Bolton Urban Growers are working to address food poverty in the most direct and practical way that we think possible, and that is by helping people to grow their own food in their yards and gardens, for us this isn’t a short term plug in the dam of a collapsing corporate capitalism and global banking system, we are doing this as a long term project to help people transition through to a community based growing and home production model, which in turn will bring new and diverse ways of working and providing the resources that we need to survive on a daily basis. This is something that we believe in strongly and echoes through out our practical workshops and in our outreach work where we work with members of the community by showing them directly how to make something that will be of use to them as a human being, our work with NACRO provided a great outlet for giving long term persistent offenders practical and useful skills in the ‘Sow and Grow’ project that we delivered in East Manchester. Here we spent three months showing residents how to grow food in their garden, how to then pickle cook and preserve it, we baked bread, made butter, collected fruit and herbs locally and made healthy drinks and cordials, made rocket stoves and cooked on them, and studied herbs that were useful to health, We also do these activities with our growers in our local area, both on our southfields site in Great Lever, and in the gardens and yards of growers.
Self reliant communities: a practical response to ideologically imposed austerity
Austerity is much more than cuts to social provision, it is the biggest transfer of wealth from the poor to rich in history, it is nothing more than common or garden theft that is happening right now under our noses, but with all of the popular political parties in bed with the banks and the Markets there is no immediate political outlet for stopping this, but on the upside there is a great opportunity to be had in our time by hooking up with our friends, Neighbours and family and start to provide for our own collective needs through food growing and growing other vital useful resources that can be shared, swapped and traded. Your garden will provide for you much better than corporate capitalism does, it wont hold you to ransom with price hikes based on lowlife market traders gambling on the price of food staples, neither will it fill you full of unnecessary artificial additives and E numbers, and it wont make you work long hours to be able to pay the basic human right of eating fresh fruit and vegetables.
Doing it yourself
Making things from the resources that you grow isnt a difficult task, its like anything else, you learn how to make it, and each time it should improve with your efforts, from my end of things I have swapped, bartered, traded and sold wine, ale, cough syrup, herbs, willow, fruit bush cuttings, seeds and plants, Ive even done a workshop where I was paid in part with a huge sack of organic vegetables which was actually worth more to me in terms of real value than if I had received money only, to coin a well used cliche, this stuff isnt rocket science,and if I can do this anyone can, and when you have learned how to grow and make something, pass these skills onto someone else.
Our other contribution towards the development of localized home grown economies will begin later in the summer when we hope to start up local markets in the car park of our Southfields site in Great Lever, these markets will allow local people who make things at home to come and set up a stall and sell and trade things that they have made at home, if we establish these markets on a regular basis we believe that others in the community may come forward and show us their wares, if we dont try this it wont happen, its as simple as that!