Incredible Walsden grand opening

Last update: 16.06.11 First posted: 15.06.11 by in

The Incredible Edible Walsden Market Garden Training Centre was opened by Mayor of Todmorden, Cllr Richard White, on Saturday 11 June.
The Mayor, flanked by Peter Rigg, who donated the land for the project, and Nick Green, the project manager, cut the “ribbon” (a Giant green weed stalk) with garden shears and declared the centre open.
Preparing to cut the balsam
while Lucy and George held the ribbon in place.
About 100 people came and enjoyed a banquet of fresh local produce
About 100 people enjoy Walsden opening event
including salad, eggs and duck, reared on the site and potatoes grown in the town centre, cheese from pextenament farm, burgers and bangers from Staups Lee Farm, Bread from Saker, IET cider and delicious quiches from Long Causeway Farm.
Kyle and Jude try to get the Mayor drunk on IET cider!
kyle and jude with mayor All served in the polytunnel accompanied by live music with lyrics composed on site!
Richard Parkes plays acoustic set at Walsden opening
The centre will train apprentices in growing skills equipping them to start their own new food growing businesses.
Construction started last November, with the majority of the work being done by Volunteers, with help from an excellent Future Jobs Fund team from Pennine 2000 and Groundworks. Financially supported by grants from Community Foundation for Calderdale and the Land Settlement Association, Yorkshire Bank and CMBC, not forgetting the 120 tons of compost supplied by the parks department and Riggs garden centre for the land.
On site is a purpose built 150 foot polytunnel,
walsden 14/6/11

18 outdoor growing beds

outdoor growing beds

and 8 raised beds for community growing,
lornas community bed
along with ponds and wild areas for biodiversity.
Reflecting on Walsden

In brilliant sunshine visitors enjoyed day old baby ducklings,
Mayor and Mayoress meet Duck, or Drake?

4 month old Aylesbury ducks, ducks walsden

and bee hives with honey bees.
Walsden bees working hard

Children explored the wildlife pond dipping for froglets
Pond dipping at Walsden

and the long forgotten Todmorden sport of snail racing was re introduced.

snail race

All racing mollusks were of course locally bred and trained!

snail race lucy
Site tours were lead by Nick Green
opening day visitors
and wildlife expert Mike Smith while a team of Permaculture design students spent the day on a wild plant survey and preparing suggestions to enhance the site.

Visitors grinned at the giant stuffed mutant carrot while ducks quacked, bees buzzed, fruit trees grew, Todmorden cider was sipped, songs were composed and the sun shone and the work hut was painted with pastoral scenes.
Decorating the site hut

Thanks to Halls Joinery for use of their car park for the event.
It was a great day and we hope the start of a great project.

Estelle said…..
I got that back of the neck tingly thing, it was all so magical, the growing the place itself, the planting, the ponds already full of wild things, all perfect
The greatest thing of all though was the warmth and that had nothing to do with the weather that was incredible, it was like a large Italian family farm party.
It couldn’t have been better, made me very proud to think, I know all these Incredible people, how lucky am I.

Mary said….
It was so lovely to see so many local business supporting the venture cupcakes , long causeway Mr Rigg, Todmorden Industrial Supplies (hand soaps dispenser) and others there help makes all the difference.

Sarah(Food co-ordinator for the day)said….
The preparation was great fun and the end result really rewarding. I really enjoyed getting involved in a practical way for the first time

and Marcela (snail racing promoter for the day)said….
“A fabulous do. The site looked amazing, the people were lovely and I
ate like a maniac
Your snail race idea really got everybody involved and I loved taking
pictures of the snails posing on their sponsors like they were expensive
wrist watches in Vogue magazine”

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