Website Official Launch – Press Release

Website Launch Group Picture at St Anne's City Farm

St. Anne's City Farm and Ecology Centre, Thursday 10th June 2021

“Community gardens are good for your health!”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, today launched Dublin Community Growers’ new website (www.dublincommunitygrowers.ie). Created as a resource to meet the growing interest in community gardens since the onset of Covid-19, it also promotes the physical and mental health benefits of community gardening. This is an exciting development for all those interested in biodiversity, sustainability, food security and well-being, and is the definitive source of information on all aspects of community gardening in Dublin.

Dublin Community Growers, a citywide support network for developing community spaces for growing and sharing, created the new website to promote existing community gardens, support newer ones along their journey, and provide information on the health and wellness aspects of community gardening.

Speaking at the launch in St. Anne’s City Farm & Ecology Centre this morning, The Lord Mayor of Dublin,  Hazel Chu said:

"Dublin Community Growers' new website will serve to connect people to their existing local growing projects and make it easier for new groups to access valuable knowledge and learnings to help them set up their community projects.”

The website is an easily accessible and beneficial resource.  Designed and built for the group by Adriana Jankiewicz as a college assignment, it should prove helpful for those who are looking for more information about any of the 40+ community gardens based in the wider Dublin area. It is also a source of advice and inspiration for those considering starting a new garden project.  Speaking about the new website, John O’Donoghue, Vice Chairperson of Dublin Community Growers, said:

“We wanted to make our website more accessible to the growing number of communities who garden collectively, empowering them to grow some of their own food and enhance their space in a sustainable way. The garden map on the website provides information on existing community gardens and allotments in the Dublin area, enabling anybody interested in contacting their local community garden or allotment.”

Healthy, Safe, Outdoor Activity

During Covid, community gardens came into their own as a source of safe, healthy, outdoor activity. They offer a potent vehicle for delivering an enhanced sense of community and building healthy relationships within communities. The physical and mental health benefits of community gardening are well known, as is the increased sense of social cohesion that they foster.  It’s a recognised form of ‘green therapy’ and increasingly the subject of ‘social prescribing’ by GPs and caring organisations.  It’s an excellent way to lower anxiety and stress levels, particularly now when the country is dealing with the uncertain trajectory of the coronavirus. 

Community gardens are a safe resource for local primary and secondary schools to use as an educational tool, and there is evidence of better academic performance in schools with access to outside ‘classroom gardens’.

They also contribute hugely to biodiversity enhancement in urban areas. Community gardens convert derelict sites’ unused spaces into green areas that form habitats for diverse flora and fauna, attracting insects and other wildlife. This is very much in keeping with the government’s latest All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-25, and Dublin City Council’s Development Plan 2016-22. They can also address food poverty and food sustainability.

Growth of Community Gardens

It is generally acknowledged that one of the more positive outcomes from COVID-19 and the country’s lockdown is that people have discovered the joys of gardening, whether they have access to a garden, a balcony or just a windowsill.   As a result, community gardens have experienced an enormous upsurge in interest from people.  All ages are keen to get involved in their local garden, or to find out more about gardening. 

Maeve Foreman committee member of DCG and secretary of Mud Island Community Garden in Dublin’s North Inner City said:

“We’ve experienced a huge increase in requests from people wanting to become members of the garden and get more involved. As well as ensuring that we have a regular supply of locally grown vegetables - which taste better than shop bought and nutritionally are far more superior - for many of us our local community garden has kept us physically fit and mentally sane during these challenging days.”

History of Dublin Community Growers (DCG)

Entirely volunteer led, DCG has been in existence for over 12 years.   DCG’s committee has fifteen members involved in gardens or allotments across Dublin city and county, elected each year at its AGM. One of the first community gardens in Dublin was the Dolphin’s Barn Community Food Garden set up on derelict land on the banks of the Grand Canal in 2005. It led to the South Circular Road Community Garden project established in 2007, and subsequently to Dublin Community Growers. Dolphin’s Barn is a prime example of how derelict land can be transformed into a viable community resource. 

Speaking about the history of the community garden movement in Ireland, Willie Brennan, founding member of DCG, and member of Blarney Park Community Garden, said:

“As one of the original members of the Dolphin’s Barn and South Circular Road gardens, it’s been heartening to see the community garden movement take off in Dublin and around the country over the past 15 years, with the result that there are now over 40 gardens in the broader Dublin area registered with Dublin Community Growers, and upwards of 100 around the country registered with Community Gardens Ireland.”

The new website builds on the Dublin City Guide to Community Gardening (2013) written by Robert Moss of An Taisce’s Green Communities, and published by the Environmental Focus Group of Dublin City Council’s Community Forum

Community gardens in the wider Dublin area that are not already listed on the new website are welcome to contact us to register details of their garden for free.  Dublin Community Growers is affiliated to the all-Ireland community garden network Community Gardens Ireland and gardens outside of Dublin can register HERE