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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
“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 :
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.