11 September 2008

Change of website

The Dublin Food Growing website has moved to a new location at dublinfoodgrowing.org which includes a blog, garden location maps, and more.

This is the final post to the dublinfoodgrowing.blogspot.com site. Please update you links and bookmarks.

11 April 2008

Dublin Food Growing Visioning Session

Notes from the meeting facilitated by John Harrington, Cultivate Centre, March 29th 2008
recorded by Kaethe Burt-O’Dea (email: kaethe [at] desireland.ie)

(our vision of a future Dublin if Dublin Food Growing is highly successful)
  • All Dublin’s food (fruit and vegetables) will be grown locally by 20XX: Dublin will feed it’s own population, achieving food security comparable to Havana in 2007.
  • Community: civil capacity building: The social and physical and economic aspects of community life will be nurtured and enhanced by the food system.
  • No organic matter leaves Dublin: Fertile waste stream and water is captured and used in a closed loop system (including greywater, run off, and sewage).
  • No space wasted: Every empty space is cultivated to become a productive edible landscape.
  • Dublin Food Growing operates at all scales: From window boxes to allotments to commercial.
  • Anyone who wants to grow food can: Space and resources will be available and easily accessible to all.
  • Dublin diet equitable: The food system does not deprive other people of food and resources necessary to feed themselves
  • Dublin Food Growing will become a driver in the International arena

  • Proven Business Case: Health advantages (exercise, nutrition, psychological) social benefits (less crime, vandalism, etc.), promotes environmental restoration and biodiversity
  • Positive Cultural Strategy: Inclusive activity, encourages cross cultural and cross generational exchange
  • Professional skills
  • Examples: existing gardens
  • Collective growing skills and experience: knowledge of horticulture, restoring natural habitats, seed breeding (selection)
  • Enthusiasm and labor
  • Time constraints: trying to do too much, limited available time
  • Tendency to work in isolation
  • Insurance: health and safety

  • International Precedent: Havana, Toronto, Newcastle, Birmingham
  • Time is right: wave of interest in Food and sustainability
  • Health research: Supporting research in mental health – therapeutic horticulture, nutrition.
  • Good relationship with Dublin City Council
  • Existing local and National Political Support: Green Party, DCC, etc.
  • Up Against the wall
  • Potential space: 25% of Dublin’s available land are back gardens, many abandoned and neglected sites.
  • Resistance-opposition from vested interests: business, developers
  • Lack of policy support (clout): official recognition, funding
  • Irish culture of conservatism and apathy

  • Knowledge of broader energy/environmental issues: contacts in this field
  • Knowledge of setting up organizations
  • Teaching skills
  • Cooking knowledge: all levels
  • Lack of (community) Awareness: opposition, limited ‘big picture’ view, lack of volunteers
  • Lack of access to local sites
  • Convenience culture
  • Loss of horticultural knowledge/skills: in this generation

  • Overlap with all previous strands
  • Lack of connections: Deficient links between groups and links with local talent.
  • Many interested individuals-organizations are not part of the group (yet!).
  • Not cool: associated with poverty

  • Garden Visits: Work/Party/Learning days at each existing garden (similar to WOOFing) listed on a Calendar of events *This year! Pat Harrington’s School. Sitric Community Composting Garden, South Circular Garden
  • Increase availability of public park allotments (including new parks)
  • Public plantings: Promote productive use by encouraging food cultivation in public spaces in your area.
  • Aim high: (eg.100 allotment sites and 200 community gardens)
  • Register all existing community gardens as community associations.
  • Keep it FUN!
  • Argue for establishing community gardens at every public amenity: school, library, park, hospital, retirement home.
  • Support Allotment Campaign: letters, lobbying, documenting potential sites and interest
  • Develop Group Structure: become an officially recognized association, foundation, or…?
  • Lobby and Influence Dublin City Development Plan * Erik Van Lennep has offered to act as a hub for contact with Dublin City Council communication.
  • Identify and Map Potential Sites: Google earth and community mapping research, make lists of potential food growing sites per area. * Willie Morrogh of Dublin City Council will act as a channel for this information
  • Ongoing active research program: conduct research into the best species, soils, techniques, strategies to support every Dubliner interested in food growing
  • World Class Resource Centre: Education at all levels
  • Resource Exchange Service: Freecycle for food cultivation offering easily accessible information, experience, materials, ideas, techniques, labor
  • Build website as active hub *Volunteers: Kaethe Burt-O’Dea, Sean Shanagher Bruce Darrell, David Logan
  • Become a community
  • Establish a regular media presence: Integrate promotion and outreach strategies into all activities in as many ways possible
  • Become a recognized source for information on food issues for the media

24 March 2008

Ethos and Collective Vision Meeting

At the inaugural meeting of Dublin Food Growing in February, John Harrington offered to facilitate another meeting to collect and represent the sentiment of the group with the purpose of establishing a common goal that everyone can sign up to. This meeting was tentatively set for the 25th of March, but it has been re-scheduled for next Saturday morning:

Date: March 29th, 2008
Time: 10 am - 1 pm
Venue: the same as last meeting - Cultivate Center, 15 - 19 Essex St West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8

This meeting is open to anyone, not just those were able to make the first meeting. Please come along if you are interested in helping to establish the focus and goals of Dublin Food Growing.

