I Arrived at Greenroyd Avenue in Breightmet just before nine o’clock today and immediately set about organizing and filling seed trays and potting on fruit bushes which will eventually go in peoples gardens should they take up our offer of growing their own food. Time is getting on now with the gardening calender so seed sowing took some priority today and I managed to sow around 200 seeds and plant around a dozen fruit bushes. Tony Cottam and Lisa Forrest of Bolton at Home who are funding and initiating the project due to one of their core objectives being how to best deal with food poverty turned up for a brew and a catch up, this went really well as Bolton at Home are a forward thinking Housing charity who promote independence and empowerment within their community projects, which from my end of things having worked in Community development on a number of occasions before, is a really exciting and refreshing thing to see and be part of, and in many ways is a revolutionary approach in Community development as it doesn’t create a culture of dependency and paternalism between community groups and providers as past models have tended to when outside of their theoretical realm. After the brew and catch up, I dug a hole and planted a plum tree at the front of the hub house, mainly for propaganda purposes so that it sparks residents into thinking about food and possibly growing their own food.
Looking for new growers
Having spent the first few weeks of this project working on the two hub houses and working with two Greenroyd residents families, its now time to start knocking on doors for new potential growers, the first House I knocked on I was met by an elderly man who said that he tried growing things before but his pet dog had wrecked everything, so I put to him that perhaps we could grow something in the front garden, he politely declined and closed the door slowly, the next two houses I knocked on, nobody was at home, I then knocked on the fourth house and was met by a Jamaican fella who was friends of the residents who lived in the house, he promised to pass on a message to them when they were at home about our growing project and said that they would probably be up for it which was music to my ears. And with almost perfect timing I then met the estate rangers who I have been wanting to meet since the project began, they carry out gardening and maintenance type work on the estate but are part of a bigger community group that helps unemployed young people out, and boy do these lads work quick! one of our growers Tracey has a concrete post in her garden that needs moving, the estate rangers assessed the situation there and then and are going over tomorrow to remove the concrete post, which means I can then set about putting some raised beds in her garden next week and really get things moving for Tracey and her Son.
Gardening after home time
As all of the kids piled out of the local schools at home time I noticed Jamie’s Daughter walking down the hill and asked her if she and her sister were up for some more gardening, she immediately agreed and we set about sowing cucumber and lettuce seed in their front garden. I have said this before but it certainly worthy of saying again, its is really important in the times that we live in that young people learn how to garden and grow food, it might not be something they end up doing regularly, but at least they will be armed with the knowledge of how to grow food when the time comes. After the girls finished filling the seed trays I gave them both a herb grow pack that they have put on their bedroom windowsills to have as their own mini growing project going on inside the house. Ordinarily I might have suggested that they grow the herbs on the kitchen windowsills, but their keenness and wanting to look after the plants and give them all the due care and attention is more important, it is something that they will remember, watching a seed growing and nurturing it is a powerful thing!