Check it out! Tool LIBRARY launches to help Mancunians grow and cook meals from scratch

Green-fingered Mancunians will be able to get their mitts on free tools as healthy-eating initiative Eat Green opens two tool libraries next week.

The first green shoots of the scheme at the south Manchester sites will bloom in time for National Gardening Week, which takes place between April 14 and 20.

The first tool library will be located at Westcroft Community Centre in Burnage with a second to follow at Didsbury library in May.

Eat Green aims to help people save money by sourcing ingredients and bringing healthy food to low-income families in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.

The service will allow families to experience a taste of The Good Life by loaning tools including spades, shears and secateurs for a three-week period free of charge.

“I personally think that ‘share’ will be the new ‘have’,” said Cheadle community gardener Anna Builek.

“The scheme gives people access to tools that they might struggle to buy a whole set of or have limited space to store.”

Anna argued that such libraries will tackle the age-old problem of having shed full of neglected tools.

“Let’s be honest my spade is most probably used for a month worth of digging, and then sits idly in the shed for another 11 months.

“It’s a great idea for using resources efficiently – it’s very green,” she added.

“And who knows it might create a synergy effect. If someone shared something with me, perhaps next time I might share something with others.”

Eat Green, which has provided the tools, aims to equip people with the skills needed to grow and cook meals from scratch.

According to the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, households could save around £1,300 per year by growing their own food – an amount that is only expected to rise in line with food prices.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation reported a four-point rise in food prices last month with the index standing at 212.8 in March, up from 208.0 in February.

With food prices skyrocketing globally, keen gardener Wahid Nasir from Fallowfield backs the libraries.

He revealed: “Growing my own food means less shopping, saves me money, and encourages me to consume just enough to survive, rather than to overindulge in our culture of plenty.

“It’s brilliant to have the libraries there if I need any extra tools to help me with my garden.”

The tool library in Burnage will run on Fridays between 1:30pm and3:30pm, except public holidays, and the Didsbury tool library will be staffed during the library’s regular opening hours.

Eat Green also operates a local landshare scheme, linking people who want to grow their own fruit and veg to rent-free spaces where they can grow it.

It currently has plots available in East Didsbury, Didsbury Village and Withington.

Eat Green also operates free six-week ‘learn to cook’ classes in South Manchester. Priority places are allocated to people on low incomes with below-average cookery skills.

The next course will run on Mondays, 4–6pm from April 28, at Westcroft Community Centre.

Picture courtesy of Jennifer C. via Flickr, with thanks

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