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We can all grow food together.

COMMUNITY gardeners from South Wales travelled to West Yorkshire to visit an exciting food project called Incredible Edible Todmorden.

The trip organised by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens included visits to Todmorden's Community Gardens, Bee Walk and Orchards.

This remarkable town is addressing the problems of food poverty and security by planting fruit and vegetables in every planter, public garden, school, bus stop and verge.

Local residents are encouraged to pick what they need free of charge when it's ready. Imagine waiting for your bus and picking beans and tomatoes for tea while you wait!

The local police and ambulance stations have created community beds at the front of their buildings which local groups use to grow their own food and flowers, while the doctors' surgery has an orchard on its grounds, along with an apothecary garden, to encourage their patients to improve their diets by eating "an apple a day".

Incredible Edible Todmorden has inspired towns and cities from all over the world with Incredible Edible groups springing up in London, Canada and Slovakia. It has also been a huge boost for the local economy and created a unique "vegetable tourist trade" as people from all over the world come to see what they've achieved.

Community growers from right across South Wales, from Pembrokeshire to Monmouthshire, travelled to Yorkshire to bring some great ideas back to Wales to improve the amount of local food available to everyone, particularly some of the areas hardest hit by the recession.

Everyone came away brimming with enthusiasm and wanting to get stuck in straight away.

The no-nonsense "just do it" attitude in Todmorden was infectious and the Welsh gardeners have been inspired to go back and try something similar.

People all over South Wales are facing increasing food prices and a lack of fresh, local, affordable produce. Community gardens are tackling these problems by getting local people to work together, growing and sharing the harvest. Community gardens are open to everyone and a warm welcome awaits anyone willing to come along and join in.

The great thing about community gardens is that you don't need to know anything about gardening when you start - there are always people to help you.

The federation can also help groups start community gardens, providing advice all the challenges they may face.

The trip to Incredible Edible Todmorden is part of the federation's programme of training and networking opportunities for community growers all over Wales. By learning how they've done things in Todmorden, it's hoped that yet more community growing schemes and therefore local food becomes available to everyone.

The motto of Incredible Edible Todmorden is "If you eat, you're in!" After this trip, South Wales is definitely in!

| Emma Williams South East Wales Development Worker for the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens

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| The local police station in Todmorden has created community beds which local groups use to grow their own food and flowers. Top, visitors from South Wales who saw the work in Todmorden at first hand
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 24, 2012
Words:507
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