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Gather – Issue 2 (Current Issue)

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Clearing brambles and litter from grass verges, planting wildflowers, harvesting fruit. The rising popularity of guerrilla gardening – planting neglected urban spaces without permission – seems to reflect a shift in the zeitgeist. A feeling that people are ready to get their hands dirty in their search for greater connection to the beauty and wonder of the natural world, to their community, to something bigger than themselves. Small, gentle acts of public defiance such as turning wasteland into a free food plot or sowing flower seeds along a disused strip might add up to more than the sum of their parts. They show what can happen when a group of like-minded people come together to take responsibility for brightening up their neighbourhood, reconnecting people with the food that they eat and the environment, bringing life and inspiration to the community.

It is possible. Incredible Edible has been growing edible plants among the forgotten areas of Todmorden in West Yorkshire for more than 15 years (see page 32). Today, the seeds of change they planted have taken root. An old industrial town is greener, the community feels proud and is flourishing, the local council has jumped on board, people are taking action and building the world that they want to see. And it’s spreading. Now there are 170 Incredible Edible groups across the UK and, astoundingly, more than 1,000 worldwide.

As George Eliot once said, ‘It never will rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more trees.’ The opportunity for a brighter, more connected world is there for anyone ready to make that leap. Let’s grow together.

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