Propagating Success? The Incredible Edible Model


Photo by Sludge G / CC BY

Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire were commissioned by Incredible Edible Ltd to undertake research to understand the effectiveness of the Incredible Edible model of community development.

Context and Rationale

The Incredible Edible (IE) model of using locally grown food to help communities rethink their lifestyles has been applied in Todmorden, a town of around 15,000 people, for the past eight years. Through creating edible landscapes, passing on skills and supporting local food businesses, the IE model is widely perceived to have played a key role in transforming the town both through economic uplift and by improving everyday living environments. Its success has also stimulated the establishment of over 100 other IE groups across the UK and overseas. This has been achieved not with the help of existing democratic or private structures, but by volunteers living within the town.

The overarching aim of this project was to evaluate the potential of the IE model as a community-led framework for improving social, economic and environmental well-being. In so doing, it explored the potential of IE to provide a new approach to catalyse and facilitate community flourishing, and develop recommendations attuned to the current era of public sector austerity. The project also set out to test, refine and disseminate a practical self-evaluation framework for the benefit of other IE communities. The research was funded by the Ashden Trust and the Nisa Making a Difference Locally fund via Incredible Edible Ltd.


The research findings can be downloaded here:

SusfoodNW IET Evaluation Summary Report

SusfoodNW IET Evaluation Full Report

For more details contact Adrian Morley at