(NaturalNews) Imagine strolling through your town and finding the post office surrounded by raised beds, lush with produce that is free for the taking, 24/7. Or a police department with a gratis community vegetable garden, complete with curly kale, carrots, lettuces and onions. And orchards, as well as berry bushes, lining public walkways that offer up fresh fruit -- on the house. Sound too good to be true? Not in one innovative hamlet where a veritable paradise of edible landscaping has taken root. What's more, the community is working towards absolute food self-sufficiency by 2018.
Thinking outside the box
"The will to live life differently can start in some of the most unusual places. This is where I come from, Todmorden. It's a market town in the north of England, 15,000 people, between Leeds and Manchester, fairly normal market town. ... with fruit and veg and herbs sprouting up all over the place. We call it propaganda gardening. Corner row railway, station car park, front of a health center, people's front gardens, and even in front of the police station. We've got edible canal towpaths, and we've got sprouting cemeteries. ... And, you know, we're not doing it because we're bored. We're doing it because we want to start a revolution," proclaims Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible during a 2012 TEDSalon talk in London. And sparking a revolution of food self-sufficiency is exactly what the small township has accomplished.
Kitchen table wisdom
It all began around a kitchen table where a group of friends envisioned three plates: "a community plate, the way we live our everyday lives; a learning plate, what we teach our kids in school and what new skills we share amongst ourselves; and business, what we do with the pound in our pocket and which businesses we choose to support," explains Warhurst. The foundation of these ideas? Food self-sufficiency as a means to create beautiful community spaces while cultivating a sense of connection.
The volunteers didn't ask permission to do it, they just did it -- one small plot at a time. The first was a barren strip on the main town road, which was transformed into a lovely herb garden. A corner of the car park was fair game as well, where a beautiful vegetable bed was installed. Instead of prickly cactus surrounding the local medical center, a team of renegade volunteers replaced the decorative plants with fruit trees and bushes, herbs and vegetables -- produce that feeds whomever chooses to harvest it, free of charge. Before long, edible landscaping was sprouting up in the most surprising places -- in front of government offices and local businesses, higher learning institutions and grammar schools. The town now has 70 large produce beds, along with fruit orchards and berry bushes. A blooming success story, Todmorden even attracts "vegetable tourists" who arrive from all over the world to learn about the evolving project.
In the end, Warhurst believes "[t]here are so many things you can do, but ultimately this is about something really simple. Through an organic process, through an increasing recognition of the power of small actions, we are starting, at last, to believe in ourselves again, and to believe in our capacity, each and every one of us, to build a different and a kinder future, and in my book, that's incredible."
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.