2020 DCG Annual Report

stawberry plants

Dublin Community Growers (DCG) exists to connect community gardens, allotments and associated groups in Dublin, Ireland.

We support and organise events that promote 

  • social inclusion
  • environmental responsibility
  • community gardens as valued amenities

DCG has been in existence for over twelve years.

The committee meets monthly to share our experiences, link in with other organisations, discuss issues, organise events and help one another with what we’ve learned

Our Committee

Name Role Community Project
Derek Oman
Secretary
Beechill Allotments
Diane Barker
Media Subgroup
St Brigid's Community Garden
Hubert Martin
Committee Member
WALK Community Garden
John O Donoghue
Chairperson
Muck and Magic Community Garden
Maeve Foreman
Media Subgroup
Mud Island Community Garden
Mark Cooke
Treasurer
Blarney Park Community Garden
Mary May
Committee Member
Blarney Park Community Garden
MIchael Keigher
Committee Member
Summer Row Community Garden
Miren Maialen Samper
Media Subcommittee
Mud Island Community Garden
Rosa Stephens
Media Sucommittee
GIY Dundrum
Sonya Agnew
Media Subcommittee
Willie Brennan
Vicechair Person
Blarney Park Community Garden

Our membership represents over fifty community garden projects, allotment sites and individuals who have an interest in community food growing projects.  Membership is free.

raised bed

The Impact of Covid-19

Our AGM last year was on the 29​th​ of February, held at the Visitors Centre at the National Botanic Gardens. Within a few weeks of that date we found ourselves in a pandemic with the commencement of our first lockdown resulting in the closure of community gardens and allotment sites for a number of weeks.

Our committee met online on a fortnightly basis, communicating with our members via email in liaison with the local authorities about what was safe to do within the restrictions at the time.

Top half of Covid-19 poster with guidelines for community gardens

Full details on Covid-19 Guidelines: CLICK HERE

Poster for your gate or noticeboard: CLICK HERE

After the first lockdown, restrictions eased to the extent that our community gardens and allotment sites could reopen in line with the public health guidelines operating at the time.  We were able to support members by emailing them a set of guidelines to help them to reopen on a safe basis.

Our annual summer activities, the Dublin Food Cycle, participation in the Sustainable Living Fair and the Dublin

Rose Festival could not go ahead because of Covid-19 restrictions.

The return of the long evenings, and with them Level 3 in Dublin, facilitated the committee being able to meet outdoors in a safe manner at various community gardens over the summer months, which we found to be more congenial and enabled us to have a tour of the host garden with some refreshments.

Apart from a few weeks in December when we were in Level 3 Living with Covid, our community gardens have been closed since early November with the introduction of Level 5.

Since then, the committee reverted to having its meetings online which we found challenging compared to being able to meet in person.

Meanwhile, allotment sites remain open with current public health guidelines in operation.  This we welcome as they were closed during the first lockdown which caused a public debate and media attention.  Committee members were interviewed on this issue on radio and newspapers, which raised the public profile of DCG and highlighted the many benefits of being able to grow some of your own food, on a communal or individual basis. As with many other sectors of society, Covid 19 has had a huge impact on DCG and its members, apart from visits from individual committee members for essential work, community gardens are not accessible to their volunteers and their local community. We hope that this situation will change soon with the gradual lifting of restrictions in the coming months. 

DCG Achievements 2020

There were a few great things that could be done while at home, apart, and online….

Launch of our new website:

Website homepage

This project commenced in 2019 as the committee recognised that the old website was not fit for purpose. After exploring various avenues, we were exceptionally fortunate to obtain the services of an IT student, Adriana Jankiewicz, who was willing to work with us to design our new website as an assignment for her course.

Our colleague Rosa Stephens lead this project, working closely with Ada and the committee. 

The new website went live in May with an updated Garden Map with some new features including a monthly ‘what to do’ in your garden or allotment.  The feedback we have received has been fantastic.  We notice that we are receiving more enquiries since the new website went live.  Folks often ask about the cost and availability of an allotment, where they can find a community garden, and whether they may bring kitchen compostables to a community garden. Students also reach out to us with surveys and requests for interviews.

graphic showing main areas of interest

The Lord Mayor Hazel Chu accepted our invitation to officially launch the new website last October.  We planned to issue a press release at the launch.  Sadly, the event had to be postponed due to an increase in the level of restrictions and we await the launch when it is possible to have the event.

Media Subgroup:

The success of the new website exposed the need to improve our social media presence.  This need has lead to the formation of the DCG Media subgroup.

The new season holds a fresh opportunity to engage with our member gardens and offer growing guides and moral support, as well as connections with other gardens and people in their local communities, as has always been our aim. This year we want specifically to reconnect with our member gardens and catch up in greater depth than we have been. 

We want to celebrate community growing projects and the core values of inclusion and sustainability. We want to tell the story proudly of all the good work that is happening on the ground in community growing projects. In doing so we also need to be respectful of each project and its people, and the time they have to give. The process by which we come at these goals should promote the accomplishments, but also demonstrate the respect and care which is at the heart of the work.

screenshot of Facebook AGM poster

Submission to the Draft Dublin City Development plan 2022 -28:

Recently DCG has made a submission to the new to this draft plan. In the submission DCG  expressed that we would like to see Dublin becoming a vibrant green city with a good sustainable infrastructure with reference to its communities being empowered to grow some of their food needs and to care for their local environment. In addition we identified the need for a Community Garden Liaison Officer to assist communities in their needs.

 A copy of our submission is available to read on our website.

Workshops:

Daffodils grown in a pallet standing on its side

In recent years, workshops on aspects of community gardening have been our primary activity.  Workshops are hosted by various member gardens and are funded by DCG.

During the past year, due to the pandemic we were able to have one socially distant workshop on Pallet Gardening at Blarney Park community garden.

Looking Ahead

A new committee will be elected at the AGM.  We hope that the new committee will be invigorated with some new members and be more representative of the community gardens and allotment sites in the Dublin area. What can be achieved in the year ahead…?  Please consider joining us.

Revision of our Constitution:

The Dublin Community Growers constitution was agreed in 2010 and has not been amended since 2011 and so we enclose a proposal to amend one portion of it this year, with a view to addressing the constitution and good governance more completely in the next years of operation. 

Strategy Plan 2021-2024:

In recent months, the need for a strategy plan has been identified and we are seeking a facilitator to help with the process of creating such a plan.

Marketing of Dublin Community Growers:

This issue has been identified as a priority in the coming year and is being addressed by the media subgroup.

Workshops:

At present due to Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to provide workshops and we will be exploring the provision of workshops online which can be recorded and put up on our website.

Annual Events:

Our involvement in the Dublin Food Cycle and the Rose Festival in St. Anne’s Park this year is in doubt because of the pandemic.

We have received an invitation from the National Botanic Gardens to participate in their online Sustainable Living Fair.  A date for this event has yet to be confirmed, but it is usually held in May.

Official Launch of DCG Website:

Lord Mayor Hazel Chu

The Official launch of the Dublin Community Growers website and Press Statement as mentioned earlier the official launch had to be postponed and we await when public health guidelines allow us to have this event with the involvement of the present Lord Mayor Hazel Chu.

Financial Report

Expenses:

Category Amount
Bank charges
114.57
Website
381.95
Stationery
92.98
Workshops provided (2)
300
AGM
160
Grant to Community Garden
250
Post
8.30
TOTAL
1307.80

Balance at end of 2020: € 740. 19