17 Jul 2019
In 2012, the Moneygall Development Association (MDA), with the support of OLDC, completed a household survey within the village, as a baseline for future village development. The responses clearly identified a desire and need for a community garden, where people would learn the art of grow it yourself, where organic, fresh, local produce would be made available, and where people of all generations would work together on a common project to build a stronger resilient community. The Association developed an action plan, from the survey and have been working on to deliver same over the past three and a half years.
In early 2016, they set up a community garden sub-committee, who have been working hard since, to bring this project to fruition. This group have written an operational business plan including a garden design, and a 12 month work and event schedule. They have worked on a realistic funding plan for the development of the project (committing 40% of their own funds to the project), and have been successful in one funding application (IPB) to date. The project was eligible under the Rural Development Programme for funding, and they completed all infrastructural works in September 2018 having met all of the requirements of the funders including planning permission and loans etc…
With infrastructure in place they undertook a community education horticulture training programme and hence commenced the development of skills for the first growing season.
Currently they have 28 people who are actively supporting the garden through daily (watering roster) and weekly work sessions with a second horticulture course funded through the etb currently underway every Saturday morning. They held a successful launch day which was attended by more than 200 people. They are now seeing the fruits of their labour on a daily basis. They have local customers who come to the site every Saturday morning to buy vegetables and they also sell a table of produce once per month at the local cottage market. All funds earned through sales and training are used to but equipment and materials for the garden.
This is a beautiful space to spend time in and they have community events including Summer BBQ, Halloween Pumpkin festival, Christmas and Easter events planned to give the opportunity to everybody young and old to support this project. The facility is used by groups of people with disabilities and they have dedicated a corner to growing some native Syrian vegetables for families who have recently moved to Offaly. Future plans include a men’s shed project and a community bio-diversity plan. All are welcome and if anybody would like to bring a group or pop in for visit just let Sarah know on 087 6312676 and they would be more than happy to accommodate.