It took six months before neighbors and passers-by got the notion that Mary Clear's lowered fence and signs encouraging people to pick veggies from her lawn was for real. Mary, a 56 year old grandmother, kicked off a scheme thought up with local Bear Cafe owner Pam Warhurst and others to engage in local guerrilla agriculture.
Soon, others joined in and they called the movement Incredible Edible. Now this small community has 70 large, raised beds flourishing with fruits and vegetables, all of which are there for others to take from without paying.
Even the Todmorden police station has a few of those beds on its premises. The police also allow others to come and pick from them. It's a high profile setting that lets others know it is okay to grow your own in Todmorden. (Source 1 below)
Mary and Pam realize that Incredible Edible isn't up to feeding all 15,000 residents of Todmorden yet. But their goal is to achieve that level of self sufficiency by 2018. They're working on getting more involved with growing veggies and fruits with a grass roots free educational system to help others learn how to plant and nurture communal food gardens.
So far, there has been no government financial support or interference with Incredible Edible, which has even sprouted up in another British town, Somerset. (Source 2 below)
It appears that USA community bureaucracies are number one in harassing homeowners who grow veggies or herbs in their yards. (http://www.naturalnews.com)
Local agricultural sustainability seeds elsewhereSomehow, the seeds of improving urban planning to incorporate sustainable local and regional agriculture are being cultivated by various non-profit NGOs (non-government organizations) throughout North America and elsewhere. There are many of them, all apparently isolated from each other.
However, the USDA has promoted a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program as a network for like minded community farmers and farms to connect with local consumers willing to bear the financial burden of farming with various local farms.
From CSA literature: CSA is not about cheap food, which is usually neither nourishing nor grown with care of the environment in mind. CSA is about each of us being responsible. We encourage you to compare prices of a share at your local CSA to the supermarket's "cheap food." (Source 3 below)
Although American Big Ag representatives and government officials want to dismiss it as communist propaganda, Cuba rebounded from mother Russia's collapse with urban farm gardens on small urban lots and campesinos' (small rural farmers) sustainable agricultural efforts. (Source 4 below)
Now that they're back on their feet with lots of organic home grown foods, American Big Ag and biotech industries are trying to get into Cuba with their misleading statistics of high crop production. Hopefully Cuban officials won't be influenced by those carpet baggers.
A large scale international study has confirmed the obvious: Small local/regional organic, sustainable farming is better suited for feeding the world than Big Ag's "green revolution" or biotech GMOs. The USA was one of the few nations that refused to endorse the initial 2008 UN study. (Source 5 below)
An updated UN report on agro-ecology and the right to food is available on pdf here (http://www.srfood.org).
This is a struggle of wise little foodies against evil mercenary giants.
Sources for this article include: