Context 165 - August 2020

24 C O N T E X T 1 6 5 : A U G U S T 2 0 2 0 of food poverty stalks the town again. Kindness and community have been needed more than ever. A partnership with the food-waste social enterprise The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) and generous local businesses that could not open has resulted in The Kindness Hub. A for- mer shop and café has been repurposed as a pay-as-you-feel shop run by volunteers. It has been open every day to support the redistribu- tion of food waste, bringing affordable meals to people who need it and preventing tonnes of food going to landfill. In April alone TRJFP intercepted enough food to make a million meals and ‘feed bellies not bins’.The Incredible Edible Kindness Hub has been a key part of that. Since May, another three pay-as-you-feel shops have opened in and around Todmorden, serving the rural areas too, and the network of four PAYF shops is helping to feed the town. The Unitarian Church still acts as the focal point. Here every two weeks, Incredible Edible volunteers meet, collect tools, assign tasks and head off to weed, dig, clip and litter pick. At the end of the shift, they meet at the church again and enjoy a big communal meal. At Christmas, this communal eating, a cel- ebration of the food that is being grown and of community and togetherness, is done on an even bigger scale. The church doors are thrown open to anyone who wants to come and join, cook, wash up or just be part of something special on Christmas Day, where no one has to be without, or on their own. The Unitarian Church also hosts festivals, performances and community meetings, and people are married there again.This old building is now so well used and well loved that it even has a local nickname The Pointy Place (because of its magnificent spire). Todmorden Unitarian Church is the living cultural resource that we want all our historic buildings to be. Though redundant, the Unitarian Church is not jobless. It is a working, loved community hub. The idea of open-source food, grown by the community for everyone in the community, started there and has spread across the world. As the doers and champions of building conservation, there is an ask for you. Can the buildings that you look after, and bring life back to, be more? When you survey, visit and advise, can you spot the potential beyond the fabric of the building? Can a brave or lateral piece of thinking about what this building can do help it to live? Could choosing something different from a recreation of period-specific themes or ornamental planting mean that the building’s curtilage could be productive? Does your building have potential for growing food for the community and being a living, growing cultural resource? Big changes grow from small seeds. It would be wonderful if you could help plant some. Ceinwen Paynton is an Incredible Edible volunteer. Her day job is a consultancy manager for the National Trust. www.incredible-edible- Students at the railway station growing beds Further reading Warhurst, Pam, and Dobson, Joanna (2014) Incredible! Plant veg, grow a revolution , Matador, ISBN 978 1 783064 87 8