As with any event they require lots of organizing, phone calls, emails, conversations and texts, our open day was no exception to this rule, and we have Community Development worker Chris Wood to thank for pulling this event together, despite a full on start earlier in the day Chris did a sterling job of putting the event jigsaw together and ensuring all of the pieces fitted and worked together.
Willow Hey open for connection
I declined to write the words ‘open for business’ as a heading because what we doing here is not a business, it is about making connections with the local community and linking up community members with other community members who take up our offer to help them grow food in their gardens/yards. At today’s event around half a dozen people who live on the local estate showed an interest in growing food in their gardens, this is a great start for us and will be visiting these potential new growers during the next fortnight to check out their growing spaces and put together and appropriate growing kit and support for them. We also spoke with a local refugee and asylum seeker group who are based fairly close to the site, we will be working with their service users by providing them with a growing space and use of our tools, luckily for this group one or two of the men come from agrarian backgrounds in Iraq and Iran and will be able support others working on this communal bed.
All pull together
One thing that I really loved about today’s event was the willingness of all who attended to get involved in today’s proceedings, Chief Executive of Bolton at Home Jon Lord OBE helped to man the barbeque, Neighbourhood managers rolled their sleeves up and mucked in, and generally, if anybody needed a hand with anything people offered without being asked. It was also great to see members of the Daisy Dell community turn up and support the event, a big thank you to Anthony Holt and the Daisy Dell folk.
On site today we had bouncy castles, free food, face painting and a few surprise gardening activities including sowing seeds into pots for the kids to take home and grow on their windowsills, this is part of our positive pester power methodology, the way this works is that the kids really take to growing after they have sowed the seeds and watched the them sprout and grow, then they pester their mums and dads to grow food in their gardens, we then step in and offer support getting their garden up and running, a bit naughty on our part but this method is one way of getting people to grow their own food at home, and when you think about the wider global picture where food is concerned it is vital that many of the next generation know how to grow food.
Seed bombs away
In the late afternoon after all of the kids had eaten we began mixing the seed bomb cake mix, which is basically a large two gallon tub filled with clay powder, soil and thousands of wildflower and perennial garden flower seeds. We purposefully waited until the kids had eaten due to the messiness of seed bomb making. A the end of the session the seed bombs where divided up amongst those who had made them, and will be scattered across the local estate in due course.
Urban Chicken keeping
Another activity that proved popular with the young people was going onto our site and feeding the chickens, in the space of a couple of hours our ladies had become a major attraction on site and were visited by practically ever person at the event. Our Hens will provide us with eggs that will be distributed to two local community groups who feed homeless people in the area.
I think it is safe to say that today’s event went really well, lots of happy inspired kids who have the growing bug, and a bit of chill out time for their Mums and Dads. From our end of things we have hooked up with members of the local community because of the event and will begin working with them to help them grow their own food at home. And before I pour myself a glass of home brewed Ale and chill out I would like to thank all of the following people for making today a lively and enjoyable event:, Chris, Hannah, Shauna. Jon Lord, Urban Outreach, Daisy Dell Community, and of course not forgetting our own Bolton Urban Growers team: Jean Urmston, Landrover Dave, Wynn Hutch., love y’all!