Pop-up community festival brings organic food to Dublin city today

The Dublin Community Growers are holding their Harvest Festival today.

IF YOU ARE a city dweller who thought that growing your own food was firmly off the agenda, then the Dublin Community Growers are here to change your mind.

Today from 12pm to 5pm in the city centre of the capital they will be bringing lots of fresh, organic food for people to enjoy as part of the Harvest Festival.

The free event is being held in Wolfe Tone Square on Jervis Street in Dublin 1, and is aimed at all members of the family. As well as the food, you can expect live music, face-painting, a pop-up garden, apple pressing and even bee-keeping workshops.

Dublin Community Growers is a network of community gardens from across Dublin whose members meet up every month to discuss community garden projects and the issues faced by these projects. There are already 35 community garden projects involved in the initiative.

imagePic: Robert Moss

It’s a day to raise awareness of the need for community gardening and how such gardens can bring people from around the community together.

It’s also a way of recruiting potential community gardeners – you can give your details there if you are available to help out at your local community garden project. No experience is required.

The DCG said it is a way of demonstrating the benefits of organic food, and showing that it need not be expensive, can be accessible to all, and will mean you can have fun in the garden.

Garden growth

Where once there were two or three community gardens that “could be found struggling for permission to exist in Dublin back in 2004″, as Robert Moss from DCG put it, “we now see around 40 of these urban growing initiatives blossoming across Dublin on a variety of public and private sites”.

The Heritage Festival, which is run by DCG, was launched back in March by the then-Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, at Mansion House.

Moss said of today’s festival:

The Dublin Harvest Festival is the perfect antidote to a recession. Not only does it displace anti-social behaviour, but it also supports existing businesses by bringing additional attendance and engagement from across the city and beyond.

Jacqui Kelleher, a member of DCG told that the festival was held for the first time last year, and was begun to introduce people who would not be used to growing their own food organically to community gardening.

imagePic: Rachel Nulty

Kelleher is from the Heritage community garden, and said she got into the movement due to an interest in organic food.

She said that community gardens break down isolation and help with integration.

It opens the doors of people coming into different countries; it’s a focal point of community where people can come together.

She herself lives in an apartment and had an interest in growing her own food – especially when she realised the organic food she was buying was being flown in from abroad.

She brings her own young son to the garden and he has been known to bring his friends also.

She said that while some think that organic food is only for people with money or with higher incomes, “community gardens give access to people with all kinds of income”.

“It doesn’t discriminate,” said Jacqui of community gardening.

The Harvest Festival will take place today, Saturday, from 12 – 5pm at Wolfe Tone Park.

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