Its that time of the year again when we start hosting and running community growing workshops on various Council estates around Bolton. Today’s workshops are the first of the new growing season and I was keen get started on them. I really enjoy putting on the workshops for two reasons, firstly the communities we work with can gain new and useful skills, and secondly I really enjoy delivering these workshops, because as a teacher I find these informal learning sessions much more fruitful and two-way than the dull and bland conveyer belt delivery methods of the Further and higher education sector that I am qualified to teach in. The first workshop of the day was something that we did last year as a means of both promoting community food growing and supporting our Get growing Greenroyd project This year project worker Charlotte invited people from the estate to attend a basic gardening and food growing workshop which is held in the Yarden at the rear of the New Lane UCAN centre. Today’s workshop involved A question and answer session whilst I casually potted up various different seeds for growers to take home and plant out in their gardens or yards. Like last years gardening workshop it was well attended and people seemed really optimistic and fired up about growing some of their own food.
And of course as part of the gardening workshop there were some great stories from Kate, an Irish lady in her seventies who is a real community champion in the area, she remarked on how close the community in Breightmet is and explained that whilst she was very ill a year or so ago that some of the local youth would knock on her door to check that she was OK, and offered to do her shopping if she needed it, she also told me how she had given school children clean socks to wear after they stepped in a deep puddle outside her house as they made their way to School. After everyone had left the gardening workshop I had a quick brew and a fag and thought to myself that people might not turn up to this workshop on account of the grey skies and cold.
I was surprised when we went to the front of the UCAN centre and there was dozens of kids of different ages waiting for our seed-bomb workshop, initially primary school children had been invited but there was also around half a dozen secondary school pupils there.
With the space of an hour we had made around two hundred plus seed bombs that were cram packed with Wildflower seeds and various annual garden flower seeds, the young people also made around twenty insect houses that were included in the ‘Grow Wild‘ Wildflower seeds that they took home to install in their gardens providing homes for pollinating insects. Such was the keenness and enthusiasm of the young people after the session had ended that many of them got together and walked round the estate with three washing bowls full of seed bombs which they scattered as they made their way up the hill.