Friday, February 08, 2013

Market Drayton IS IncrEdible!

Pam Warhurst, Emma Walton,
Tricia Pedlar, Charlotte Hollins
On Monday night the Festival Drayton Centre, in Market Drayton, was alive with enthusiasm and excitement. There were over 60 people gathered in the green room to listen to inspirational speaker Pam Warhurst. Pam came down from Todmorden in West Yorkshire, where she and other community members have formed an amazing project called Incredible Edible Todmorden. The idea behind this is to encourage and educate people to use and grow local produce and suppliers. They have transformed the look of their small town by growing fruit and vegetables in planters, on grass verges and in any available green spaces they could find! It has also had an amazing impact on the town’s tourism, with busloads of people arriving to follow the ‘Green Route’.

Incredible Edible Todmorden link HERE

The Incredible Edible theme has spread and there are now 35 Incredible Edible towns around the country as well as some abroad.
The Market Drayton Community Partnership’s (MDCP) environment & climate change group (which is made up of local volunteers including Emma and Charlotte!) linked up with the Fordhall Community Land Initiative and Making Local Food Work to facilitate and co-ordinate Monday evening.  

There was so much support and enthusiasm in the room to develop an IncrEdible Market Drayton concept further. Suggestions were made that the space outside the library might be a possible place to grow edible plants, that ‘Shropshire Prune’ damson trees be planted around the town, that an audit of fruit trees be done so that the fruit does not go to waste, but is utilised to make jams etc. How about bees on top of flat roves in the town centre to pollinate plants? That was another suggestion. The list is vast.……..a gingerbread shaped garden, garden shares where people who don’t have garden space can help those who cannot manage their own gardens anymore.

What was really brilliant too was that there was a diverse group of people there on the night: local councillors, Shropshire Council representatives, the mayor, local residents, the prison, the allotment group, Fordhall (of course), Meres and Mosses Housing Association and on and on the list could go…………………

We were all very excited about the enthusiasm in the room - so much so we couldn't sleep for the next few days!!

There will be a second meeting in about a month’s time, so if you are interested in getting involved then please give me (Emma) a call at Fordhall (01630 638 696) where I am now the Community garden Co-ordinator or email me on

Our first planting opportunity is happening this weekend. We will be meeting at 2pm in the car park at Walkmill Meadows in Market Drayton. We have been given 6 Shropshire damson trees to plant on the site. Obviously 6 trees will not take a long time to plant, so we will probably do a general tidy and litter pick while we’re on site. Hopefully see you there.

Community Garden Co-ordinator

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

New Year, New Staff!!

We’ve had some changes here in the office this month; we have two new members of staff!
Emma Walton, who will be taking over from Bex Syrett our Community Gardening Officer and Jane Edwards who will be taking over from Beth Kennett our Admin Assistant. 

See you soon, Bex!
Bex will be taking 6 months off from tending to the Community Garden at Fordhall, in order to travel around Europe in a revamped ambulance!  She will be visiting different Permaculture sights around Europe and picking up new ideas to bring back to Fordhall in the Autumn!
So, until then, the garden will be left in the capable hands of Emma.  Emma has been working in Wildlife and Conservation Management with people of all ages, teaching them practical conservation skills and personal development. She is also a familiar face around Market Drayton and likes to support to the local community.

Emma’s interesting fact… “I cycle toured in Australia for 5 months!”
Beth is off to the Galapagos Islands to volunteer and learn about the wildlife there.  She has been with us for 3 years and although it’s sad to see her go, we are very jealous of her adventure ahead and hope that she has an amazing time!
Bye bye Beth!
Jane has come from a very different job environment to Fordhall; she was working as an e-learning advisor supporting adult education in the West Midlands.  She lives in South Shropshire and is in the process of setting up her own Shitake mushroom growing business.  She has been a strong supporter of Fordhall’s since the days of the campaign.  She is also Becca’s mum!
Jane’s interesting fact… “I lived in Afghanistan for 2 years during the 1980’s!”

The tearoom have also had some changes recently, with Katy Caldecott leaving to pursue a career in retail, as well as working hard on her musical career with her band Pre-Sleep Monologue.

Good Luck Katy!

To fill the gap left by Katy, we have the lovely Odilia Briceno-Plummer.  Odilia, used to manage her own guesthouse in her home country of Venezuela.  She also organised community work days, clearing up local green space in her neighbourhood.

Odilia's interesting fact..."My family own a chocolate farm in Venezuela!"

So, with new team members on board, we have a fresh bunch of ideas to drive forward over the next 12 months. 
Farewell to Beth, good luck Katy, see you soon Bex and welcome to the team Emma, Jane and Odilia!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Can Market Drayton be IncrEdible??

A group of local residents and volunteers involved in the Market Drayton Community Partnership and helping to work on actions arising from the Market Drayton Town Plan think it can be !
There are lots of interesting links between the community, food, health and tourism that have helped generate great ideas and even some free food in other towns. The Fordhall Community Land Initiative has gained a small amount of national funding from Making Local Food Work and some facilitation support to fund a meeting to start a discussion.
There is an initial open meeting on Monday 4th Feb, 7pm at the Festival Drayton Centre, where ideas will be discussed, chaired by Charlotte from Fordhall Farm, and guest speakers from Incredible Edible Todmorden and the Plunkett Foundation.
Charlotte is also a volunteer with the Market Drayton Community Partnership Environmental Group. She has had a number of conversations with various groups in Market Drayton around local food through volunteering on the partnership. It became apparent that there were lots of links and partnerships to be made. The funding and resources available from the Plunkett Foundation are allowing Fordhall to support the development of these links further. We hope the meeting on Monday will be full of ideas from the whole community on making Market Drayton IncrEdible.
The evening will include an inspirational talk from Pam Warhurst, the chairman of Incredible Edible Todmorden. A hugely successful project with international recognition.
Some great ideas already been aired by residents involve the planting of more damson trees around the town centre to highlight the towns heritage as the town of the damson, or the collection of fruit from trees in private gardens where people are not able to collect and use the fruit themselves. There may even be possibilities of using scrub land around the town or areas of council land to grow herbs and vegetables!
Most importantly, we want to enjoy ourselves, work collaboratively, have fun and make Market Drayton a better place to for us to live, and hopefully a more interesting place for others to visit. This evening will explore ideas and develop partnerships.
Miriam, a key volunteer from the community partnership said "lets nourish the roots of Market Drayton and see the town grow. These projects have so many benefits for our health, in so many ways. Market towns rely on local networks and local food is a crucial one."
The hope is that the support from Fordhall can help coordinate initial activities with new volunteers through the Market Drayton Community Partnership. A group that was set up by local residents to help action points from the town plan, to improve the town, bring back a sense of community and make it a better place for everyone.

Miriam, Charlotte, Richard, Emma (coordinator) and Clive all volunteers with the Market Drayton Community Partnership

So fingers crossed for Monday - everyone is welcome, we hope to see you there....