When we came up with the idea of Bolton Urban Growers it was really about two things, firstly that cleanly grown organic food could be grown in abundance within urban areas, and secondly that people from low or no income families could have access to cleanly grown organic food which is usually out of their economic price range, having been both low waged and unemployed myself on a number of occasions I know how difficult it is to buy good quality fruit and vegetables with small amounts of cash, we believe that all people should have access to cleanly grown fruit and vegetables regardless of the salary, food is a human right not a consumer choice.
For the best part of a decade now we have been growing some of our own food in our back garden, which is on a small council estate in Great Lever in Bolton, we started out with potatoes, onions and courgettes, and now grow a diverse range of fruit and vegetables and we also keep three chickens which provide us with eggs on a daily basis and help to keep our soil in a fertile condition.
We employ permaculture principles in our garden which has resulted in increased bird and wildlife activity, the soil has picked up considerably too since using locally sourced free mulchs, and a green tea mulch that i have been using on my herb patch. It makes good sense in an age of dwindling resources to use whatever is about locally, in our case we have sourced horse manure, large logs, organic material for mulch, and even some willow in the local park which I have looked after and coppiced. for the last three years.
How we started
In 2011 we obtained a small amount of funding that enabled us to buy growing starter kits for around a dozen people living in and around the estates of Great lever, this equipment enabled struggling families to grow some of their own potatoes, courgettes and salad stuff during the growing season. Now that we have obtained the use of two disused tennis courts as a community growing area, we intend to roll out our work and get people from the council estates and social housing into growing their own food, interestingly enough we were recently given the use of a small quarter acre woodland situated in the ground of a local pub which is within walking distance of our house, we will be looking at grafting apple varieties onto some of the trees once we begin our work there.