Posts Tagged ‘citizen participation’
Business - Written Monday, April 13, 2009 by Paul Artiuch - 0 Comments
In my search for green-minded grassroots community innovations I have come across an initiative called “Incredible Edible Todmorden”, a scheme that is promoting local food growing in a central British town of 17 000 people. The initiative offers interesting lessons as an example of leadership and collaboration as well as a demonstration of the speed in which innovations can spread globally.
Incredible Edible Todmorden was started by two women who decided that more local food should be grown and eaten in their town. The two have rallied the community to help them achieve this goal – a reminder that collaboration needs effective leadership. The town council was persuaded to donate public land. As has the old age home, railroad station, local school and a number of individual landowners. Hundreds of volunteers have been mobilized to help with the creation of gardens and orchards. Local businesses are contributing resources as well. The initiative is supported by a community website complete with RSS enabled news bulletins, blogs and maps. All in all, the initiative is an effective example of grassroots collaboration.
The story is even more interesting due to the speed in which it has spread. The initiative was started less than a year ago and picked up by a local newspaper. This quickly generated a story in the regional newspaper and ended up on the radar of the nationwide U.K. media. The BBC is in Todmorden this week shooting a documentary. Blogs like TreeHugger also picked up the story and quickly publicized it to millions of readers. The result is a number of similar initiatives that have been, or are being, launched across the world. One of the most advanced is in the nearby city of Huddersfield.
Although the local food growing movement is unlikely to solve the climate crisis, it may prove to be one of the puzzle pieces that will help society tackle this complex problem. Most importantly, it seems to be a cause that galvanizes certain communities into action. The combination of leadership and collaboration exhibited by Incredible Edible Todmorden provides a model while the various media forms have allowed for that model to be publicized and replicated across the world. It is likely that other successful grassroots initiatives will go through a similar process, and when added up, will amount to a significant reduction in our environmental impact.
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