A trio of Wexford community projects focusing on 'growing it yourself' have been rewarded for their efforts with national awards. Barntown School Vegetable Garden, Grantstown Priory Scheme and Tombrack community garden in Enniscorthy were all selected as winners in the 2019 'Energia Get Ireland Growing' competition and receive €500 towards their projects.
Now in their seventh year, the awards are run in conjunction with Grow it Yourself (GIY), a not for profit social enterprise which helps people to grow their own food at home, at work, at school and in the community. To date almost €500,000 has been donated to projects across Ireland.
The Barntown garden consists of a poly-tunnel and outdoor growing area which the school community use to grow food. So far, children, staff and parents have grown spring onions, beetroot, pumpkin, nasturtiums, lemon balm, chives and mint. Their produce is then sold at School Carnival Day with all funds raised going back into growing more fruit and vegetables.
The Grantstown project operates from within the centre's day care centre and has seen residents learn gardening skills and grow organic vegetables, fruit and herbs.
Discussing the benefits of the project, a member of staff said, 'Both the residents and volunteers at the centre benefit from the social interaction, the physical exercise involved, and the new skills learnt and shared. This helps to avoid social isolation and enhances physical and mental wellbeing.'
The Tombrack community garden consists of a group of locals who grow fresh produce while also creating a tranquil biodiverse environment to enhance the lives of all involved. Currently at the beginning of their project, they have a 10-year lease on 1.3 acres and have plans to create plots and flowerbeds in year one to get everyone growing.