Community Gardens Ireland 2022 End of Year UpdatePosted on: 21/12/2022
It has been another busy 12 months at Community Gardens Ireland! We are all volunteers and have decided to put together a brief report detailing exactly what our committee have been up to.
Supporting new and existing gardens
A lot of queries we receive are in relation to the setting up of new gardens, support for existing gardens, information about school gardens, insurance details and sources of funding. Below are some highlights from our work on this:
We directly helped with over 40 queries from all over the island of Ireland for the setting up of new gardens and help with existing community growing initiatives. We also received an offer for the use of some land in Cork City, which we passed on to local groups in the area.
Since 1st Jan 2022, 40 new gardens have joined the CGI network and are now up on the CGI map. We also helped promote new gardens on our social media that contacted us.
Facebook – our Facebook group has grown to 3,300 members and some queries are dealt with directly on the group page.
Twitter – our following on Twitter has grown to over 2,100 followers.
If you have a query, get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts!
New committee members
In the first few months we welcomed new members to the Community Gardens Ireland committee, including:
Padraig O’Donovan from Dunmanway Community Garden, Ellie Donovan from L’Arche Cork Community Garden, and Fiona Blaney from Galway City Partnership.
AGM & Spring Virtual Gathering
|In March 2022 we held a joint online gathering with Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland and Community Gardens Ireland. The event was hugely successful with approximately 90 people registering for the event. The event included updates given by growers north and south, along with policy updates from the Cork Food Policy Council and updates on the Food Ethics Council UK. We also had a presentation by Mary Reynolds, author and nature activist. Following the event, we held our AGM and invited new members to join our committee.
Throughout the year we have been busy contributing to consultations, making submissions and highlighting that more support and an improved policy framework is required to encourage more community growing spaces. Consultations we contributed to during the year include:
- Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government & Heritage, March 2022
- Submission to Public Consultation on National Strategy for Horticulture Sector
- Submission to National Biodiversity Action Plan
- Submission to Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss
- Presentation to City & County Managers Association Meeting, 6th October 2022
- Presentation to Minister Burke & Minister Noonan, September 2022
- Climate Action Plan Expert Advice 2022
- Letter to the Irish Times, July 2022
- Submission to Sustainable Development Goals Implementation Plan 2022
- Submission to Kildare County Council Development Plan
- Submission to Wicklow County Council Development Plan
- Submission to Fingal County Council Development Plan
- Submission to Dublin City Council Development Plan
- Submission to Food Waste Consultation 2022
- All Ireland Pollinator Plan Review 2022
- Submission to Review of the National Adaptation Framework (Climate Adaptation)
- Submission to Ireland’s Public Library Strategy
- Public consultation on the sustainable EU food system initiative
- Submission for next round of Community Foundation for Ireland funding (continuation of GRÁ Ireland project with Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland)
- Submission for community climate action programme climate education capacity building and learning by doing strand 2 (submission with Irish Seed Savers Association)
Throughout the year we have also been in contact with Senators, TDs and MEPs about proposed changes needed in Ireland.
Oireachtas Presentation, March 2022
In March 2022, committee members Maeve Foreman & Dónal McCormack presented on behalf of Community Gardens Ireland to the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government & Heritage. We presented findings from our “Let’s Get Growing” report, and called for revised policies and legislation to support community growers throughout Ireland, similar to policies present in other European countries.
Details of our presentation and submission are available here.
Meeting with Minister Peter Burke & Minister Malcolm Noonan, September 2022
Following our Oireachtas presentation, committee members Maeve Foreman & Dónal McCormack had a meeting with Minster Burke & Minister Noonan to go through our Let’s Get Growing report findings and to request support from both Ministers.
Both Minister have agreed to work together on a new policy supporting community gardens & allotments in Ireland.
End of Year Gathering in Carlow
In November 2022 we held our yearly Gathering in An Gairdín Beo in Carlow as a joint event with Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland for our GRÁ Ireland project (funded by Community Foundation for Ireland). The day started with an update of activities happening, seed sharing, outcome of RU_RBAN project & tour of An Gairdín Beo. We then went for lunch in the Delta Sensory Gardens & had a tour of the area.
This was an excellent initiative allowing growers from north and south of Ireland to share ideas, network, seed share & experience different projects!
An outcome from the event is present in the following article: here.
GRÁ Ireland: Community Foundation Ireland grant in partnership with Social Farms and Gardens Northern Ireland
In 2021, Community Gardens Ireland and Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland were awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for Ireland. We co-ordinated a number of events aimed at bringing communities and organisations closer together.
