Down at the supermarkets things are real tight for many folk as they try their best and within their means to feed their families on their take home monthly income. In real terms the price of food has rocketed during the last decade whilst peoples take home salaries have remained flat and static and in many cases have fallen which has meant less money to spend on food. But despite these problems their are millions of houses across the UK with gardens and backyards that are capable of growing and producing a sizable amount of fresh fruit and vegetables within their walls. And it is this ready and workable solution to the food problem which we are engaging in here in Breightmet in Bolton where a good deal of the social housing stock have quite sizable gardens that are capable providing residents with an abundance of their own freshly grown food free of pesticides, grown in their own back yard. This piece of collaborative work is being funded and supported by housing charity Bolton at Home and delivered by ourselves Bolton Urban Growers. Between both ourselves and Bolton at Home there is a strong emphasis on community based regeneration and the development of local food growing hubs and networks, such as the Red Lane Allotment site
Making a start
On Thursday the 27th of March on a cold damp morning the ‘Get growing Greenroyd’ Project began, the aim of the project is simple, to help and support residents living on Greenroyd Avenue in Breightmet to grow their own food in the gardens. The particular house that we are working on initially is currently the headquarters of the charity Heartlift and is typical of other houses in terms of its size and the layout of its garden. The garden itself is blank canvas consisting of two grassed areas which divide the two houses used by the Heartlift project. For the best part of the day we planted a few fruit trees and bushes, assembled the small garden greenhouse and sowed dozens of vegetable seeds into trays. Jamie a local resident from the Avenue helped me to dig out the spaces for one of the plum trees and the square bed for the gooseberries.
Once we have this initial garden set up our job then is to connect with all of the other residents on the row and offer to build them a vegetable garden with a choice of fruit trees free of charge,we will be ably assisted throughout the project by the Estate Rangers who work within the local community in Breightmet. For those who do take up our offer, they will learn now skills, they will be able to provide their families with high quality locally grown produce which can only have a beneficial effect on the health and well being of residents in these difficult and transient economic times.