This year was the first time we have had a stall at, or even been to, Wigan Diggers Festival!
Although we weren't organised enough to get on the official map in time, we were received with open arms and a very warm welcome from everyone there. Someone even said we had the most attractive stall at the festival!
Wigan Diggers is a celebration of The Diggers (Or True Levellers as they are also known, not be be confused with The Levellers) movement of the 1600s, headed by Gerard Winstanley. Winstanley was from Wigan and a prominent socialist figure who began to work on common land to provide food for people people who were starving during the civil war. Due to his direct actions, he has inspired many groups, from anarchists and socialists to food growers like ourselves.
The festival was a great day out. We met many other growers and diggers groups, all trying to encourage people to get their hands dirty. Whether that's literally, or just by being active within their community. Many trade unions were represented with stalls, environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, and a range of other political and community groups. A re-enactment of Winstanley's digging at St. George's Hill in Surrey, 1649 took place in traditional dress, which was great to see. There was lots of live music, beer and local food to be had, including pie (obviously, it is Wigan after all). The atmosphere was buzzing. The day brought a tear to my eye. We will be going back every year I think!
Although we are not a political group, we are inspired by Winstanley's idea that "The earth was made a common treasury for all." We want to follow Winstanley's example by working the land and providing food (or the means the grow it yourself) for those who may not have access to fresh, organic vegetables in the city.