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  • Writer's pictureLiberty Bollen

Food and conversation is a winning combination for community collaboration!

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Incredible Edible Reading event at RISC in 2023

We are still buzzing 🐝 from all the positive energy in the room at our Incredible Edible Reading community huddle. More than 50 people gathered at RISC on 14th Oct 2023 to share a mix of home-grown, home-made and locally sourced foods and talk about what food and food growing means to us. Together we shared solutions for creating a future Reading that will boost and unite our communities, spark learning opportunities and ignite business collaborations. There’s something very energising about sharing food with others. It’s also clearly a great tactic for bringing Reading’s communities together to talk. 🥕🥕🥕 Check out our gallery for pix of the event below and hear from one of the Incredibles about the story so far and the background to food-growing in Reading. Dave’s introduction certainly helped to set the scene for vibrant discussion and while we can’t quite make all the solutions that emerged happen at once, hearing what the people of Reading want has given us some clear focus for the future.

Here are just a couple of solutions that emerged on the night:

🌱 Make use of all the spaces for growing: the Right to Grow campaign has started to put down roots that could signal meaningful transformation in multiple locations. In Reading, Food4Families has experimented with the use of meanwhile spaces like Lavender Place (see video below) which was incredibly effective at bringing people together to grow food together and flourish in an unlikely spot in the centre of town.

📣 Find ways to cut through the noise: the information flow between related food and food-growing groups and the broader community, especially where policy changes are required is hard going. Effective storytelling can help, and social media posts of your activities build up a connection, like at Newtown Community Garden where plants and critters combine to create a sense of wellbeing and prosperity.

🥬 Start with something small: it’s the Incredible Edible ethos, and it works! We heard from so many of you who have developed growing spaces and enjoyed great successes. We need to know about what you’re doing to get growing and are hungry to fill our plates with your stories. And like Faiz a volunteer for ReadingCAN (👇 see Insta Reel), don’t be afraid to get started, incredible things will happen.

There were so many great ideas shared beyond the snippets above (more fruit trees, seats for cyclists, companion planting!). It’s clear that there is incredible energy to make a difference in Reading and that this can happen through true partnership and cooperation. We’re hugely grateful for the funding that food and food-growing initiatives receive from organisations like Reading Borough Council and the Berkshire Community Fund. This provides essential support for creating stability as we work towards a more climate-friendly and cohesive future for Reading.

There is always more work to be done, so if you want to help or have more to say, please contact us to let us know what you’re thinking.

A HUGE thanks 🙏 to Transition Town Reading, Transition Together, Food4Families, Reading Food Growing Network and Reading Borough Council for helping us to make it happen, and to everyone who participated and made food for us, such as Wolseley Street Bakery and RISE Bakehouse and the Zero Waste Refills Shop at RISC.

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