How to… develop food growing on a housing estate

At the beginning of the 2016 growing season Bolton at Home commissioned writer and sketcher Len Grant to document its food growing project on the Breightmet estate. From March until September Len followed Steve from Bolton Urban Growers as he supported local families to grow their own food.


The back yard of Bolton at Home’s UCAN Centre (that’s Urban Care and Neighbourhood) is transformed by Steve from Bolton Urban Growers who is commissioned to work with local families.

These cartoon strips proved a great way of getting the food growing story out there to others on the estate.






This is the second growing season for Cath and her children.



Food growing is more about just fresh produce… there are lots of social, health and educational spin-offs too.



I asked tenants visiting the UCAN what they cooked for tea. “I don’t cook,” said Stuart until he remembered his tuna pasta mayo signature dish.




The #SownInBolton project was published as an A5 booklet… an engaging evaluation of an important project.



Putting Breightmet’s food growing project on the map.

uk_bolton_ucan_001-editOn a housing estate where many struggle on welfare benefits, growing you own food might seem obvious. But, as I found out, there are plenty of barriers to turning the garden into a mini-allotment. But dozens of families did get involved this year – my drawings encouraged quite a few – and I discovered this modest project was about more than putting fresh food on the table.

My sketches were displayed in the UCAN advice centre; widely shared on social media (#SownInBolton) and have been printed in a 24-page ‘best practice’ booklet to evaluate the project. See the publication here.


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