Muddy Jo and the quest to save the world!
By Steve Russell | East Anglian Times
We all know that being outside, growing fresh fruit and veg and helping nature, is better than being stuck inside, breathing re-circulated air and eating processed food. ‘Greener Growth’ is striving to change the balance − and winning.
I first met Joannah Metcalfe in prison. (That didn’t come out right. Start again.) I first met Joannah Metcalfe in the grounds of an open prison where soon-to-be-released inmates and her organisation Greener Growth were reviving a walled garden. The bountiful borders and plots of flowers and vegetables were firm evidence of the principle of “Recovery Through Nature” – for land and man.
That was the summer of 2014 – the year after Jo started spreading the message about the sense of purpose and achievement gained from growing things and helping wildlife. Today, the figures trip off her tongue.
“Greener Growth has planted over 1,000 Heritage fruit trees since we last met, been involved in the lives of just under 12,000 children, worked with about 2,500 prisoners, put up about 200 birdboxes, 200 batboxes and 30-ish hedgehog boxes.”
Jo definitely doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet. Well, actually, she does – if she can.
Basically, it’s all about people making the world a better place and feeling happier and healthier, in body and soul, through growing food and transforming underused land. Outside spaces are “re-greened” and become great habitats for wildlife.
The focus is on “permaculture” – a chemical-free, self-sustaining, low-impact philosophy – and building a sense of togetherness through shared activity.
Greener Growth is working in three main areas: prisons, schools, and communities.
An example: Wayland jail near Thetford. Work there has turned old buildings and aviary into a potting shed and greenhouse. There are nine large timber-framed raised beds, along with four wildlife ponds, willow boundary fences, arbours, a memorial garden, and more.
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