The community food-growing fund ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ created by Grow It Yourself (GIY) 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 Co. Kilkenny, which provides rehabilitative services for people with mental health issues including therapeutic horticulture; Knockanrawley Resource Centre Organic Garden, Co. Tipperary, a community development project creating employment and facilitating families to grow organic food locally; Camphill in Dingle, Co. Kerry, which has a reduced-mobility garden offering residents and day attendees the chance to enjoy planting and growing in the outdoors via specially designed raised beds; Ballymun Adult Read and Write Scheme, in Dublin, where staff and adult learners enjoy planting and growing an abundance of vegetables in their courtyard; and the Dublin Migrant Women Community Garden, where assistance is provided by serving the homeless through collecting, growing and cooking food.
Recipient of the €5,000 fund is The Edible Landscape Project, a training and education initiative in Wesport, Co. Mayo. The team behind the project say that they are honoring local biodiversity as well as beautifying the town of Westport by creating an opportunity for recreation, exercise therapy and education in the forest garden, and producing nutritious food.
Commenting at the awards ceremony, GIY founder 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 said: “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. Over the last six years, €410,000 has been awarded and distributed to projects all across the country.