My first experience with Incredible EdibleLast update: 9.12.14 First posted: 9.12.14 by IE team in Blogs
Being a new-comer to Incredible Edible, I was aware that the loyal band of hard-working volunteers, who help to keep this organisation going, don’t let a bit of bad weather stop them from doing a good days work. However, as several members of the team down at the Apothecary Garden mentioned to me, I had picked the worst month, weather-wise, to join up.
Greeted with a warm welcome at the Unitarian on a particularly brisk December afternoon, I soon found myself walking down to the Health Centre car park with half of Incredible’s work force – wheelbarrow in tow – to tidy up the somewhat over-grown herb garden. Although a little browner than the flourishing green plants you could see over the summer months, the Apothecary Garden is still an impressive sight to behold, and is testament to the idea that hard work and determination really does pay off.
Having been unsure of the exact objective of that afternoon, I had wrapped up warm, but been remiss in taking some gardening gloves with me. (Rookie mistake!) Thankfully, for my first day, the team granted me the warmest job that needed doing, extracting dead and excess tansy from the garden. Normally a vibrant yellow plant, the colder months had turned the buds brown and dry. But that didn’t mean that they were going to come quietly when it came to being extracted – far from it. An hour long tug of war between myself and mother earth was soon under way; not that I minded, a physically gruelling activity is most-welcome on such a bitterly cold day.
The walk from the Unitarian to the garden had suggested we would be lucky in terms of the weather, with a cold and clear blue sky shining above us. Sadly, the forks had barely pierced the soil before we were treated to the first hailstorm of the afternoon. It would have been so easy to down tools and call it a day; but the work force carried on, undeterred by such an inconvenience. The occasional waft of various herbs in the air also acted as a good incentive to soldier on.
It was fantastic to see volunteers from all walks of life pitching in. Having been down in Stoke-on-Trent for the past few years at university, I missed a lot of Incredible Edible events. Seeing such a dedicated group of hard workers, who are happy to give up their Sunday afternoons in rain or shine for a good cause, was a heart-warming sight. It is moments like that which serve as a welcome reminder that the community spirit Todmorden is famous for is still very much alive.
Several hailstorms later, the troops were replenished with a cup of fruity home-brewed mulled wine and a mince pie, before the clean-up began.
A clean-up process, that could have taken a good hour to complete, was swiftly done and dusted within a quarter of that time, with everyone chipping in. By 4pm, the car park was as clean as when we started, if not cleaner, thanks to several volunteers also banding together to clear the parking spaces of dead leaves.
The chapped workers left this Gardening Sunday a little more red-fingered than green-fingered, I think it would be fair to say. But it was an afternoon well spent, in good company doing a good and worthwhile job. Hopefully, the January meeting will see the weather being as warm as the welcome I received this time!
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