Vegetable tourism, Trojan horses and sticky economies

Pam Warhurst is in New Zealand sharing the message of edible landscapes. In 2009 she and her friend Mary cleaned up a piece of waste land in her Yorkshire Town of Todmorden and planted veggies. This started a movement that is now world-wide.


Food grown in public spaces in Tormorden (image source here)

In her interview with Kim Hill Pam relates how Todmorden has been transformed through the three related sets of action – what Pam calls three plates. The first is community action, manifest in planting food in spaces on berms, in front of shops, anywhere that a plant can take hold. The food is free for others to take – and generally people respect and get engaged to give back.

The second plate is education – reviving the arts of growing, cooking and preserving food. These activities can be integrated into most curriculum areas in schools. The third plate is business. Ironically providing free food for people stimulates food enterprise. Farmers see niches opening up and diversify into, for example, cheese making, cafes start to sell local food. Now Todmorden is benefitting from what Pam calls vegetable tourism. She calls this a “sticky economy” because people chose to spend more money locally.

Pam tells her story and explains the three plates in this Ted Talk.

Pam is a superb communicator and exemplifies an inclusive approach that engenders engagement rather than alienation. There are lots of things that we shouldn’t be doing in this world, but she prefers to focus on the positive things we can do – the small actions all of us can take. “People respond positively to being positive”. Her journey has taught Pam the power of small actions.

If we could believe in the power of small actions… that is the thing that has come out of this, we all have actions that we can do collectively, if we join up the dots, create  something much bigger.

Pam is spending time in Christchurch, a city being recreated after the recent earthquakes. Nearby Geraldine has embraced the edible landscapes kaupapa with locals finding all sorts of spaces to grow food.

running duck cafe garden

Garden’s outside Geraldine’s “Running Duck Cafe”

For Pam, its all about working together to make a better world.

“Growing people’s self belief that they can create a kinder world using the Trojan horse of food.”



1 thought on “Vegetable tourism, Trojan horses and sticky economies

  1. Pingback: Growing the sticky economy | Local Food Northland

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