Community Growing Initiative

Community Growing Initiative

A new community urban growing initiative is to transform city spaces across Ireland after workers at Heineken Ireland joined forces with GIY (Grow It Yourself) to set up a network of workplace growing groups.

The scheme is part of GIY’s ‘GIY@Work’ employee well-being programmes, inspiring workers in companies around the country to get together and inspire each other to really connect with their food and well-being – as well as growing some delicious fruit and veg! Programmes range from simple workshops to workplace allotments, season-long food growing programmes, competitions and challenges. Volunteers can get involved with local community gardens and schools and enjoy team away days for an immersive Grow, Cook, Eat experience.

Over 50 volunteers from Heineken Ireland have now helped set up ten workplace community growing groups around the country. Three community groups have also been selected as “star gardens”, receiving a garden design, planting and growing expertise, a financial contribution towards materials and the help of more Heineken Ireland volunteers.

The first-star garden has revitalised the Blackpool Plaza in Cork with colourful edibles, installing six benches and 18 planters. Leitrim Street Planters set up the second-star garden, using street art and guerrilla gardening to build, paint and plant boxes full of edibles, herbs and flowers to brighten up a key area at the entrance to Cork city. Finally, at Cork Simon Tir Na Nog High Support House Garden, 15 volunteers have worked with residents to rejuvenate their therapeutic garden, reclaiming their raised beds, reinstating their polytunnel and creating a herb garden.

“This is a fantastic example of the positive impact food growing has on people, whether it’s through ‘al desko’ growing, or urban greening,” said Karen O’Donohoe, head of Community Development at GIY.

It’s hoped more projects will be added as the movement gains momentum. For more information, visit www.giy.ie.

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