Dublin Community Growers

Dublin Community Growers is a network of community gardeners who have been changing the face of Dublin, one small neglected plot at a time. I first came across one such group of community gardeners, last summer, who were diligently transforming a small patch of wasteland in an inner city area. Some of you may have read what I wrote then.

Serenity Community Garden, Dublin

Serenity Community Garden with its greenhouse constructed of 2000 donated plastic bottles.

This plot was transformed into the lovely Serenity Community Garden, spearheaded by Marion Kelly,  whom I interviewed earlier this year when she was voted in as Chair of DCG.

The core ethos of DCG is social inclusion and environmental responsibility and there are now over 40 thriving community gardens across Dublin.

Hubert shares his years of gardening experience with WALK service users and pupils at Scoil Colm.

Hubert shares his years of gardening experience with WALK service users and pupils at Scoil Colm.

I love Dublin, my home town, and believe it to be one of the friendliest, coolest capital cities. But then I am biased. Cities can often be alienating environments, especially for isolated or disadvantaged groups – perhaps elderly citizens or those with a limited knowledge of the local language. Community gardens offer a chance to interact and connect with others in the community; sharing one’s gardening knowhow, or indeed produce from the garden, is a great way to promote a sense of identity and community.

Produce from WALK Community Garden

Produce from WALK Community Garden

Throughout Dublin, problem areas of derelict inner city land are being transformed into beautiful gardens… which benefits not only the people living in that area but promotes biodiversity too. Across Europe, intensive farming practices have put wildlife under pressure and, strangely, it is within our cities where populations of bees and butterflies may find significant wildlife resources.

Elizabeth, with her wonderful cakes celebrating the opening of a new community garden in Crumlin, and Ciaran of www.greenvalu.ie

Elizabeth, with her wonderful cakes celebrating the opening of Doras Buí CHANGE community garden in Coolock, with Ciaran of Greenvalu

Recently DCG has participated in two big gardening events in Dublin – the Rose Festival and Dublin Garden Festival at ChristChurch Cathedral – to spread the word about the possibilities of more urban community gardens and to recruit volunteers for existing ones.

Some members of DCG at Dublin Garden Festival

Some members of DCG at Dublin Garden Festival

At the Garden Festival, DCG worked with the Dublin Swift Conservation Group on its swift nestbox project, to aid the declining swift population whose traditional nesting sites have been disappearing due to modern building practices.

Swift nestbox workshop

Swift nestbox workshop

Members of DCG meet on a regular basis to share their knowledge and insights and to plan future workshops.

This summer, some of the Community gardens have had Open Days, Poetry Evenings, barbecues and Herbal workshops.

“In terms of skill sharing, community gardening is accelerated learning…” (Seoidin O’Sullivan, SC Rd Community Garden)

 

Saturdays at Broadstone Community Garden

Saturdays at Broadstone Community Garden

The therapeutic value of urban green spaces is backed up widely by research. Increased patient recovery rates have been noted at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, in beds overlooking Central Park! Gardening has many benefits to humans, both mental and physical; in studies, it has been found to promote a sense of calm and relaxation and to improve self-esteem. The benefits to nature too are manifold.

Chives. Allium schoenoprasum

Growing herbs
 Chives : Allium schoenoprasum

“We need to share good practice, encourage each other, share our knowledge”, says Chair of DCG, Marion Kelly, “Children need nature, and an understanding of where their food comes from. Community gardens help address this.”

To find out more about Dublin Community Growers or where their gardens are located, take a look at their website :

http://www.dublincommunitygrowers.ie

The next meeting of DCG takes place on Monday, 11th August, 6.30pm at the Dublin Food Co-op.

A two-day cob oven building course will take place at CHANGE community garden on 27th-28th August.

 

19 thoughts on “Dublin Community Growers

  1. Such an uplifting and positive post – and the veg looks superb. The therapeutic value to the ‘urban’ community gardeners cannot be underestimated either. I passionately believe that it is in our biology that humans need to spend some time outdoors everyday if possible, and what better way to spend that time.

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    • Many thanks Agnes. DCG is full of inspiring positive people and most of the gardens are run by volunteers on Saturdays or after work in the summer months. The great looking veg was grown by Hubert, pictured above.
      And I agree … a daily connection with nature is hugely beneficial.

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  2. Community gardens are such a wonderful, wonderful thing! I’ve seen several of them in various places here around the city, and I think it’s just fabulous! There is one along the route that I’ve been riding my bike past everyday and I keep thinking I should stop and take some pictures of it, but I’m always too intent on pedaling. 😉
    Great post, Lorna!

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    • Thanks so much Julie. DCG is full of wonderful supportive people doing great work around the city … like in many parts of the US, Canada, Europe and many other places no doubt.
      Hope you’ll get a chance to pause and take a few pics on one of your cycling jaunts!

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  3. It is a great post. I believe that gardening can improve ones health and well being. I just didn’t know that there was scientific evidence to substantiate it. Studies also showed people who have pets are healthier as well. I think when we are connected to nature we thrive. It is when we disconnect from it, that our health deteriorates.I do agree that communitiy garden give the added plus of social life on top of it. Thanks
    Honey

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    • Thanks Honey and I agree! I think gardeners have always known how therapeutic being outdoors is, immersed in nature. Now there are many initiatives to introduce gardening to schoolchildren, offenders, those suffering from dementia and so on. As you say, when connected to nature, we thrive.

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  4. What a great, uplifting post. Yes, I did read the story you posted last summer, and was very pleased to see an update. Thank you! and I like your fair city too, especially Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, and Grafton Street, and all the pubs and the singing of folk songs. Although, whenever I visited it rained, and Dubliners always claimed “You should have been here just last week! It was sunny and lovely!” So I had the great pleasure of using this line on my friends who visited from Dublin this year, because here in Southern Ontario, it was indeed rainy.

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    • Thanks Cynthia.
      We call it “soft weather” … and yes it does rain quite a bit here.
      My Dublin house is 10 mins walk from Trinity etc. and it’s the first time I’ve lived in an inner city environment so I’m grateful for those Community gardens.

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  5. I am truly inspired by this write-up that shares a strong beauty of communal involvement! This is very beautiful. I am also in love with your photo of the tomatoes strung up from the garden raised beds, this would save sooooo much space in the garden… I had not thought about that! I have started my very first urban garden in my front yard this year and have been writing about it at dirtidigyou.wordpress.com. My most recent post is a walk through my garden, and as you can see in the photos of my lovely tomato plants, those babies take up a lot of space!! I look forward to seeing more on your blog. Thank you!

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