and equipment. We were up and running! The hall’s management committee were so inspired by this and liked it so much that they took the plot over themselves with a view to creating a dementia friendly garden though this was never completed and needed to be redeployed. At our first meeting it was decided we’d love the Marshland villages to work together. We love a challenge! As a small team of committed volunteers we have an active representation in each of the Marshland villages together with a small steering group comprising an appointed chairperson, treasurer, secretary and coordinator. Once up and running we started to think big! We applied for funding from the National lottery Community fund, the Two Ridings Community Foundation and Goole Fields Innogy Wind Farm Community Fund. If successful we could then help our most vulnerable residents as well as local small businesses who, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, were already finding things difficult. Within a few weeks we went from managing a few hundred pounds to having some £15,000 hit our bank account. We were really glad of our treasurer now! During the pandemic we teamed up with The Half Moon Inn in Reedness in supporting our most vulnerable residents who were either elderly or self- isolating supplying each with one hot meal a week cooked and delivered by Andy and Sharon and their brilliant team. Having estimated delivering 50 meals a week, in practice the number was much higher and consequently the funding didn’t last as long as we had hoped. We are really proud to have worked together with local business, helping to keep it afloat through hard times whilst delivering in excess of 1,000 meals. The Half Moon Inn is one of very few pubs locally and we think it is really important as a hub for social interaction, employment, for the support of other events and groups and not least of all a decent beer. More recently through Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Year, again with support from The National lottery Jubilee Community Fund we have planted up numerous verges with spring flowering bulbs, supplied wooden planters ( made working together with local group ‘Men in Sheds’) to 120 households throughout the Marshland villages. In addition and with the very generous contributions made by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Reedness Parish Council, Eastwood Civils and Groundwork, Sharon of Reedness Plant Centre and Richard Ogram of Dairy Farm we managed to erect 110 lamp column planters which have been a real success, being appreciated and admired by many. Furthermore it was great to see our community coming together, so many volunteers making a fantastic effort to maintain them all .season long. Something to be repeated in 2023! A major consideration in all the actions we take, however small, is that they have a measurable beneficial effect within our community. To that end and to be ‘all- inclusive’ we recognised a need to diversify. We had to think ‘out of the box’ Whilst still embracing the growing and sharing of food, we commenced running events that everyone could get involved in. These have included cookery, gardening, wellbeing days and a very varied selection of craft workshops. All have been successful in bringing our village communities together, enabling new friendships to be forged. Our “litter picks and walks” have been particularly successful and popular whilst helping keep our patch looking at its best. Living in the Marshland villages and eating (pretty essential!) means that you are already ‘in’ and part of Incredible Edible Marshland. Want to be actively involved? We’re always on the look out for new ideas and ways to better our community. If that resonates with you send us a message or come along to a meet-up for a tea or coffee and cake, attend some of our sessions and events dipping in and out as you please, we’re a friendly welcoming bunch!