My husband saw a story about this on a German television station.
It seems that in the English towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge (names that could only have been invented by a hobbit), stealth farmers are growing vegetables and telling everyone to pick and eat.
At Eat Local Guide,Vincent Graff quotes a cheerful officer at a police station where vegetables are planted and harvested without the station’s permission.
” ‘I watch ’em on camera as they come up and pick them,’ says desk officer Janet Scott, with a huge grin. It’s the smile that explains everything.
“For the vegetable-swipers are not thieves. The police station carrots — and thousands of vegetables in 70 large beds around the town — are there for the taking. Locals are encouraged to help themselves. A few tomatoes here, a handful of broccoli there. If they’re in season, they’re yours. Free.
“So there are (or were) raspberries, apricots and apples on the canal towpath; blackcurrants, redcurrants and strawberries beside the doctor’s surgery; beans and peas outside the college; cherries in the supermarket car park; and mint, rosemary, thyme and fennel by the health centre.
“The vegetable plots are the most visible sign of an amazing plan: to make Todmorden the first town in the country that is self-sufficient in food.
” ‘And we want to do it by 2018,’ says Mary Clear, 56, a grandmother of ten and co-founder of Incredible Edible, as the scheme is called.” More from Eat Local here.
At the Guardian, reporter Tracy McVeigh is equally enthusiastic:
“There is an extraordinary sign on the outside of a well-tended West Yorkshire vegetable garden: ‘Help yourself.’
“In the same town this summer, people will be helping themselves to sweetcorn growing around the police station. Compost and watering cans seized in drug farm raids find use in the local gardens. And come the autumn a trip to see a local doctor will be a pick-your-own free-for-all as the health centre’s grounds have been turned into orchards.
“Grieving families who want a rose bush at the graveyard are encouraged to think productive – in one case leading to a remembrance garden of broccoli.
“Meanwhile, commuters can snip fresh herbs from the beds and pots outside the railway station. It’s all kept weeded by an army of local people who give up an hour or so on the occasional Sunday. More from the Guardian.