Incredible Edible Spreadible in Lille

Last update: 22.11.16 First posted: 22.11.16 by in

The Poster for Lindsay’s talk in Lille
The week before last I was fortunate enough to be asked to give a presentation on the work and principles of Incredible Edible Todmorden in Lille, France. This was held at the city’s Regional Environment Centre and attended by local community activists, many of whom have tried, but it appears with varying degrees of success, to grow food for free in their own neighbourhoods.
Particular interest was shown in my outline of what I call the ten transferable principles of IET that other people and places can learn from and copy. In discussions after the presentation, a lovely man called Jullien Pilette wanted to talk to me about the IET ‘sprout’ logo and then proceeded to tell me what he and his colleagues have done with it.
Jullien Pilette and colleagues about to dig a very big IE Sprout in a field in Lille
Maybe this has been shown elsewhere on the IE websites, but it is worth repeating here. Jullien asked Lille City Council for a site they could grow veggies and herbs on and they were given a field in an inner city area. A large version of the sprout logo was then mapped out, dug up and planted. It is so big that, as Jullien showed me, it can now be seen on the Google Earth map of Lille see the website Perhaps other communities could follow their example? Howsabout a planted sprout in Todmorden or a large, growing and living, ‘Kindness’ sign?
One of the discussions after the talk was about the perception that we in the UK have a better and more cohesive sense of community than our French counterparts and this makes it easier for us to grow IE projects. I don’t really know whether this comparative insight is the case or not and in response re-iterated Mary Clear’s advice that local community growing events must, first and foremost, include the all important elements of ‘Fun and Food’ in order to engage folk and get them coming back week after week.
It is always a pleasure and privilege to talk to other communities, especially in other countries, about the inspiring model of IET and, given that I am lucky enough to get to travel abroad as part of my university work, I have adopted the principle of contacting local environmental groups in the places I am heading for and offering to give a talk when I am in their country or city. Part of me still remains surprised that I then get to show them what the people of our small hill town in the Pennines have achieved via IET. Then again, another part of me is far from surprised.
For if not here then where and if not now, then when?

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