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incredible first time volunteer

Last update: 8.04.20 First posted: 8.04.20 by in

Guest blog by Sammy Weaver

After mooring up my narrowboat in Todmorden last November, I remember walking around the town for the first time amazed at the planters and beds in every corner growing everything from rosemary, mint and thyme to kale, fruit trees and even an apothecary garden by the health centre! The maps and signs around town that give information about the different plants, their human uses and their importance to the more-than-human world of other species (especially bees) made me realise I had moored up in a very kind town.

I wanted to know who and what was at the heart of such an exciting community project where humans are seen as part of a wider ecology, and where towns are full of plants.
So I went along to an Incredible Edible meet-up one hoar frosty Sunday morning in November ready to get stuck in. As soon as I arrived I was greeted with friendly smiles and a hot drink. Then someone asked me, or rather told me, I was to stay for the communal lunch after.

I was struck by the number of people who had dragged themselves out of their cosy homes on such a bitter morning to weed beds, clear rubbish from the towpath and tidy the compost heaps.

People of all ages and social backgrounds seemed to be there with the shared goal of creating an Incredible Edible town. A town where to tend a garden is to tend to the heart of the community.

During this anxious time of pandemic where we are to stay indoors and self-isolate, the earth turns us on her slow incline, her sure tilt back towards the sun. Spring is springing open: the white knuckles of buds are loosening, tight coils of flowers unwinding. It is the perfect time to un-isolate by noticing the inch-by-inch changes in our communities of flowers, blossom and birdsong.

With thanks to Incredible Edible for helping me root in Todmorden, here is a poem to celebrate all they do with that hopeful little flower of late winter and early spring, the crocus.


Notice how she keeps
her secrets very close
as she tries

to strike a match
in the dark throat
of the towpath.

All curled up in a knot
she manages a spark
which lifts her little arm

to the surface,
and risking everything
she asks: Is it time?

So long in this
locked-in winter,

addicted as she is
to the tenderness
of being first out.

Her glass-blown heart,
her ventricle of purple petals,
cracking open

to offer you
gold anthers
encrusted with pollen.

Want to help?

There are loads of ways you can help us in our work. For more information click here. Or email Estelle.