The Red Lane site in Breightmet in Bolton is a small secluded green area in the middle of the Estate, the site itself is split up into raised beds that are allocated to members of the community so that they are able to grow their own food. We were invited over to the site today by Lisa Forrest a community development worker for housing charity Bolton at Home to deliver a potato growing workshop, and seed bomb making for the kids.
Despite the rain over a dozen people turned out, rolled their sleeves up and mucked in. The rain intensified, but too did peoples determination to continue gardening, by the end of the session four raised beds were filled with main crop potatoes that had been planted with a great lever of care and attention. Whilst the adults planted spuds I worked with the kids making seed bombs. The youngster had a similar level of enthusiasm as the adults did and they made dozens and dozens of seed bombs which will hopefully help to brighten up the estate when they are thrown and planted. Everyone who attended seemed to really enjoy the mornings gardening and seed bomb making, lots of lively conversation about gardening and growing, and a few new connections with between local residents. The serious side to this is that many folk in this part of Bolton are at the forefront of cuts to social provision as part of the Governments ideologically imposed austerity measures, our aim within all of this is to help and encourage local residents to grow food in their yards and gardens, or on sites like Red Lane, in a situation like this, whatever peoples financial circumstances are they will at least have access to their own locally grown high quality organic produce, which will keep families healthy and provide some well being whatever the economic circumstances are, and that is a very powerful and emancipatory outcome for all who pick up the seeds and trowels that are on offer to them.