Our Soil – The Community Gardens Ireland Annual Gathering

Our Soil – The Community Gardens Ireland Annual Gathering

Join us at the Community Gardens Ireland Learning and Networking event of 2018.

When:   Sunday, 27th May 2018

Where:  WeCreate Centre, Cloughjordan EcoVillage, Tipperary

The day will be packed with information and inspiration to help you progress with your own projects. It will follow the annual Feeding Ourselves conference which takes place the day before and may be of interest to many CG Ireland members (details below).

With CG Ireland stories, networking sessions, an introduction and tour of the RED Gardens – the research gardens in the Ecovillage, and a special workshop on soil and citizen science, you’ll go home with a wealth of new knowledge, skills, friends and collaborators to help you launch into an exciting new gardening year.


10:00 – Arrivals, Registration and Meet and Greet. Grab a cuppa, get to meet everyone, find out where they’re from and what they’re up to, and swap contacts… trust us, after this day you’ll want to keep in touch!

10:30 – Reinvigorating CG Ireland . Find out more about CG Ireland and how to get involved in our formal/informal Annual General Meeting. This is the short legal bit determined by our Governance Code and your opportunity to volunteer to help out with the national network if you’d like to do so.

11:00 – Stories from the Field – a number of short presentations about our work to date, including a few inspirational garden projects.

11.30 – Conversations on CG Ireland going forward.

12.30 – Lunch. Bring a dish to share and taste the abundance of the network.

13.45 – Tour of RED Gardens with Bruce Darrell

14.30 – Soil and Citizen Science with Pavlos Georgiadis – Introducing GROW PLACE a new project from CG Ireland.

Pavlos is based in Greece and is a Community Manager with GROW Observatory, a citizen science initiative to improve soil using regenerative practices, while helping with climate change adaptation. Pavlos is an organic olive grower, coordinates a hemp co-operative, and has a background in ethnobiology. He produced the award-winning short documentary ‘Farming in Crisis’ and has established numerous Slow Food initiatives.

15.30 – Next Steps


16.00 – Regenerating Nature – Restoring biological diversity, strengthening our resilience.

A presentation and conversation on the Community Amphitheatre at Cloughjordan Ecovillage with Pádraic Fogarty author of ‘Whittled Away: Ireland’s Vanishing Nature’.


We really need you to book your place for two reasons:

1:  We need to know how many people will be there on the day to make sure there will be enough room… and enough tea!… for everyone.

2:  CG Ireland does not, at the moment, receive any funding and all of our staff work as volunteers. Your contribution covers running costs for the day and helps towards organising other events, and we couldn’t do it without you!

We like to make our events fair and affordable for everyone, so there are three pricing options:

The Standard Supporter. €15. This covers all of the running costs for the day, and includes the price of workshops, talks and light refreshments.

The Skint Supporter. €5. We don’t judge, we’ve been there and we’d hate anyone to feel excluded just because they’re strapped for cash, so this option covers the cost of hall hire, tea and biscuits and you get all the talks and workshops for free. PLEASE, respect the hard work that the CG Ireland crew do and ONLY use this option if you genuinely can’t afford the full price.

The Super Supporter. €25. Maybe you’ve had a good week. Maybe you’re feeling a bit flush. Maybe you could consider paying a little extra to support not just this event, but all of the work that CG Ireland does all around the country, all through the year. If you can afford it we’d be eternally grateful for your contribution!

Want to help but can’t come along? You can always support our work by making a donation (in the booking link).



WeCreate Workplace is the Enterprise Centre in Cloughjordan Ecovilliage, Tipperary, which is 10km from Moneygall. Map details here.


If you are making a weekend of it there is very affordable accommodation is available in Cloughjordan Ecovillage. To book Django’s Eco-Hostel see or call +353 87 256 9348.


No problem… email us at or TEXT Dee on 087 6843374


If you’d like to spend the weekend networking with like-minded people and learning more about FEEDING OURSELVES, the Saturday event might be of interest to you too:

Saturday 26th, All Day

Feeding Ourselves: Rural Revitalisation through a Cooperative Approach to Farming and Food.

