Incredible Edible Oxford, a volunteer- led group of locals planting edibles in parks and encouraging others to do so in their own spaces city-wide, is launching a new series of community courses in the city.
The courses will be taught at OxGrow, a community-run garden in South Oxford, part of the Hogacre Eco Park, and will cover skills such as building a cold frame, designing your own edible space, making compost from your waste food and more technical skills such as building a cob oven, integrated designs and edible food forests.
“We are excited to launch this new range of courses to support the community of Oxford in building skills and enthusiasm for urban gardening. The hope is that more and more of Oxford will become edible, and that Oxford’s people can become more resilient and knowledgeable in their food supply,” said Rachel Hammond, Founder of Incredible Edible Oxford.
Running for 3 years now, the Incredible Edible Oxford group has 3 edible beds in Florence Park and works with the Council to consider planting edibles and plants for bees, bugs and wildlife. Edible landscaping design is offered to suit any space and budget – from a balcony to a dozen-acre garden. Integrated design is a strong feature, to maximise edible and other yields, and to increase biodiversity. Last year Oxford volunteers grafted 100 fruit trees, which will be planted around the city and used in designs. This year the target is at least double that.
“Rather than manage multiple sites itself, Incredible Edible wants to inspire and empower residents across Oxford to grow their own food and build resilience in communities – by improving knowledge and skills in gardening and other areas of self-sufficiency,” said Rachel Hammond.
“With obesity on the rise across the UK and current agricultural methods using 10 units of energy to produce 1 unit of food energy, people need to understand that the current system is not sustainable and that reducing food miles to their own front-yard or neighbourhood park can benefit themselves, their communities and the whole system.”
Inspired by the original group in Todmorden in West Yorkshire, there are now hundreds of Incredible Edible groups around the country and the world – from Hong Kong to Somerset.