The community food growing fund ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ created by GIY (Grow It Yourself) in partnership with Energia has awarded a fund of €75,000 to food growing projects all across Ireland.
The teams behind 86 community projects will each receive funds for their unique projects. The recipients include community groups, schools, NGOs and Not for Profits, community gardens and allotment groups, GIY groups, hospitals, crèches, direct provision centres and men’s sheds from Kerry to Donegal and beyond. Each group will be awarded funding ranging from €500 to €2,000 with one group receiving €5,000. All of the projects have an inclusive approach and they all aim to encourage more people to grow their own food within their community.
Just a few of the 86 Projects set for support include the Recovery Garden in Kilkenny who provide rehabilitative services for people with mental health issues including therapeutic horticulture; Knockanrawley Resource Centre Organic Garden Tipperary a community development project creating employment and facilitating families to grow organic food locally; at Camphill in Dingle County Kerry a reduced mobility garden offers residents and day attendees to enjoy planting and growing in the outdoors via especially designed raised beds; at the Ballymun Adult Read and Write Scheme in Dublin staff and adult learners and enjoy planting and growing an abundance of vegetables in their courtyard; and at the Dublin Migrant Women Community Garden assistance is provided by serving the homeless through their collecting, growing and cooking food.
The project announced as the winner of the €5,000 fund is The Edible Landscape Project, a training and education initiative in Westport, Co. Mayo. The team behind the project say that they are honouring local biodiversity as well as beautifying the town of Westport by creating an opportunity for recreation, exercise therapy and education in the forest garden, to producing nutritious food.”
In Dublin an Energia Get Ireland Growing funding award goes to St. Matthew’s NS School Garden, Sandmount, Ballymun Adult Read and Write Scheme, Dublin Migrant Women Community Garden, Irish United Nations Veterans Association Dublin 7, GIY Balbriggan Community Mental Health Team, Dublin, VOICE Food Waste Challenge, Dublin 2, Castleknock National School little sowers and Prospect ACA Dublin 9 and Bridgefoot Street Community Garden in Dublin 8
Bridgefoot Street Community Garden in Dublin 8 are an all inclusive space. They say, “Our Men’s Shed open and maintain the community garden, we support and assist any one interested in community gardening. We have had to fight for the space we grow on and campaigned for the whole site to be redeveloped into a community park with a community garden and allotments. We have the Dublin Men’s Shed , A G.I.Y group and are registered with Change-x. We were established in 2014.”
St. Matthew’s NS School Garden, Sandmount, Dublin
The whole school community benefits from the outdoor area, for play, for learning in the outdoor classroom. Each class has had some opportunity to develop gardening skills and the school hopes to further enable and develop this. The project will develop the green spaces and provide opportunities for children to learn, participate in and contribute to the school garden.
Ballymun Adult Read and Write Scheme, Dublin
This is the second year this group has received funding, they group says that last year there was a huge impact on both staff and adult learners attending courses in Ballymun Adult Education Centre. By June 2017 the courtyard was an abundance of colour with growing plants and vegetables. The interest generated social interaction among all the Centre users. On the final day of term the students presented their work in the form of a lunch – boiled potatoes garnished with mint, broad beans, mangetout peas, salad with nasturtium leaves, chives, cherry tomatoes and baby courgettes.
Dublin Migrant Women Community Garden
The groups’ aim is to support migrant women with the issues they face, as well as enhance public perception of migrant communities. In addition to their regular support group meetings, they provide women with activities for self-care such as yoga. They also provide free editing of CVs, cover letters and applications and give weekly English lessons to asylum seekers and refugees; provide advice and referrals for various issues and finally, they also assist with serving the homeless by collecting, growing and cooking food.
Irish United Nations Veterans Association, Dublin 7
The garden is open every day to the public and is well used by locals who can call in for chat and a relaxing cup of tea. This group needs to replace tools and open up a section of the garden to vegetable growing. They plan to, when harvested use the vegetables grown and encourage a healthier diet amongst the members.
GIY Balbriggan Community Mental Health Team, Dublin
This group offers people suffering with severe and enduring mental health difficulties the chance to socialise with others, learn new skills and be involved in meaningful and therapeutic activities. They hope this new gardening project will facilitate people’s journey in recovery and the development of this project will involve service users input all the way from the set up of the new gardening group to facilitating groups, and maintaining a balcony garden.
VOICE Food Waste Challenge, Dublin 2
The project undertaken by VOICE Food Waste Challenge will impact teachers, students, the wider school and also the family home.The activities will develop practical skills on how to reduce food, highlight environmental concerns & waste alternatives like composting & discuss consumerism & production.The herb garden will allow students understand the resources, time and skill in growing food and give both teachers and students a sense of achievement in growing their supply of fresh ingredients and give them the skills to grow at
Castleknock National School ‘little sowers’, Dublin.
New parents, grandparents and children have a venue to meet in once a week and to socialise and enjoy new activities. The garden and gardening will be an important extension of this and will also be used in the afternoons by school-going pupils.
Prospect ACA Dublin 9
Approximately 70 households in the ACA benefit from the community improvement, which has included painting, maintenance and planting of shrubs and trees. The group hopes to expand their remit to include the creation of a community garden and plot.
Commenting at the awards ceremony, the founder of GIY Michael Kelly said, “Today is a huge highlight of our many events annually here at GIY. It is a real honour to meet the people behind some of the most incredible projects being organised mostly by volunteers in communities right across the country. We are delighted to award the recipients of the 2018 Energia Get Ireland Growing fund, we along with Energia share in the joy of helping 86 community groups to get their food growing initiatives underway or further developed in parishes, towns, villages and cities across 27 counties.”
Amy O’Shaughnessy from Energia “This year 747 groups applied for funding through Energia Get Ireland Growing, a sure sign that community spirit and volunteerism are thriving all across the country. We’re so proud of this wonderful campaign and our partnership with GIY and truly delighted to be able to support so many fantastic projects. We’re really looking forward to seeing the end results and wish all awardees the very best in their endeavours.”
In addition to the funding provided, GIY will also provide additional supports and opportunities for knowledge exchange between the projects, helping the best ideas to be shared through ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’. All of the projects remain part of the GIY network in the long term, giving them access to other GIY resources and additional groups and projects within the network, creating a long-term legacy.
This is the sixth year of the fund, which has already supported over 500-community food growing projects to date, positively impacting over 140,000 people. €410,000 has been awarded over the last six years and this was distributed to projects all across the country.
Some of the previous flagship projects include, a grow garden for the Irish Wheelchair Association Centre in Carlow, project funding for a community garden initiative for the South Inner City Community Development Association supporting residents of the Liberties, a food growing project for Galway Simon’s new Residential Service ‘Tuí Bhrian’ in Galway City which caters for youths aged 18 to 25 years of age. In Monaghan, Youth Work Ireland in Clones use a derelict piece of land behind their youth cafe to build a vegetable patch; Recovery Haven in Kerry offer use of an organic fruit and veg garden club at their free cancer support centre for the people of Kerry, to name but a few.
For further details on the ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ 2018 see GIY.ie