Our Prestwich Incredible Edible initiative is celebrating a decade of growing local food, supporting local communities and helping tackle local health issues. We recently marked the tenth anniversary with a visit from Bury South MP, Christian Wakeford.
Inspired by the original Incredible Edible project – which started in Todmorden in 2008 – Incredible Edible Prestwich & District (IEPAD) was established in 2010.
A Community Benefit Society, IEPAD is run and maintained entirely by volunteers and is funded by grants and donations. It aims to promote sustainable food growing within local communities through a diverse range of schemes situated across Prestwich.
These include ‘help yourself’ raised vegetable beds and herb gardens in public spaces, such as local parks, tram stations and shopping precincts. There’s also larger community plots featuring orchards, polytunnels, two forest gardens and greenhouses.
The food produced is distributed locally for free by IEPAD’s volunteers and via food banks such as the Porch Boxes scheme in Bradley Fold near Radcliffe.
IEPAD also donates plants, seedlings and cuttings to local schools, churches and community groups who are interested in ‘growing their own’.
In addition, the IEPAD programme is officially recognised by Bury’s social prescribing service, The Beacon Service, as a great way to get people out in the fresh air, take some exercise and meet new people.
Further, IEPAD has recently been consulted by Bury Council about the positive impact of its work. Our group also works closely with schools, colleges and youth organisations helping to educate young people about diet and food.
The Secretary of IEPAD, Mark Lockwood, said: “To be still going strong after ten years is a fantastic achievement and it’s a testament to all the hard working volunteers, amazing partners and supportive funders who have contributed to the programme since it began in 2010.
“I’m also proud that the likes of Bury Council and the Beacon Service who recognise the role IEPAD plays in helping people improve their health, both physical and mental, and the wider social value which we generate for Prestwich and beyond.
“A good example of this is the recent increase in enquiries we’ve had from people looking for something constructive to do to help alleviate the stress of lockdown. And while the current covid-19 restrictions present us with some challenges, we are still hosting regular socially distanced sessions at many of our sites.”
To officially celebrate IEPAD’s tenth birthday Mark was joined by Bury South MP Christian Wakeford at IEPAD’s flagship project at Philips Park.
He said: “It was fantastic to visit Incredible Edible’s community project at Philips Park in Prestwich recently to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.
“Hearing about the commitment of their volunteers during the pandemic and the wonderful effects that volunteering can have on people’s mental health was really heartening.
“Knowing where your food comes from is so important so it’s brilliant to hear about Incredible Edible’s work with schools to integrate food into the curriculum.”