A community garden in Co Mayo has won €5000 after the public voted to award them the lion’s share of €75000 in funding from the Get Ireland Growing Awards, a partnership between Energia and GIY Ireland aimed at boosting community food growing across Ireland.
Edible Landscape, a Forest Garden initiative in Westport, Co Mayo, is an education and training garden teaching food security and empowering local growers to grow in climate-smart ways. They run a series of workshops using a sustainable land management system known as forest gardening, to help fight global climate change by better managing local food security. The winners described their victory as ‘brilliant’ and said they will be using the money to double the size of their current forest garden, creating a centre of excellence at their site at the Quay Community Centre.
The group beat two other finalists to win the award: Bridgefoot Community Street Garden, in Dublin, is an allotment site supporting those with addiction issues, mental health problems and suffering from homelessness. L’Arche Belfast’s Gardening Project creates inclusive spaces throughout Belfast which aim to break down barriers and misconceptions around people with learning disabilities, empowering them to share their skills and gifts. Both finalists have also won a grant worth €2000.
The Get Ireland Growing Awards were split across three categories – sow, grow and harvest, with awards ranging from €500 to €2000 as well as the €5000 jackpot, announced live on RTE’s The Today Show. More than 85 community food growing groups up and down the country have benefitted from the grants, with groups planning to use the money for projects ranging from sowing vegetables and putting up polytunnels to expanding workshop space and even setting up hives for beekeeping. All the projects aim to encourage more people to grow their own food within their community.