“Communities that grow together stay together.”
Well maybe that is not quite how the saying goes but it is certainly what the promoters of a community garden idea in Ballyhaunis are hoping.
The town’s Family Resource Centre is leading the development of a community garden in the grounds of the old Augustinian Abbey.
Communities gardens have been very popular in urban North America for many years now. The idea is that a community shares the work - and the produce - and enjoys the social, economic, and environmental fruits of their labour, such as community camaraderie, a vibrant and colourful space to enjoy, and fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers.
The resource centre has already held a meeting to plot out the garden design and it is expected to be laid out and a polytunnel installed and ready for planting by the end of February.
“We hope this will be an activity that will draw people from all parts of the community together,” explained Stephen Grogan, Ballyhaunis Family Resource Centre coordinator. “We can come together and work and learn from each other and do something useful for the community. There’s a great sense of satisfaction to be had from that.”
Primarily, the community gardeners will focus on growing vegetables but the garden will also include floral displays and an orchard.
Mr Grogan believes the garden will also be a tool for promoting and celebrating community inclusion and diversity.
“We hope to reflect the many different cultures and nationalities who are living in Ballyhaunis, in this garden because each culture has a different relationship with gardening,” he said.
It is expected that produce from the garden will also benefit the wider community. “We will look at finding a way to use the produce to support a local service, such as the childcare service, Scouts, or the St Vincent de Paul - wherever the greatest community benefit would come from,” added Mr Grogan.
Land for the project was donated by the Abbey Partnership with funding assistance from the non-profit group Grow It Yourself Ireland.
Anyone interested in getting involved in the Ballyhaunis Community Garden project can contact Stephen Grogan in the Family Resource Centre on (094 ) 9630929.