The Edible Map project was hosted in Peterborough, where I ran daily walks from the 16th – 23rd of September. It was the culmination of over a month of work that involved the mapping of Peterborough city centre. First using digital maps (Google, Bing, Open Street Map), then ground-triuthing, I find all available spaces in the city that could support food growing. From this I draw a new ‘Edible Map’ of the city, which populates it with food producing practices. This event was planned to coincide with the ‘Harvest Weekend’ event at Metal.
The event consisted of 16 walks 2 hour walks over eight days, attended by around 80 people (four to eight per walk). During the walks, I use the edible to engage with walkers about my vision for the city. However, the idea of the edible city soon empowers walkers who quickly take over the conversation, bringing their own ideas and reflecting on how they use the city. As the walks conclude, I record the conversations and excerpts from the walker conversations are transcribed below.
“It would great if it looked like there was more life in the city more opportunities for plants to grow when you see trees and plants it looks lovely and to have more of that and to be able to go up on that rooftop and look down and see more green I’d love it”
“Yeah it’s interesting it seems more possible now I’ll have another walk round looking at it from a different point of view, definitely”
“its easier to buy a mobile phone in the centre of Peterborough than it is fresh produce and actually I think there are a lot of other towns and cities like that around”
“We’re prepared to eat things differently yes but we need expert advice on trying new things and what things work and what things are appropriate”
“I think also once you’ve converted a top multi-storey car park … once its kind of in the city centre and there’s potatoes and beans growing … then that’s the visual point of seeing it, you don’t have to persuade or explain or justify”
The press release for the event:
“Can you imagine a city centre of rooftops gardens, vegetable growing, and beekeeping? A space where food growing is an everyday occurance?
Mikey Tomkins has drawn a new ‘Edible Map’ of Peterborough that highlights the many hidden potential spaces for growing food. During September he will be leading public walks exploring how Peterborough city centre could be transformed to encourage and support local ‘urban agriculture’.”