The town was certainly buzzing this weekend with the gathering of other Incredible Edible projects to discuss the next steps in moving the movement forward to the next phase. European guests were also visiting to see how they can emulate this incredible project. Folk from all over the country appeared to learn more about the pioneering Todmorden movement. It seemed the whole world wanted to hear about the project and its successes.
Later in the day two special guests arrived from London, one was the well-known Chief Executive of the RSA and thought leader Matthew Taylor who toured the Incredible Edible green-route. The second, was the academic Tim Lang from City University London who is an expert in Food Policy. Both were involved in the evening talks at the lovely Edwardian Hippodrome where well over 200 people attended. Charlie Clutterbuck another academic also dropped in to give support.
As our regular readers will know people of Todmorden are growing stuff at the edges of buildings, abandoned bits of land, road side verges, a graveyard, plots atthe local health centre in fact anywhere they can.
The evening went down a storm with a fantastic turnout and a rousing final talk by Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible.
Todmorden High School pupils were proudly filming the weekend as a work experience exercise and others helped out with looking after the visitors and serving supper at the packed Hippodrome to enthusiastic supporters and guests.
So where does the magician fit in? Well, it so happens that Derren Brown was somehow conjured up while filming in the town at the same time. Although one must say the wonders that are appearing in Todmorden are all done by shear hard work and passion by local heroes who are committed to doing things differently in the face of a changing environment.
It’s wonderful to hear about the praise Incredible Edible Todmorden received from Garden Organic patron HRH the Prince of Wales. Watch this excellent video of the special day look out for Pam and Mary from Todmorden.
The British garden has long been a topic discussed all over the world. With the revived interest of this favourite UK hobby many retailers have branched out into selling garden-related products and plants.
The consumer magazine Which has recently issued their latest research results concerning the best and worst stores that sell gardening products. Pennine Life are pleased to announce that the Pennines based Gordon Rigg garden centre came second out of the 65 stores rated. They scored an impressive 87% in customer satisfaction ratings.
It seems that more locally based stores in the survey gained better perceived value and customer satisfaction.
The research was conducted from 21 January to 3 February. Which rated stores they had visited on criteria including product quality, price and staff helpfulness with over 7,000 people participating.
So we would like to send our congratulations to Gordon Riggs who have stores in Walsden (West Yorkshire) and Rochdale, a great family owned company.
Laurence Brewer, from Bolton, is using pioneering technology to record 1600 phrases and sentences that will enable him to preserve his voice for years to come.
If he completes the recordings he will be the first known MND sufferer in the UK to successfully bank his voice using the software – and it will enable him to leave a lasting legacy for his 13 month old son Stan.
His story is told on Inside Out North West, BBC One on Monday (March 7th at 7.30pm).
Laurence, who works at Salford University, was diagnosed with the degenerative illness three years ago and told that he may only have between two and five years to live.
There is no cure for the disease, which results in the loss of mobility in the limbs and difficulties with swallowing, breathing and speech. In many cases, MND sufferers lose their speech completely.
Many use a voice synthesiser, choosing from a selection of pre-recorded voices to communicate with – the same type of technology used by Professor Stephen Hawking. But the software Laurence is using is different in that it enables users to communicate using recordings of their own voice.
For Laurence, 43, and his partner, Danijela, it’s a major concern that their young son could grow up not knowing his father’s voice.
He is now working tirelessly in his spare time to record the 1600 sentences and phrases the software needs to create a whole database of speech – all in Laurence’s voice. It’s a long and time consuming process.
Laurence says: “I think personally that I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for Stan. I wouldn’t have that motivation, I really don’t. Knowing that he’s around…passing that on, it’s a key driver for me.
“If my voice goes within the next six months he might not recognise me, recognise my voice particularly, and also in five years time if I have the voice banked then he can hear what I sounded like or an idea of what I would have sounded like. So it’s a memory.”
“I quite like the idea that the technology’s not very advanced, it’s not word perfect and I imagine that the final outcome will be a bit like a Lancastrian dalek which makes me smile quite a lot. I quite like that idea, that Stan will hear that and it’ll be part of me and part of my cultural identity.”