This is the annual coming together of small farmers, community food advocates and anyone with an interest in good food, good farming and rural revitilisation.

This year’s focus is on community supported agriculture, co-operation, regenerative agriculture, citizen science, better agri-food policies and other people and planet friendly practices such as social farming and high nature value farming. Details at


Be Part of GROW Observatory and Make a Difference

Citizen Science: GROW Observatory Free Online CourseWhen we first heard about the GROW Observatory citizen science project we immediately pledged to help find growers in Ireland who would like to learn more about making their growing spaces even better. We are therefore excited to let you know about a FREE online course that begins on Monday, 19th February 2018 that will help you learn more about your soil and enable you to become a citizen scientist with GROW Observatory.

Being part of GROW Observatory offers more than just taking part in an online course; it’s about becoming part of a community of European growers, scientists and others equally passionate about soil who want to help regenerate this vital resource for future generations, while also helping with vital environmental scientific monitoring.

This is your chance to make a difference – not just to your own growing space, but also by contributing to wider research about how understanding our soil better can help us adapt to a changing climate.

Moisture levels in soil can help predict severe floods and droughts. GROW Observatory data will feed into European Space Agency missions, monitoring environmental changes across the globe.

Citizen Science: GROW Observatory Free Online CourseWe know that soil loss and degradation are serious issues across the globe. Finding answers to more sustainable and regenerative food growing practices is literally right under our feet and is critical to solving many local and global environmental challenges.

That’s why the GROW Observatory are bringing together people who love soil with people who love data across Europe in this groundbreaking project to connect and learn from each other.

You’ll gather and analyse data to help understand your particular soil and what works for you, as well as contributing to a European-wide knowledge base. By also exploring regenerative practices such as polycultures, mulching and attracting pollinators, you’ll be able to grow better food while improving the soil for years to come.

Citizen Science: GROW Observatory Free Online CourseThe GROW Observatory is a supportive environment where you don’t need to have extensive experience of growing to take part – we welcome anyone with an interest in food production – from allotment holders to small-scale farmers. It is especially relevant for people with an interest in soil, food growing, agriculture, ecosystems and the environment.

Through the series of free courses, growers will learn about everything from soil health and growing techniques to how they can contribute to vital scientific environmental monitoring – all in a friendly and supportive online environment.

But they’re not asking you to sit at a computer for the whole time: you’ll be outside getting your hands dirty in your own growing space, collecting data and observations to help us create a clearer picture of what’s going on beneath our feet and how we can best protect this vital resource for the future.

In 2018, they have some big plans around changing climate and on living soils. Within this there are four GROW Observatory courses running, from basic soil analysis and monitoring to using sensors and testing different regenerative growing practices. The final course will consist of a massive collective experiment in growing spaces across Europe. You don’t have to complete all of the courses, but we hope you will be inspired to take part in as many as possible.

We’re coming together to address science challenges and gaps in our current knowledge, from creating detailed soil data to enhancing climate prediction models and earth observation from satellites.

Together we will gather evidence to support policy change towards more sustainable land practices. Wherever you are in Europe and whatever scale you grow at, you have something worthwhile to share with us.

We’ll help you build healthier soils, grow food more sustainably and better adapt to climate change. This is your chance to be part of a vibrant, inclusive community of growers across Europe learning with and from each other.

Sign up now for the GROW Observatory free course that starts on 19th February ‘From Soil to Sky’ and find our more information on the GROW Observatory website.

In Focus: Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

A Fruitful Year at Sean Dún Community Garden

The Sean Dún Community Garden was set up in May 2016 beside the Sean Dún housing estate by the River Colligan in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The Community Garden, to date, consists of 25 allotments, with plans for further future development of the site to include a five-aside football pitch, a playground, a large polytunnel to be shared by all of the allotment holders, an edible fruit hedge, and a community amenity area.

Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Sunset at Sean Dún Community Garden

The Community Garden is a community development initiative set up in the Sean Dún estate by Waterford City and County Council in association with the Ballybeg Community Development Project. To date, Waterford City and County Council have very generously funded the setting-up of the allotments, providing the site, basic equipment and tools required, and wood for raised beds and fencing.

