Four community projects across Donegal have been awarded grants from a €75,000 fund created by GIY (Grow It Yourself) in partnership with Energia.
The ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ has been set up to support 86 community food growing projects in Ireland. Recipients include community groups, schools, NGOs and Not for Profits, community gardens and allotment groups and others.
Each group will be awarded funding ranging from €500 to €2,000.
The local projects awarded support funds this year include:
Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala’s Green Fingers, Donegal Town
A project spokesperson said: “Our school garden is a learning garden where children learn how to prepare the soil. Manure the soil…raise plants from seeds in modules…plant out seedlings…weed …watch the plants grow…harvest and enjoy in our annual Soup Day in October. The children benefit by learning about gardening and the different stages of development and growth. They enjoy time outside working in the garden and planning the year’s crops. They especially enjoy harvesting the crops and preparing the vegetables for our annual Soup day where all the school community enjoy the fruits of our labours along with homemade bread supplied by parents.”
Gairdin Loch Finne, Donegal Town
Their plans are: “We have a poly tunnel growing tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and carrots. We are a small community group in a rural area who are trying to entice the community to prepare the soil, plant seeds, grow food and harvest together. We want to extend the garden to include 2 raised beds and enhance the garden with borders and water features.”
Gairdin Glas, Leitir Ceanainn, Donegal
They said: “We are currently preparing for different community groups to partake in the management of allotments and raised beds for this year’s growing season. We are also undertaking reparation work on our polytunnel due to storm damage.
“We currently organize a yearly plan so that all community groups can partake and have access to our facilities at the community centre. We run courses in conjunction with our ETB, together with voluntary assistance to maintain and prepare for our horticultural activities.
“Many groups in our community will benefit from this project- Our Nursery, National School, Youth Club, The Elderly and the community in general.”
Ards Walled Garden Community Project, Letterkenny
A spokesperson said: “Set in the grounds for Ards Friary, Creeslough, Donegal we have reclaimed the garden from dereliction and have created a community garden, an orchard, school garden (two schools) and allotments. We have rescued the space and we are conserving it for future generations. We meet every Saturday focusing on planning, preparing, planting, weeding & nurturing the fruit and vegetables, then harvesting the produce.”
In addition to the funding provided, GIY will also provide additional support 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.