It was while researching the disease on the internet that Laurence’s partner, Danijela, came across the new type of voice software, called ‘Model Talker’.
Danijela says: “I learnt that of all the losses with MND, that most people who have been affected with MND have felt that losing their voice was the biggest loss. It did come as a surprise because I felt that perhaps losing ones mobility or being unable to breathe properly would be more devastating, but it seemed to be something which is very closely tied up with ones sense of identity.”
She explains why recording Laurence’s voice matters so much to the family: “Laurence used to play and sing in a band, so his voice is important to him and I cannot imagine not having his voice around and I would certainly like Stan to know the timbre of Laurence’s voice in some form. I don’t know what kind of quality we’re going to end up with this product but it’s a try, it’s doing something positive and being proactive and just allowing Stan to have that part of his father even after he’s gone.”
Laurence’s story is told on BBC Inside Out North West, BBC One, Monday, March 7th at 7.30pm.
Viewers outside the North West can view the programme on digital channel 978 or at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer
If you are interested in watching our feathered friends in your garden for an hour this weekend then check out the RSPB’s website to find out what to do. It only takes an hour of your time and great fun for children. All you need is a pen or pencil, some scrap paper or old envelope and an hour to spend watching the birds in your garden either on Saturday 29, or Sunday 30. Simply record the highest number of each bird species seen in your garden, or local park at any one time.
Support your local birds and give it a try this weekend.
The sudden onset of winter and the snow and ice has been a surprise to all of us. But spare a thought to all our birds, they will need some help during the coming winter months including the next few days. As the cold spell kicks in our birds need support. Many people aren’t sure what to feed them however you can find a whole range of advice on the RSPB’s website .
Snow hides natural food supplies therefore it is an important time for them to find a source of nutrition. Birds can’t store lots of fat like other animals do in winter and often cannot last more than 24 hours without eating in severe weather, they need to restock their food supplies every day.
Melt gently half a pack of unused lard or suet (don’t use fat from roasting dishes or tins) in a large pan.
Once the lard has melted add nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal, seeds, cake crumbs or dried bread flakes mix throughly (make sure you don’t use salted nuts).
Place the mixture into the empty coconut shells and pack it in tightly with the back of the spoon and pat until smooth.
Then leave to set before hanging it out onto a tree.
Don’t forget to leave them fresh water to drink too.
Remember try and hang it up high well out of reach of the local cats.
It’s fascinating to hear how national and neighbouring local projects inspired the Rossendale project to grow from just an idea into a reality and a local movement of 81 community members in less than a year.
Paul and his wife Joanna started the group back in October 2009, both are keen on home produce and eating healthy food. Paul tells us of how they met Pam Warhurst from Todmorden’s Incredible Edible project who invited them to an event to hear more about the community incredible edible way of life.
They also got in touch with Souta Creagh (now chair of the project) from Bacup’s Stubbylee Greenhouse project through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s project Landshare. Together the members are keen to spread the word and get more people in the area growing their own vegetables, herbs and fruits not only at home but in public spaces, parks, schools and gardens. The idea is to tempt people back to eating fresh food again. Paul says: “I love the idea of going to get a haircut and picking an apple on the way home.”
To listen to Paul’s interview just click here or below Interview(mp3)
Listen to his views on the benefits the scouts give young people and his own thoughts about living in a Pennine community. The photos are his favourites of the area.
Interview with Robert Mitchell Scout Leader and Pennine community member (wma)
Interview with Robert Mitchell Scout Leader and Pennine community member (mp3)
For centuries people have enjoyed growing things in their garden not only flowers but also vegetables and some even keep poultry and livestock.
There is a national boom amongst households up and down the land ‘trying out’ country living. They will all find that August through to October is the time to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Many crops will be ready to be harvested in the coming weeks.
For those who fancy fresh eggs, hens have become another favourite these days and are seen to be a ‘must have’. There are now an estimated 250,000 – 350,000 hobby poultry keepers nationwide and this has seen a boost in ‘hen house’ sales.
Combining the joy of growing vegetables in amongst your flowers is great fun especially for young children who can learn about how food is produced.