Wet it certainly was the morning of my visit to Incredible Farm, but out of such unpromising conditions emerged a strange, seemingly enchanting, beauty. Quite in keeping with this magical place up among the Pennine Hills.
Incredible Farm was created by Nick Green in 2010 with the aim of teaching small-scale commercial food growing and marketing skills to young people. The farm is just outside Todmorden, out along the road to Rochdale. It’s a wild and woolly place, with the one acre or so site more moorland bog than fertile plain. But, it serves its purpose with Nick able to afford access to it try out his progressive ideas, and a steady stream of young visitors now coming along via the surrounding local education authorities to learn about real farming.
Nick and his small team of largely, but not exclusively, unpaid workers also aim is to produce food with minimal impact on the environment. Using permaculture methods they work to create and maintain an intact ecosystem of food production which is more predictable, less damaging and more sustainable than conventional farming. Over 150 fruit trees have been planted in this boggy spot, along with numerous edible plants, whilst creating community growing beds, installing three commercial sized large polytunnels and introducing a number of beehives. The site also has several innovative design features – partly enabled by its unique Pennine location – such hot beds, a passive solar greenhouse, Hugel beds and many novel plants. Within all of this are ducks and chickens and a trio of Jersey cows – one having been conceived and born there! The food produced by the growing team led by Mike Smith is sold via the on site shop
Incredible Farm is an incredible place for people to learn. It takes its name from the now famous Incredible Edible movement of Todmorden, and indeed was originally formed as a project within Incredible Edible Todmorden. Its appearance may be part comical, but the intent is deadly serious. A place driven by the desire for a better world. For his efforts, Nick was awarded runner-up spot in the Lloyd’s Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015…..a distinction which earned £6000 towards the continued development of Incredible farm and a fabulous recognition of the work being done here. Watch this space for news of Nick’s ambitious long-term plans!
You will also find Nick on the walls of Dean Clough Mills Galleries in Halifax as part of the Unlikely Heroes exhibition on show there from 11th February to 23rd April 2017. Opening private view is 12 noon to 2:00 pm on the 11th Feb. Do come along if you can. All welcome. Plus Nick and Incredible Farm are featured in the book of the same name which documents my visits to alternative farmers and growers in hard copy. It is currently available at a pre-launch discount, see the book webpage.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]