Outside of the work at permanent culture now that I do with my long time friend Michael Thomas, I run a project in Great Lever in Bolton where I live. I have written about this project on a number of occasions explaining how the project came about and how it has gradually developed over the last couple of years. One of the niggling things about the project is that has not really had a name, although Bolton Urban Growers which is myself, my partner and a few friends run the project, it is completely different to Bolton Urban Growers in that it is based on a site, it also differs in the way it works, Bolton Urban Growers is primarily an outreach project that has provided kit and advice for people living in Council and Social housing who are interested in Growing their own food, where as the project that has slowly developed this year on the site of the disused tennis courts in Southfields Pub is mainly about the development of an outdoor accredited learning centre that has permaculture at its organizational and philosophical heart.
Deciding on a name for the project
To reflect this difference the name ‘Community Roots permaculture Project’ seemed like an apt name for the project as it is the local community who we are interacting with and hopefully developing along the way, and in terms of the roots part of the name, we intend this project to be long lasting and to develop a system of connections just like the roots of a tree, this longevity that we hope to create and nurture also reflects in our little motto that we came up with for the project ‘Growing food and strong communities’ the Permaculture project bit of the name is self explanatory on a basic level, we are underpinning all of our work with permaculture practices, and its ethics and principles, on a deeper level we believe that permaculture can provide us with the tools and connections to bring people together and create meaningful social relations between disparate members of the community.
A different way of interacting with permaculture
In some ways our project is very different from other permaculture projects in the UK, firstly our aims are to address food and resource poverty in areas of social deprivation via accessing residents from social and council housing who are struggling to make ends meet under a background of ideologically imposed austerity measures, our second aim is try and generate a practical and working understanding of basic permaculture within our economically excluded communities as means empowerment and mobility, and last but definitely not least we seek to develop and enhance local Eco systems.
Our contribution towards a permanent culture
We are working towards the promotion and proliferation of permaculture within an urban environment, we believe that the setting up of UPC’s (Urban permaculture centres) is a good way of transitioning from the mindless consumption of the fossil fuel age, to a world where we are more mindful of resources, each other, and the planet that sustains us. Our vision of the future would see UPC’s set up within every community as hubs of information, practical learning and community development, these hubs will maintain and develop systems that will in time provide meaningful work, and provide usable resources for the local community whilst being mindful of the local ecology of a given area.