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