Much of the social housing in Breightmet in Bolton is situated on a hill and is quite isolated from the rest of Bolton and its services, one of the services that I have touched upon before that is sadly lacking in the area is access to fresh fruit and vegetables, with the nearest supermarket being a car drive away as opposed to a walk, and with high unemployment on the estate a great many families do not own a car to reach this supermarket so subsequently they rely on the local estate shop which majors in scratch cards and alcohol with little or no fresh food for sale, and if the estate shop is off the menu then the only other option is to pick up the phone and and order a junk food take away from one of the many take away deliver services in the town.
Breightmet got Soul
But despite the fact there is ill health and all sorts of other problems and issues on the estate, there is a definite thing happening here that we used to call ‘Community’ back in the day in Salford where I grew up. I dont exaggerate when I say that everyone knows each other on the estate, and many folk are supportive of each other on a day to day basis helping each other out with the basics. Since we began the project on the estate I have had people pull me up on the street and ask if they can get involved and grow food in their gardens, there is a real buzz on the estate at the moment where food growing is concerned, we are currently working with seventeen families by providing them with growing resources and ongoing horticultural support and advice. Once Breightmet fully gets it about the benefits of growing food, as some residents have already done, I can really see this resourceful community standing a chance of addressing some of the stuff that has been imposed on them by a degenerate and anti-human economic model that currently dominates and controls how we exchange our skills for goods and services.
Our work today
So, back to our work in Breightmet today, much of today has been about ferrying soil around the estate in wheel barrows to the different growers houses and preparing large pots laced with a variety of herb seeds. In the afternoon I was joined on the wheel barrow and shovel by Neighbourhood manager Tony Cottam of local housing charity Bolton at Home who came up with the idea for this project, and has funded it from its inception in 2014, Tony is also responsible for the proliferation of micro wild flower meadows that are dotted about the estate which have added some much needed colour to the area and food and forage for the pollinating insects who help to maintain localized Ecosystems.
We have now got to the stage where our seventeen growers have a good deal of the resources needed to grow some of their own food, our work will intensify over the next week or so to insure that all growers have fully functioning raised beds up and working. And as we do all of this it is timely for us that all of the pound shops and discount shopping places in town have started to drastically reduce the price of their seeds, plants and other gardening related stuff, so I will be visiting a great many of them during the next week or so and looking out for resources that will be useful for the project, The logic here is simple, a two kilogram sack of seed potatoes that is reduced in price to 99p will provide high nutritional cleanly grown organic potatoes for local residents, it will enable us to provide around a dozen families with potato grow bags at a very low cost with maximum benefits.