Life on Pig Row

Saddleworth, Manchester, United Kingdom

If you’re looking for a well-informed and up-to-date blog about traditional English growing and cooking techniques, Andrew and Carol Oldham’s Emporium is where you’re going to find it. Their blog is a wellspring of information covering everything from traditional celebrations like Wassailing and every conceivable aspect of cottage garden design to tried and tested recipes like Carol’s homemade pies.

Their cottage sits on a quaint line of houses called Pig Row, in reference to historical northern poverty. Local mill workers living here were considered ‘pig poor’ as their work hardly made ends meet. History can repeat itself, and when the Oldhams moved into the property, their financial situation was turned upside down, with nobody to rely on apart from themselves. Their quarter-acre patch of land had to feed them, and through extensive research and hard work, they turned their lives around.

Following the wartime Dig For Victory model, they’ve created 26 ‘how-to’ leaflets on self-sustainability (cutely renamed Pig for Victory) and connected with many other ‘piss-poor’ gardeners who grew in small spaces, balconies and backyards, as opposed to flashy designer gardens from the magazine covers. The real-life connection to food and land is what has brought Andrew and Carol respect, recognition and many friendships, and their brilliant blog is well worth a browse.

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Vegetable grower, natural beekeeper and edible spaces designer. Lover of all soil and urban farming techniques. Former head of growing at Incredible Aquagarden.