Incredible! Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution

In 2012 I was lucky enough to visit Todmorden, home of Incredible Edible and bastion of hope for people around the world looking for evidence that small changes can make a big difference.

Incredible: Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution is the new book now available to order all about Incredible Edible Todmorden. It’s been a while since I could really describe a book as a “page-turner” but here is a story that truly lives up to that description!

ImageIncredible Edible has been a key movement that I’ve thought back to time and again when the state of our planet gets me down. It’s easy to be depressed about the environment – so easy, in fact, that it’s actually pretty hard to narrow down specific examples as evidence. From the Fijian government’s evacuation and relocation strategies for its islanders faced with rising sea levels (another news source here) to the knowledge that those most responsible for the unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere will probably suffer the least – and therefore take the least action to curb their emissions – to the fact that the UK government has a climate change-denier responsible for climate change policy, it’s easy to feel like all there is left to do is give up and (literally) wait for the tide to come in.

And that’s when I remember Incredible Edible. Incredible Edible started from the idea that maybe the way to change the world was to stop talking about inaccessible and scary concepts like peak oil and carbon cycles, and start talking about food. Incredible Edible: “If you eat, you’re in”.

ImageThe story of Incredible Edible is one of a depressing and declining Yorkshire market town that turned its future around through the powers of food and community. From its humble beginnings with a sign on a vegetable patch that read “Please help yourself”, to propaganda planting around the town, to a global network of committed individuals working to increase their communities’ health, knowledge, love for food, and future security, Incredible Edible is positive action at its best. And it isn’t elitist, either – one of the things I love most about the project is that from its very outset those involved were convinced that they could only do this by involving the most disadvantaged communities in the area – otherwise, what was the point?

From a vegetable patch outside the police station, to the hospital’s apothecary garden, to the involvement of every local school in growing projects, to new jobs and apprenticeships, Incredible Edible has turned the fortunes of Todmorden around – and created some pretty tasty meals in the process!

ImageReclaiming the right to nutritious and delicious food from the hands of multinational corporations, and building a future with real sustainability at its heart, Incredible Edible is a revolutionary way of life that doesn’t require you to have a PhD in Leninism or twenty years of experience in permaculture. All you need is to be a person who eats food!

There are many things about Incredible: Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution that are going to stick with me and inspire me to keep fighting for a future that’s worth fighting for. But I think one of the main things that I try and carry with me is this: Stop passing the buck. Stop waiting. Don’t wait for permission. Go outside, grow veg, change the world.

ImageIf you are losing hope for the future, if you are losing faith in people, if you are despairing about the future of our planet: stop. Buy Incredible: Plant Veg, Grow a Revolution. And get inspired to stop looking at the failures of those in power, and start changing the world through subverting the structures-that-be to create a kinder and radically more beautiful future for everyone.

Image(All photos taken by myself at the 2012 Todmorden Show).

Kinetic Knowledge

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Knowledge is more than text on a page. Whilst I cannot begin to quantify what I have learnt through the last three and a half years of higher education (and whilst I’m eternally thankfully for the fact that I have over a year left before I have to consider leaving the university environment), it is becoming increasingly clear to me that so much of my knowledge and understanding has not come from reading journals or sitting in lectures. In fact, my ability to grasp many concepts I have discussed in the classroom has come from knowledge gained far outside of the walls of the university.

One concept that I have been thinking a lot about recently is that of kinetic knowledge, which, taking various forms, relates to the sensuous and the experiential. Kinetic knowledge, I feel, is knowledge truly earned – knowledge gained directly relevant to time invested in a way that I find harder to measure when looking back on the secondary knowledge gained through reading. It is a sort of knowledge of paramount importance in the study of place, because it is knowledge that relates to an individual’s own relationship to a particular place. Continue reading Kinetic Knowledge

A cautious return to content creation

My stop-start-splutter-halt efforts to write more about the things I think about have failed recently. I’m increasingly wary of a culture which demands that everything must be shared; that there is no purpose in creative output if that output doesn’t create “content” which can be dispersed to interested parties looking for bite-size chunks of intellectual stimuli on a rainy day.

I recently finished A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, a wonderful exploration of different ways of getting lost, different processes of knowing, the importance of the senses, and full of eloquent ideas about the nature of wandering and the self. I turned the final page of the book only to be struck with an advert for the publishing company which informed me that if I visited their website, there was loads more “great content” at my “fingertips”. Actually, content wasn’t what I wanted when I finished this book – I wanted to reflect and process, not ingest more. Continue reading A cautious return to content creation

Gender: A Fun Guide [with presentation/Powerpoint format below]

gender: a fun guide

You can download a version of this comic to use in presentations [strictly not-for-profit only] here.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Intersectionality: a fun guide [now in PowerPoint / presentation formation]

It’s so good to see Bob the Triangle being shared across the Internet and even used in workshops and as course material around the world.

I’ve had a number of requests to upload a higher resolution version of the picture, or one in a format more suited to presentations. So without further ado, here is the story of Bob the Triangle in six standalong images that can be put together in a presentation, etc. (And I think the spelling mistakes have been solved now…) Just click on the images to view them full-size, and you can save them individually. As ever all I ask is that you link back here or to my Twitter. Happy intersectionality-promoting! Continue reading Intersectionality: a fun guide [now in PowerPoint / presentation formation]

There can be no claims to social good when arms dealers are involved

The University of Sheffield made a major announcement on June 6th: it has secured £43million in funding to build a new research facility for the aerospace manufacturing industry. Fantastic, you might think. New jobs at a time of seemingly never-ending economic depression? Exactly what we need. More publicity and a better international standing for the University? Great. Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the facility, has even described it as “the most advanced factory in the world”. That all sounds brilliant, right? Continue reading There can be no claims to social good when arms dealers are involved