As covered earlier, in March 2022 we held an online gathering with communities north and south sharing their ideas and experiences of community growing.
In May 2022, Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland organised a visit of community growing projects in the Belfast area, including visiting Cloughmills, Grow at Waterworks Community Garden and the Belfast Alleyway Gardens!
In August 2022, members of the Rainbow Alley community garden in East Belfast visited Mud Island Community Garden. The two communities shared ideas and their experiences over lunch and tea. We hope it was the first of many visits!
Maeve Foreman, CGI and Patricia Wallace, Social Farms and Gardens Northern Ireland attended the All-Island Convening on 27 and 28th September 2022 to mark the first year of the 30 civil society partnerships funded by the Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s All Island Fund.
In November 2022, Community Gardens Ireland organised a tour of some Carlow community gardens & spaces for growers north and south – more details above.
Throughout 2022, we commissioned some videos of some community gardens across Ireland. We always say that every community garden or allotment has their own personality, and one thing we wanted to try to do was capture part of this. See for example the video of the Top of the City community garden, Waterford: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_AXsNFAVP0
In November 2022, Community Gardens Ireland & Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland issued a joint press release following our in-person gathering in Carlow. Both organisations called for more spaces to be allocated for more allotments & community gardens, along with calling for growing your own food to be recognised by politicians and governments as a climate adaptation action.
Along with publicity in newspapers, Marc Ó Cathasaigh TD highlighted our recent work and has put our call for call for growing your own food to be recognised as a climate action on the Dáil record:
Community Gardens Ireland and Social Farms and Gardens Northern Ireland jointly signed the Centre for Cross Border Studies’ New Common Charter for cooperation –
At the end of 2022, Community Gardens Ireland and Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland applied for the next round of funding from the Community Foundation for Ireland to continue our GRÁ Ireland project. We both agree that the work completed in 2022 on this project was incredibly worthwhile and that organisations and communities have benefitted from this north and south. Here’s hoping for some positive news on this front for 2023!
Community Gardens Ireland @ Electric Picnic
We returned to Global Green at Electric Picnic this year! Ellie Donovan from the Community Gardens Ireland committee organised an amazing pop-up community garden with Miren Samper & gave advice to interested growers from all over Ireland.
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2022 Annual Review
We recently gave an update for the work we have completed as part of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2022 Annual Review. We are proud of our work supporting the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan at an All-Ireland level, and can point to activities we have completed this year such as seed sharing at events and climate change / biodiversity loss consultations we have contributed to.
Details of our update and other companies are available on the AIPP website here.
Community Gardens Australia
In 2022, we were contacted by Naomi Lacey, President of Community Gardens Australia, who was on a tour of countries in Europe to benchmark community growing initiatives. Members of the Community Gardens Ireland committee organised visits to community growing projects, including Mud Island in Dublin.
We also held an online meeting between CGA and CGI, where we shared an update that both groups have been working on. We have continued to share ideas between Community Gardens Ireland and Community Gardens Australia.
A video from Naomi during here time in Ireland is here: https://twitter.com/ComGardensAust/status/1550726237261221888?s=20&t=RH9I8auz6ahajgLtrxT0AA
Radio & Newspaper Publicity
In 2022 we were successful in getting a number of press releases printed in local & national media and interviews on the radio. The following are a list of our press releases & actions printed in the media / on the radio in 2022:
- Press Release November 2022 (Grow your own food, not emissions) – joint press release with Social Farms & Gardens Northern Ireland (Wicklow People/Independent.ie
- Press Release: Time is ripe for new government policy on allotments & community gardens (September 2022(Agriland.ie)
- Press Release: Community Gardens Ireland launches “Let’s Get Growing” report at Oireachtas Committee (March 2022) (Wicklow People/Independent.ie
- Interview on November 2022: RTÉ Radio 1 Countrywide (rte.ie)
- Interview on Connemara Community Radio, April 2022
- RTÉ (Carole Coleman) – April 2022, visit to Mud Island & discussion with CGI – Call for more allotments amid renewed focus on food security, urban growing (rte.ie)
- Letter in Irish Times, July 2022 (irishtimes.com
What’s next in 2023?
We will continue to work with relevant Ministers to introduce the new allotments & community gardens policy in Ireland. We will also work with organisations to help pursue our goals.
Community Gardens Ireland is a purely volunteer-led organisation. If you are a community grower and want to get involved or want to find out more, get in contact at email@example.com or check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts!
Also, check out the Community Gardens map of Ireland – is your local garden on it? If not, see here to add it!
Let’s Get Growing! – Community Gardens Ireland!