Tue 4 June 2013, by Noémie BACK

Edible cities: the basics

Food to share at the bus stop. On the side walk. In the neighborhood park. What a simple idea. Instead of flowers, vegetables. Instead of an ash tree, a cherry tree. Instead of thuja, blueberry bushes. You get it?

The city can become edible.


During the Second World War, in the United States as well as in England or in Brussels, parks were planted with vegetables and annexed by inhabitants to their gardens. Governments were engaged in giving incentives to cultivate private gardens into Victory gardens for people to grow their own food. The number of 44% of the fresh vegetables in the US issued from this effort from over 20 millions garden plots is significative.


Not for the same reasons, the Edible city movements grow in every city nowadays. Let’s observe it for a minute. Take the case of Todmorden, THE case. ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’ (IET), started as a grassroots movement of guerrilla gardeners who grew vegetables and fruit in areas conventionally seen as unsuitable for cultivation. Through negotiation with authorities, IET was able to transition their operations into legitimate activities. Vegetables and fruit are now grown in and around prominent town landmarks, from the police station to the train station, making food a central focus of life in Todmorden.

IET “is the enactment of a belief that, if you play to the strengths of any community, or group of people living their lives around a street, a neighbourhood, a town, and if you share within that group a common focus (for us food), then you can create resilience and cohesion that will make us all stronger and happier.” IET is working with a vision to make Todmorden self-sufficient in food by 2018.

More here on Carrot City library.



said Lindsay Smales, from IET in September 2013 in Brussels’ ]pyblik[ colloquium. “Do you think the policemen on the picture hereunder do not water the plants in front of their police station?! Of course not!”

With a group of colleagues, it can be much faster to launch the initiative and much more fun to do it as a team building activity. It does ask to buy soil, seeds or a few plants and some wooden planks to make a few garden beds.

Grass fields around your enterprise building, the rooftop, the balconies are available places awaiting for a new destination! You have most probably colleagues ready for engaging in such an joyful project and join forces?!