Pam Warhurst gives some further insights into the IN project
What it's not is a generic community empowerment model. We've had enough of those!. What it is is a different way of testing is our model.
A model that says we have a missing piece of a future plan. It's called putting people back into the driving seat.
Yes a helpful framework for life created through policies that allow people to realise their true potential to be a force for good.
Yes technology that can help us live well in resource constrained times.
But unless people can see their way to being part of a kinder solution, we will never achieve what our children deserve. A fairer, kinder world.
We are testing a model that says using the language of food we are investing in people's capacity to see they have powers and hence responsibilities to be a part of a solution.
We started with the most obvious first step. Applying it to where we live. Our towns, villages and boroughs.
Learning lessons, challenging policies and myths that were no longer relevant for the world we want to live in. Not waiting for the powers that be to tell us what the changes need to be, but demonstrating them for ourselves.
Grassroots initiation of a change to the framework of our lives. In health, in community development, in education and planning.
Eight years on this is our network of incredible edible communities.
It must continue to grow and flourish and it will. The next phase is to test the model at a regional level.
Using the three plates of community, learning and business with local food at their centres we are testing what a local authority has to do to help their citizens realise a new form of prosperity. Health, wealth and happiness without the obsession for money. Kindness and care for each other normalised throughout everyday actions. Markets, with their low level entry cost ,as incubators for new food enterprises.
A public realm available for all to grow on and feed their family at an affordable price. An education offer that invests in our future urban farmers. A procurement policy that supports local food businesses.
This is happening in Wigan, a borough of 300,000.
The same in our prison system. Building on the pioneering work of GOOP in the NW where growing and processing local food is integral to the prisoners rehabilitation into the community, we will support the roll out of this programme across the north, building edible bridges back into the communities from which the inmates came.
North West prisons are already growing on their estate, teaching horticultural skills to inmates and in some cases selling the produce to cafes and staff. The start of something so simple it's remarkable.
There will be other sectors.
There will be other dots to join.
We don't start with nothing. I just love double negatives.
Across the north groups, businesses and organisations are pioneering this local food agenda.
They are ahead of the powers that be, but not for long.
Through Incredible North we can share our passion and our stories . We can amplify our actions to create a movement of its time so that together we can help redefine prosperity.