Tuesday 17 September 2019

Edible Bray growing food across the town

Mary Fogarty

People may have seen the Edible Bray gardens in the Albert Walk and at the Bray Recycling Centre and wondered what they were about. The idea of growing vegetables, herbs and fruit on unused public land goes back to the west Yorkshire town of Todmorden where 'Incredible Edibles' began a few years ago.

In 2014 Annie White, Ciara Brehony and Sara Fontannaz from Common Ground in Bray visited Estelle Brown and Mary MacNeill from the Incredible Edible team in Todmorden in their kitchen where it all started, gradually extending their gardens out onto the road and down to shops, the police station, schools and the local health board office.

Now the town has visitors from all over the world to learn how to do the same.

Edible Bray began from that visit. The idea is to grow 'edibles' in public places, both for demonstration and education but also to create a free food trail around Bray. Edibles include vegetables, herbs and some soft fruit. Anyone may help themselves to the produce. Some of the cafés in the Albert Walk use the herbs in their dishes.

The start-up was supported by Bray Tidy Towns, Bray Municipal District Council and Bray Grow It Yourself. Funding has been provided by the Local Agenda 21 fund from Wicklow County Council.

One of the first projects was the planting of 64 native Irish apple trees in Bray schools. The Bray School Garden competition has continued the idea and this has been the third year of the competition. Apple trees have also been planted in Sidmonton Square and at the railway station.

The students on the horticultural course at BIFE have also been involved by helping to spread spent hops as a mulch in the autumn, provided by Wicklow Wolf brewery.

'There has been almost no vandalism and we have great support from the businesses and residents in the Albert Walk and from the staff at the Recycling Centre,' said Richard Webb of Edible Bray. 'Unfortunately, the poly-tunnel at the Headlands Community garden has been vandalised and we are looking for support for repairs.' There is a small Edible Bray team that meets every Wednesday at the Common Ground centre in Church Terrace, to decide on tasks, such as weeding, planting and watering, usually taking place on a Saturday morning.

'Edible Bray could do more if more people were involved and we definitely welcome anyone who would be prepared to help and to suggest new sites,' said Richard. The group can be contacted at:

Bray People