Mytholm Works – a growing future

The current plannning application by Setbray Properties and Belmont Homes, for a hotel and supermarket on the Mytholm Works site, isn’t the only game in town.

A long term vision for affordable, sustainable food in Calderdale

IncredibleEdible Mytholm is currently applying for funding to cover the costs of commissioning a business plan, to find out about the economic viability of our ideas for a community-owned, not-for-profit sustainable food business on the site.

These are the brainchild of  Dr Nik Green, who last October took time out from managing the Incredible Farm market garden in Walsden to talk about his ideas for a community-owned development at Mytholm works that would provide a “farm gate” retail outlet for locally produced food, alongside a permaculture market garden,  an apprenticeship scheme for market gardeners, and an ecohotel and tourist attraction that could rival Cornwall’s Eden Project.

Nik Green (& loganberry bush) outside Incredible Farm, Walsden

Nik’s long- term vision is based on the fact that we’re facing a future of rising food prices, and food shortages in the global south that will limit the export of luxury foods to rich countries like the UK.

This will make crop farming and horticulture in Calderdale more profitable and bring back into production the roughly two thousand acres of productive arable land on the tops that farmers have put to grassland over the last 50 years – simply because the era of cheap food made crop farming and horticulture uneconomic here.

Inspired by these ideas, 28 Hebden Bridge residents got together towards the end of 2012 and formed IncredibleEdible Mytholm, with the aim of developing these ideas and turning them into reality.

You can listen to Nik talking about the long term economics of the proposed development, the prospects for new local jobs and skills, the vital need for a sales outlet for local farm produce, and the widespread academic and popular interest in food sustainability issues that the development would tap into.

Ben Oubridge, coordinator of HebVeg, said

“I can’t speak for the whole group but I think as co-ordinator for HebVeg and in my role looking for possible new growing sites and partnerships, it sounds like a very good idea.  I would certainly support any food growing project over a supermarket development. In my opinion, jobs in our energy/money constrained world are only useful if they help to provide things local people really need.  I doubt if supermarket and hotel jobs will do that.”

Nik sees the Mytholm Works permaculture market garden as including aquaculture – here’s a video about this method of food growing.

Here are some photos of Incredible Farm in Walsden, where we recorded Nik’s talk

You can find more about Incredible Farm, Walsden on their website.

Updated 10th March 2013 to include information about the formation and aims of IncredibleEdible Mytholm

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