The Food Doctor


pic11Steve Jones along with Jean Urmston, Chris Wood and Bolton Urban Growers tackling Food Poverty in Great Lever & Bolto

Steve Jones has a half-acre garden plot on the grounds of the Southfields pub in Green Lane, Great Lever. More than just a keen gardener, he has for some time been promoting the ethos of ‘permanent culture’ (permaculture) in the Great Lever area and beyond. Supported by such organisations as Bolton at Home and Forever Manchester, his aim is to encourage people to recognise the benefits of growing their own food in spaces not normally utilised for anything useful.Fifty year old Steve is a trained teacher and a graduate in Economics who has been growing fruit and vegetables in Bolton for 12 years. He began the permaculture concept with colleague Jean Urmston and Bolton Urban Growers took off very quickly, now having over 60 members. In their first year, even before the economic downturn, they had residents of one street in Breightmet growing their own food and year two those residents were trading with each other. With further funding coming from the Bolton Interfaith Council the Bolton Urban Growers (BUG) soon had twelve ‘growers’ in Great Lever and are seeking furtherfunding for people with suitably sized gardenplotstokeeptheirownchickens.

The economic downturn was a stark reminder of the fragility of a money-based economy and that the concept of a permanent culture would be dynamic and constantly evolving. The aim of the group is to move away from an unsustainable culture based on endless consumption to one which is self sustaining – mirroring nature and the seasons, while helping to address a host of social issues and provide food security in an uncertain age.Also involved in the project is
C h r i s W o o d , C o m m u n i t y

pic12Development Officer for Bolton at Home, which is helping with funding for satellite projects elsewhere in the borough. Bolton at Home are committed to the same ideals, with a disturbing growth in the level of food poverty having been seen in the last few years, with UCAN centres and food banks doing all they can to help -as well as development of a number a of outreach projectsto try to stimulate an interest in social economics and increased social cohesion.Jones is keen to encourage movement away from the limited off e ring s and uniformity of supermarket products, pointing out that many of the varied food plantsavailable in this country are largely ignored by the supermarket chains. They may be responding to public demand, or lack thereof, but with education people may learn to appreciate that there are many tasty and nutritive fruits and vegetables that can easily be grown and
perpetuated. Perennial plants are especially valuable because they will constantly and reliably regrow for many years.For further information visit


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