At this year’s GIY (Grow it Yourself ) gathering, the organisation rewarded the efforts of GIY Ballina for its outreach work in the community.
Home grown food leads to positive changes for the individual: better physical and mental health, a sense of empowerment and wellbeing, increased self-sufficiency, and so on. But when a GIY group reaches out and gets involved in projects in a local area, the whole community, and by extension, the whole of Irish society, benefits.
GIY Ballina is the Group of the Year in Connacht. Judges were impressed with the group’s work in the local community - introducing local people to the joy of home-grown food. GIY Ballina, in conjunction with Mayo North East Leader and other local community groups, organised a meitheal to set up a community garden in the Parkside area of Ballina, which featured on Diarmuid Gavin’s Dirty Old Towns on RTÉ television. Waste ground was converted into a workable community garden in 12 hours.
GIY Ballina was also involved in a community garden project at Enniscoe, and acted as mentors to Karen Garden – a community garden for the Karen (Burmese ) community living in the area. They are also in discussion with a local farmers’ market to sell members produce as a fundraising initiative for the group.
GIY Ballina meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 7pm, upstairs in the library on Pearse Street. The next meeting takes place on Wednesday October 12 and will host a guest speaker on growing fruit and nuts in the west of Ireland. The meetings are free and all are welcome.