Five questions for the Incredible Edible

Incredible Edible: a grass-roots movement of local agriculture

Cascades is pleased to support innovative, eco-friendly and inspiring projects that it really cares about. This week, our team decided to shed some light on the Incroyables comestibles, an offshoot of the Incredible Edible movement. This grass-roots movement for food self-sufficiency and local agriculture originated in the town of Todmorden, England, and is currently expanding internationally. It’s a truly incredible ecological movement.

The Incredible Edible movement is an urban gardening project that encourages people to grow food locally by planting food around town on community land. Residents are invited to grow food where they choose, and to put up a sign that says “Food for sharing. Take some, it’s free.” The Incredible Edible, or the “Incroyables comestibles” in French, is all about sharing food and knowledge, and spreading the word that gardening is a sustainable action accessible to everyone!

Photo Credits: Laurence-Olivier Néron

Our team interviewed Gabriel Arguin, an active member of Sherbrooke’s Incroyables comestibles. Here are his answers to our five questions.

Gabriel, what you are proposing is a true food-producing revolution. What does this mean for Sherbrooke in practical terms?

The Incroyables comestibles in Sherbrooke was very involved in organizing the event “Sherbrooke, Ville nourricière” (Sherbrooke, food-producing city), which took place in May 2014. The event brought together residents, organizations, municipalities and businesses that are active in urban agriculture. It was a starting point for establishing concrete actions and rallying people around the cause. The results? People have started their own gardening initiatives, and the Incroyables comestibles have gotten involved in the city of Sherbrooke’s gourmet events as a means of promoting the movement.

What kinds of plants can you grow here in Québec without too much trouble? Tomatoes, carrots, squash? (Don’t forget, we don’t all have a green thumb!)

Well, the ones you mentioned are a good place to start for a beginner. They’re relatively easy to grow. But you can also plant herbs, lettuce, sprouts, radishes, a variety of beans, hot and sweet peppers, cabbage, celery, celeriac, broccoli, etc. And don’t forget, you can also grow fruit: strawberries and other types of berries, ground cherries, rhubarb, etc.

Photo Credits: Laurence-Olivier Néron

What advice would you give to people who want to start an “Incroyables comestibles” project in their community? What are the main steps?

First, you have to send out a clear message of commitment: take a picture of yourself with friends in front of your municipality’s sign holding the Incroyables comestibles logo. This photo can be used to encourage people from the community to get involved in the movement.

Once the photo is taken, get out your shovels! Start gardening, and put up the Incroyables comestibles sign: “Food for sharing. Take some, it’s free.” You can plant your garden in front of your house, in a busy roundabout, in a park or a wasted space in front of the bank! (It’s always better to get permission before you start planting!) As more and more people get involved, the movement will become increasingly well known. It will spark an interest in gardening!

In your opinion, what garden vegetable deserves to be better known? (Maybe you could share your favourite recipe!)

I’m more of a fruit lover! I’m a big fan of ground cherries, which you can add to any number of recipes: snacks, salads, a fruit sauce for desserts or even jam! Rhubarb is also very good in pies and jams, although my mother wouldn’t want me to share her recipe!

Do you have an ecological confession to make? Since nobody’s perfect, what would you like to change in your daily routine to help reduce your ecological footprint?

I admit that I don’t always eat vegetables that are in season, and I have a weakness for certain imported products: Asian fruits and foods, and European cheeses.

 

 

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About the Author
Florence Côté-Fortin

Florence joined Cascades as a Communications Advisor in 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications, writing and multimedia – Cooperative program from the Université de Sherbrooke. Curious by nature, her work as a Communications Advisor means that she gets to learn new things about new topics every day. “I enjoy sharing with Cascaders who work in fields other than my own. I believe that this quality is absolutely necessary for anyone working in areas related to communications. I am proud to work for a company that is responsible, people-oriented and transparent. Cascades has a very distinct personality which, in my opinion, makes it a jewel of the Québec business community.”

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