Apologies for the delay in notice about this change.

Contact details:
Bruce Darrell 087 227 0359
Morag Friel 087 255 8106

22 February 2008

Inaugural Meeting - review

The first gathering of Dublin Food Growing took place last night and, by all accounts, it was a fantastic success. We had planned for 25 people, including the people making presentations, and were secretly hoping for as many as 40. In the end 54 people crammed into the room! The time is obviously right for this initiative.

The meeting started off with a brief introduction to the history of the initiative. Willie Morrogh had met with Morag Friel and Bruce Darrell about setting up a group to campaign for more allotments in Dublin City Council. Ideas developed about the scope and possibilities of an organisation focussed on getting more food growing in the Dublin. Cathal O'Meara came in for the second meeting, and through our discussions came the genesis of Dublin Food Growing with the overall unifying purpose of establishing "food security from the ground up". The first step was to bring in as many people as possible, to build on the great work of the existing food growing and education projects in Dublin.

This introduction was followed by 9 short presentations about a wide range of projects and initiatives:
Kaethe Burt-O'Dea - Sitric Road Compost Garden
Kathleen Curley-Clarke - Cultivate Centre
Bruce Darrell - Dartmouth Square Plot
Sinead Finn - GAP Ballymun
Darragh Flynn - Greystones/Kilcoole Community Garden Group
Michael Fox - South Dublin Allotment Association
Pat Harrington - Colaiste Bhride Secondary School, Clondalkin
Seoidin O'Sullivan - South Circular Road Garden
Erik Van Lennep - Tepui Design

A number of other people in the room were given the opportunity to talk about other projects that they are involved with.

This was followed by a discussion about the purpose and scope of this organisation. The diversity of opinions and suggestions cannot be easily summarised here, but there was overwhelming support for the benefits of an "umbrella" organisation to support existing projects and to encourage more food to be grown in the city.

Much of the discussion was around educational gardens, community gardens and allotments, and this reflected the focus of most of the people in the room. There was less of a focus on encouraging independent backyard gardening, alternative forms of urban food growing (such as rooftop gardens, vertical planting, etc.) and market gardens and other forms of commercial food growing within and around the city, but these issues were raised and seen as important to include within this initiative.

There was some discussion about the use of "food security" within the title of the organisation, as this was felt by some to be a negative aspect to something that should be approached in a very positive manner, whereas others felt that it was an unifying aspect that is becoming increasingly important. This discussion will likely continue and it highlights the diversity of opinions within this initiative.

An offer came from John Harrington to facilitate another meeting to collect and represent the sentiment of the group with the purpose of establishing a common goal that everyone can sign up to. This idea was well received and a meeting was tentatively scheduled for the 7:30pm on 25th of March, and details will be posted asap.

The other practical outcome of the meeting was the formation of a steering group that will work to get this initiative off the ground. This group includes:

Bruce Darrell
Darragh Flynn
Michael Fox
Morag Friel
David LLewellyn
Willie Morrogh
Cathal O'Meara
Seoidin O'Sullivan
Hubert Servignat

(Anyone else who is interested in being on this steering group, please email dublnfoodgrowing@gmail.com.)

The event was marred only by the absence of Morag Friel who was stuck at home with the flu. Morag had put in a huge amount of work preparing for the evening, it is a shame she could not witness the extraordinary success of her efforts.

14 February 2008

Inaugural Meeting

Open meeting of

Dublin Food Growing - Food Security from the Ground Up

7:30 to 9:30pm, 21st Feb 2008
Venue: Cultivate Center, 15 - 19 Essex St West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8

Please come along if you live in or around Dublin and:
  • are concerned about food security in a time of high energy costs
  • want to reduce the climate impact of our food systems
  • are concerned about rising food prices and economic insecurity
  • have a desire to empower yourself by growing your own food
  • want to campaign for more and better allotments in Dublin
  • are involved in an existing food growing project
  • want to share your food growing experiences with others

This meeting will establish Dublin Food Growing, an organisation dedicated to food security, advocacy, research, policy, networking and education.

We want to enable and encourage people to grow more food, either for themselves or others, in back gardens, community gardens, allotments, schools and institutions, parks, urban infill sites, farmland around Dublin, on balconies and roofs, in window boxes - anywhere that plants will grow!

Currently nobody is taking responsibility for ensuring that Dublin's population has an adequate supply of nutritious food, it's up to us to help build Dublin's food security from the ground up.

The meeting will start with an introduction to various existing food growing and education projects. This will be followed by a discussion about the possibilities for Dublin Food Growing and where best to focus our efforts.

Contact details:
Bruce Darrell 087 227 0359
Morag Friel 087 255 8106