Tony, the chef at Todmorden High School, has had a long weekend. On Saturday he was cheerfully dishing up casseroles to around 200 people at the Pennine town's Hippodrome theatre. On Sunday afternoon he was ladling up a choice of leek and potato or pea and ham soup at the town's informal harvest festival.
Tony's one of dozens of people who gave up their weekend to celebrate three years of a movement that, one bite at a time, is all about changing the world. In a down to earth, get-your-hands-dirty sort of way, people are changing the way they socialise, learn and do business.
At Incredible Edible Todmorden they don't tend to talk about revolutions. They talk a lot about celebrations and kindness, about sharing and rediscovering the lost arts of growing and making. Don't be fooled, though: the simple language of food contains something much bigger.
In Todmorden they think about food metres, not food miles. On Sunday I was one of the first to try ice cream made from locally produced cream, eggs and honey. I ate chicken and vegetable biryani seasoned with herbs grown just outside the local Indian restaurant.
Todmorden isn't the only town that's rediscovered local food production. There are now more than 20 Incredible Edible places in the UK, and any number of others that don't have the Incredible Edible badging but are part of a wider local food movement. Some, like Heeley City Farm in Sheffield, have been going for many years. Others, like the Transition Town movement, are more recent. What's eye-opening about Todmorden is the way it is catching on across a whole community.
People have found that when they put edible plants in their front gardens, they get to know their neighbours, building community one conversation at a time. When they grow fruit trees at the local schools children learn life skills, not just how to achieve qualifications. And when market traders stock local produce they build the local economy, creating business transactions that aren't governed by global markets.
All these challenge the impersonal, managerial, bottom-line-driven approach to life that devalues both society and business.
Perhaps even more radically, when local people choose to plant on neglected spaces and bring them back to life, it challenges irresponsible and unproductive land ownership - public as well as private - and asserts that the value belongs in the use of the land, not just in the title deeds.
This is happening at a time when the major political parties are looking increasingly desperate in their efforts to find an overarching narrative to distinguish themselves from each other and prove their relevance to voters.
Politicians fret and bicker about whether Britain is broken and what should be done. In Todmorden, they're seeding relationships and civic pride. Educationalists tear their hair out over how to engage disaffected youth. In Todmorden, young people are learning that they have a valued place in society. Economists fire theories at each other while demanding austerity from the rest of us. In Todmorden, they're working to create sustainable markets.
On Saturday evening at the Hippodrome Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University, London, argued forcefully that the system that has brought us cheap, industrial-scale food for the last 70 years is now falling apart.
A system that was supposed to create efficiencies of scale and end hunger and poverty has brought us new diseases: by 2050 obesity and diabetes will cost the UK £50bn a year. Across the world, food production is under threat. In rainswept Todmorden, it may well be the shortage of water in other parts of the globe that forces up the price of imported food.
The magic of Incredible Edible Todmorden is that ordinary people are discovering that they aren't helpless in the face of global turmoil. They don't have to leave the answers to the experts. With small and apparently insignificant actions, they can change the way they engage with the world around them and discover their own worth in the process.
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