There is a small disused allotment site situated in a small woodland on the Borders of Great Lever and Farnworth, over the last few years I have regularly cycled passed the site and wondered why on earth it wasn’t being used, and who actually owned it. During the late summer, Forward thinking Housing Charity Bolton at Home who have supported much of our work in the local area recently managed to acquire a peppercorn rent lease on the site for a five year period, which is great for us a community food growing group, and great for Bolton at Home who’s priority as a Housing charity is how they can best address food poverty in Bolton.
bringing the site back to life
This site itself as we have found out fairly recently was previously rented to two older men who grew fruit and vegetables and kept chickens on the site, until they were no longer able to do so, the site then remained unused for around five years, and naturally, as you would expect it became somewhat overgrown and jungle like. Four of us began the job of clearing the site this morning, there was an air of good vibes, smiles and eagerness as we stood chatting before starting to clear the site. Despite the intermittent bouts of hard rain and hail, we got a lot of work done today, that old rule of ‘It might be raining but its still warm’ applied to us and the huge amount of brambles on the site were cleared, young saplings and bushes were removed, and the grasses that filled the raised beds on the site cut right back. The work itself has also provided us with resources that we can plough back into the site such as bramble vines and, twigs and branches for kindling, which once dried can feed the site rocket stove for making brews and cooking dinners on, and the grass cuttings which will be used as mulch and added to the compost pile. By the end of the day, the site looked very different from when we started working on it six hours earlier, today has been a great first days work by some inspired and hard working folk, here’s to the birth of a new community project that will not only provide food for local people who are struggling in these dire economic times, but will also provide opportunities for people to learn new skills and help to develop the new local resource based economy of the future.