Steal to Your Heart’s Content: The Incredible Edible Project

Thievery in Todmorden!


We just heard about a town in West Yorkshire, England where you can steal to your hearts content without being arrested!!!!! Steal fresh fruits and vegetables, that is.

The town of Todmorden has created Incredible Edible, a program to make their town completely food self-sufficient by 2018. Citizens plant fruits and vegetables in approximately 70 large fruit and vegetable beds planted around the town. Broccoli is planted by the railroad station in honor of a much-beloved recently deceased ticket master, raspberries, apricots and apples grown next to the canal towpath, beans and peas are planted by the area college, strawberries at the doctors office, cherries at the health club, mint, thyme, fennel and rosemary in the supermarket parking lot and yes, carrots, kale and lettuce next to the police station!

Any idea that Incredible Edibles is strictly yuppie program is dispelled when realizing a third of the local population does not own a car, one-fifth of the population does not have central heating. Homeowner prices range from approximately $75,000 US to 1.25 million US. The idea has become so popular that 21 other towns in the UK are developing pilot programs and interest has been reported as far afield as Hong Kong and New Zealand.

The project co-founders report it took about six months and a myriad of signs posted encouraging fruit and vegetable theft” for the community to catch on. Now children grab bits of fennel to much on their way to school and it is common to see someone walking through town with a tub ready to pick up his or her lunch! Not only does Incredible Edible encourage people to grow their own vegetables, it offers lessons in pickling and preserving, courses in bread-making. It also encourages support and development of local businesses.

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