How Incredible Edible Beeston Are Helping to Tackle Climate Change and Bring the Community Together

Words: Christina Geggus
Photos: Nigel King
Tuesday 12 April 2022
reading time: min, words

In the face of widespread isolation and individual feelings of powerlessness over climate change, and where the supermarket food we eat often comes from far-flung places long out of season, local movements are springing up to fill in the gaps and restore balance. Christina Geggus investigates one such magical group - Incredible Edible Beeston - and finds shoots of hope and community growing in unlikely places…


Bonded by a vision of community-powered food growing is Incredible Edible Beeston. By engaging local people with growing their own food they, with the backing of Broxtowe Borough Council and a variety of local schools and other spaces, have conjured up vibrant and productive community gardening hubs filled with an abundance of fruit and vegetables for everyone to enjoy. 

The Beeston group was founded in October 2019, starting with ‘The City’ site by Middle Street Resource Centre, and they’re now looking after four sites dotted around the town. With the group growing from strength to strength over the last couple of years, they’re hopeful that more unloved community spaces can be transformed and put to growing food.

Populated with pop-up planters, the mini gardens Incredible Edible Beeston have created not only provide neighbourhoods with locally grown produce, but also a place to gather and build connections, both with each other and the natural world. There’s plenty of overlap between members of the group and other local initiatives such as We Dig NG9, and the Broxtowe Green Umbrella, organisers of Broxtowe Green Festival (coming up on Saturday 23 April) - who collectively make Beeston one of Nottinghamshire’s most active and vibrant green communities.

A key volunteer, and the force behind Incredible Edible Beeston’s lively social media pages, Heather Sarno says the small actions that people take in local projects like Incredible Edible can make a massive difference to our environment and to the way they live their lives. “Since getting involved in Incredible Edible, my life has become so much more fulfilling,” she says. “I’ve met some lovely people through the group, along with it now giving me another focus to my life and the opportunity to make a difference”.

The idea of Incredible Edible started in West Yorkshire in 2008 with Pamela Warhurst, Mary Clear, and other enthusiastic locals - a TED Talk later, and with over 100 groups now set up in the UK, and a further 600 groups active world-wide, the Incredible Edible scheme has clearly caught the mood of the moment. Such initiatives help to address a range of issues, from tackling food poverty to aiding social isolation, reconnecting people with nature and improving understanding of the food system, all from a locally driven, place-based perspective.

This uplifting mantra of hyperlocal, accessible, inclusive community food growing provides a hopeful approach to addressing the climate crisis from the bottom up

Volunteers from the group also help out at Hope Nottingham Community Allotment, who also run a food bank helping to get food to those most in need locally. Alongside food growing, Incredible Edible also regularly get involved with activities such as wildflower seed sowing and tree planting. The idea is one that’s both holistic and inclusive in its approach to tackling our big social and environmental issues.

Shaun Dannheimer is another key volunteer within the group who expresses how the scheme has given locals the opportunity to get involved in their community and the lessons it has provided them about the value of locally grown food. “It’s given the people of Beeston an opportunity to grow their own fruit and vegetables, or get involved with our community sites, and our volunteers include a broad range of people,” he explains. “For example, we have some older volunteers who live in care homes close to our sites who no longer have access to their own garden or allotment, and there’s lots of children who volunteer, which has taught many of them about where their food comes from”.

Incredible Edible Beeston has helped to bring the community together and improve local lives in surprising ways. Their uplifting mantra of hyperlocal, accessible, inclusive community food growing provides a hopeful approach to addressing the climate crisis from the bottom up, and it’s winning many hearts and minds in a public that’s increasingly recognising the need for local and natural connection.

Could this idea work outside of a tight knit community like Beeston, with its long-established art community, and grassroots groups like Beeston Civic Society providing such fertile ground for initiatives like Incredible Edible to germinate? Hopefully other areas around Nottingham and its shire will take up the challenge, and prove that any community can work together towards greater food independence. These early efforts are vital seeds of change.

Get in touch with Incredible Edible Beeston on Facebook and Instagram via, or head to their website for help starting your own local group


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