Ballaghaderreen Community Garden
November 21, 2018
In your own words, tell us about your project.
Last autumn we started by clearing the land, levelling it and removing weeds. There was a small ceremony in September when we planted the first tree. We got several members of the Syrian community involved early on and it has been an honour and joy to welcome them into the community in this way. We hope the garden has been a safe and enjoyable place for them, practicing English and socialising.
Last spring we erected our poly tunnel and lay woodchip paths. We also planted a number of fruit trees and shrubs. We are increasing wildlife and promoting an interest in growing your own food and herbs.
A highlight was our opening day in early June when the Mayor of Roscommon, Orla Leyden cut the ribbon and officially opened the garden. We were also visited by Craig Benton from stopfoodwaste.ie, who gave an inspirational talk on composting and brought our worm bins to life.
The garden employs a couple of Tús workers three days a week and we are grateful as they have managed to get a lot of jobs done since their start in February.
Each Sunday afternoon members of the committee meet up with anyone who wishes to join in. This is probably the most enjoyable aspect of the project. The garden strengthens the community spirit, brings people together and teaches us all the benefits of a closer bond with nature. In the coming year the committee are hoping that more member of the community will find their way to the garden and enjoy the fun, friendship, fresh air and exercise that it brings.
Why did you do this work?
The garden is a place where all members of society are welcome to socialize, interact and realize their potential in close contact with nature and the elements. Growing food, herbs, fruit and flowers in a kind and caring environment is proven to have a great impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
What was the impact or outcome of your project?
The project is ongoing and so far we are working with and welcoming the local early learners Playschool, Refugees from the local EROC, Secondary school TY students, the Community Service, The Brothers of Charity outreach Services, the Tús employment Scheme and many members of the local community.
In future we are planning to have poetry readings, music and dance events, courses and talks on subjects relating to gardening, sustainable food production and wildlife preservation. We are also planning to reach many more groups in the community.
Do you have any tips or advice for similar projects?
In the beginning you will have a lot of work to do with securing a suitable plot, accessing funding, getting insurance, making a plan and design and so forth, but quite soon the administration and planning side of things gets easier and you can concentrate on getting stuck in.
You will find that it is all worth it when you see the impact the garden will have on members of your local community. We meet up each Sunday afternoon and it is always a fun and rewarding experience, with lots of laughter and many cups of tea.