Applaud Small English Town for Sustainable Farming Practices

Target: Residents of Todmorden, England

Goal: Support the grassroots food movement flourishing within the small English town of Todmorden.

Lately, the attitude regarding individual edible gardens within the US has been unsupportive and at times hostile. Homeowners who engage in sustainable farming techniques find themselves harassed by local governments, and at times come home to find their entire yards destroyed by overzealous city officials. The fourteenth amendment protects citizens’ life, liberty, and property, but apparently growing organic veggies, fruits, and herbs on private property is an offense to the US government. It’s an unfortunate power struggle that directly undermines the well-being of conscientious Americans. Rather than overstepping its bounds and interfering in the lives of its people, the US government should follow the example of a small West Yorkshire town that has come together to create an environment of self-sufficiency. Todmorden, England has created a grassroots food movement that educates the community on sustainable farming practices and encourages community members to engage in and join the movement. Such forward thinking on sustainable lifestyles should be commended and followed.

This amazing movement, now called Incredible Edible, was initiated by one woman who grew veggies in her front yard and allowed her neighbors to pick them for free. Mary Clear, a 56 year old grandmother, turned her entire front yard into an edible garden and posted signs to encourage passersby to enjoy her fresh produce. After six months of patient waiting, Mary’s neighbors finally realized that her free food was no joke, which prompted the elderly woman to share and expand her values.

Teaming up with local Bear Café owner Pam Warhurst and other fellow gardeners, Mary began to encourage locals to engage in their own guerrilla agriculture. Now, the small community has 70 large raised beds, all blossoming with healthy fruits and vegetables and all of which are open for harvesting without pay. Even the Todmorden police station joined the movement and now boasts a few gardening beds on its premises, all of which are free for the picking as well. In Todmorden, it’s not only okay to grow your own food; it is urged by local officials. Unlike the oppressive US government, Todmorden receives no government interference. Citizens are free to grow and free to educate others on their gardening practices.

Todmorden’s communal food gardens are an incredible accomplishment that helps raise awareness to the efficiency of self-sustaining agriculture. Mary hopes to achieve full sustainability for all 15,000 Todmorden residents by 2018; hopefully by that time the US government will learn to support such forward thinking agriculture practices.


Dear residents of Todmorden,

Incredible Edible is certainly an incredible leap toward a greener world. Self-sufficient farming not only preserves Mother Nature; it guides us toward a healthier lifestyle. Introducing and encouraging such a fundamental grassroots food movement is truly a commendable act, and one that other communities and countries should emulate.

Here in the US, numerous city governments and authorities scorn individual farming and have been known to destroy entire edible gardens on private property. Growing food for nourishment has somehow become a nuisance, resulting in a loss of education on sustainable farming practices. It is remarkable and heartening to learn that Todmorden’s city officials are supporters of Incredible Edible, because it essentially proclaims the freedom to grow and to educate others on fruit and vegetable agriculture.

Garnering support from an entire community to engage in green farming deserves a round of applause. Hopefully, we all can learn from the generous acts of Mary Clear and everyone else engaged in the communal guerilla gardening.


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One Comment

  1. Fran Fulwiler says:

    Fifty-six years old is “elderly”? Otherwise, an excellent petition.

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