In Focus: Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Some of our sponsors in Sean Dún Community Garden

The Ballybeg Horticulture Local Training initiative has provided training programmes for the allotment holders in the Community Garden, offering QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) accredited training in horticulture, having completed QQI Level 3 and Level 4 in Growing Organic Vegetables, and currently doing a Hard Landscape Construction course.

There are enormous benefits for the community in having the Community Garden in the Sean Dún estate, not only to the allotment holders, but these benefits are also felt by all of those living in the Sean Dún estate. These include health benefits, social benefits, psychological benefits and environmental benefits, to mention just a few.

In Focus: Sean Dún Community Garden, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Third Prize for Our Onions at Dungarvan Agricultural Show!

In the near future, the Sean Dún Community Garden allotment holders are planning to develop a commercial aspect to the Community Gardens, and supply top quality organically grown salad leaves, specialist vegetables, edible flowers and herbs to the local food service industry.

The allotment holders in the Sean Dún Community Garden have achieved an incredible amount in their first year, since May 2016, and look forward to an equally successful and fruitful time in the coming year!

Contact details for Sean Dún Community Garden are as follows:

Tel: 087 6987656
Facebook: Sean Dun Community Garden

Community Garden Gathering & Pest & Disease Workshop – Bookings Open

CG Ireland Gathering & Pest and Diseases Workshop

In association with Donegal Community Gardens Network, OURGanic Gardens and CG Ireland, we are pleased to bring our July event to Gortahork in Donegal. Bookings are NOW OPEN ON EVENTBRITE for the event on Sunday, 9th July 2017

In Focus: Hardwicke Street Garden Club, Dublin

Hardwicke Street Garden Club

Continuing with our In Focus highlights of community gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland, this month we’re please to introduce the Hardwicke Street Garden Club in Dublin 1. Jason Sheridon, the author of the following article, is a a social care worker involved in the Hardwicke project who has a particular interest in the use of therapeutic horticulture. He also shares some great photographs of the garden on social media.

Growing Food and Enhancing an Area

A short walk from the hustle and bustle of our capital’s thoroughfare, bees from a local honey project are busy collecting the nectar from plants in a well-established kitchen garden nestled in between two red brick apartment blocks. In the same garden, just around the corner from O’Connell Street, a group of local community gardeners come together to grow food and plant flora to enhance the surrounding area.

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinIt all began when a small group of volunteers came together in 2010, ranging in age from eight to eighty, to build raised beds, plant seedlings, and activate a vacant green space that lay idle for almost a decade, following a multi-million euro regeneration project of the complex.

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinThe garden flourished through the application of different skills and abilities of its local residents that came together to collectively develop the space, which was comprised of just a pathway and some hedging.

With some financial assistance from the Croke Park Community fund award, the group hand built a full size potting shed that doubles as a social space to the garden members. The shed is stocked with a variety of tools that has allowed members to creatively re-purpose materials into garden essentials such as bird boxes, benches, and much more. These materials, along with some of the more quirky features are sometimes donated by one garden member running a waste disposal service.

Grassroots Community

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinThrough a grassroots community effort, the people residing in area now had access to engage in the restorative activity of cultivating this urban garden. Through liaising with the local city council, the garden received the experienced knowledge of a trained horticulturist. The small-knit group attended regular classes in vegetable growing, propagation, and landscaping. Taking these newly acquired skills, the group entered the first of tree post card show gardens at the national Bloom festival in the local Phoenix Park.

Hardwicke Community Garden Dublin
Jason Sheridon welcomes Ron Finley to Hardwicke Community Garden

Bringing some valuable landscaping skills back to the community from participating in the festival, three years in succession, the group decided to embark on a community project in 2016 to build a memorial garden in memory of the children who died during the rising.

Hardwicke Community Garden DublinEmployment Opportunities

The garden continues to grow and there are lots of big plans for the future. The garden has assisted with training several participants of the Tus employment scheme over the last two years and has recently developed a program which see’s members visit a local farm and cultivate at an agricultural scale. The garden club is hopeful to further develop the project to provide more education and training in this busy section of the city of Dublin.

Hardwicke Community Garden Dublin

For more information take a look at the Hardwicke Garden Club or look out for them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.