A cool blustery day in Dublin could not dampen the warmth of welcome at the Launch of CHANGE Community Garden, Coolock.
Finding my way around sprawling Municipal buildings, I simply followed the crowd – parents pushing prams, small children excitedly following, suited officials, ladies carrying cakes. The enthusiasm and delight at the inauguration of Dublin’s latest Community Garden was so apparent.
The Garden is a collaborative project by Doras Buí, a community based resource centre working with families, Northside Partnership, Sphere 17, the regional youth service, and Coolock Development Centre. But the measure of its success is the amount of good will it has generated – volunteers have come from the across the local community as well as local businesses, including the Hilton Hotel and Mondeléz (Cadburys).
The Garden evolved out of concerns surrounding food poverty and empowering families to make healthy choices. These have been tough years in Ireland , austerity policies often hitting the most vulnerable. But it is clear that the Garden serves a social function as well.
Monica, a volunteer in the garden, spoke with pride about sowing the first potato,and enjoys meeting and working with friends at the garden.
Elizabeth, another volunteer, baked the most stunning cake
and talked about the sense of community that exists.
The garden is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings for residents . Funding has allowed the part-time employment of Eamonn O’Brien, an experienced Community Gardener.
Speakers included David Healy, an expert on Climate Change and Green Party Councillor, who spoke about the huge interest in the provenance of our food – is it good/organic/local? Growing food reminds us of our connection to the land and food and aids biodiversity .. good for the planet and good for us too.
Georgina Buffini of “Healthy Food for All”, spoke about the Garden as a “model of best practice”.
Linda Devlin,of Doras Buí, spoke warmly of the good will surrounding the garden.
And what of the garden itself? This is a big site but many raised beds have been created and are already sporting produce.
Earth banked willow seats have been constructed for weary gardeners or a place of contemplation.
There’s an interesting herb wheel.
And a fairy knoll to delight the children.
Art projects are planned for the future.
This was a day for celebration. I have no doubt of the drive and enthusiasm that was required to get this off the ground.
The garden is called CHANGE – Creating Health Around Nutrition, Growing & Eating.
I will leave you with Linda Devlin’s comment :
“Art and Growing have a transformative effect on people”.