Pictured at the Energia GIY Get Ireland Growing Awards is Maura Derrane RTE, Karen O'Donohoe GIY, Michael Kelly GIY and Nuala Carey RTE
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 Tipperary an Energia Get Ireland Growing funding award goes to Kilsheelan Tidy Town Herb Garden, 8th Tipperary Scout Troop, Cashel, Holy Trinity National School, Fethard and Knockanrawley Resource Centre Organic Garden.
Kilsheelan Tidy Town Herb Garden
The group plans to create awareness of Herbs that can be planted in a Garden setting. Creating a new standout community feature and creating sustainable growing practice. Clearing a 5 x 2.5m site to build natural beds, using wooden crates & other recycled materials, buying plants, plugs & seeds.
Holy Trinity National School, Fethard
The school aims to teach children and parents to grow vegetables at home for the kids either in pots or garden. They aim to buy seeds and compost and wood to redo raised beds.
8th Tipperary Scout Troop, Cashel
The scouts were involved in creating their own garden and then tending it through the year. In June the children took home potatoes; in October they made soup with the pumpkins in the scout den. The wider community benefited from the visual impact of a open urban garden. They also constructed a bench to sit and enjoy this scene - which has been well used ever since. In 2018 they want to develop greater natural control on garden pests using natural predators (bug gardens, snail/slug prevention), further complimentary planting, better compost creation etc. We need seeds, tool, plants, construction materials for another bench and compost bin.
Knockanrawley Resource Centre Organic Garden
The Organic Garden is a section of a wider community development project. It is an acre and has had the IOFGA symbol for 18 consecutive years. Currently they have 2 part-time workers, and 2 volunteers maintaining the community garden aspect weekly with 15 small allotments, mostly used by local people, but some are used for organic horticulture training. There is also an annual Open Day planned by the garden sub-group along with ad hoc school tours and visits from community groups. They support the community to increase their awareness on organic plant & vegetable gardening as well as the environmental issues facing the community.
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