In The Meanwhile Garden, Belfast
Derelict property sites that had been earmarked for future development but have remained empty as stalled developments sites are scattered across the city of Belfast and beyond. In the short-term, “meanwhile” uses for this land can be found, providing environmental, social and economic benefits – until the conditions are right for longer term development.
Groundwork NI has developed one meanwhile solution for some of these derelict eyesores across Belfast. Working with the landowner, the Department for Social Development and funders the Public Health Agency we have created three, half acre thriving, Meanwhile organic food gardens in partnership with local communities in the midst of the concrete jungle of Belfast.
Along with local communities, we have cleared away rubbish, built transportable organic vegetable plots and reaped the fruits of our labour over the last 2 years. These gardens are where people can work together, relax, communicate, learn new skills and enjoy locally produced seasonal and organic food.
Groundwork NI is piloting this concept across the four Meanwhile Community Gardens in Belfast. The gardens are located in Belfast, at Connswater Street, Upper Ardoyne and on the Shankill Road. Groundwork NI is using plastic kerbside recycling boxes to grow the veg, fruit and herbs. These boxes have been gifted to us from Bryson Recycling and we fill them with the compost made from your food and garden waste collected by local councils and manufactured in Belfast- it’s rocket fuel for veg’.
We facilitate, teach and mentor anyone who wants to get involved in growing, organise events and offer healthy cooking workshops using the produce grown on site.
David Carver, Community Gardener with the NBWISP community group
Northern Allotments Project
With funding from the Public Health Agency and Landfill Tax Credits, GroundworkNI in partnership with 5 local community groups have developed community growing spaces in Toome, Loughgiel, Rathfern, Monkstown and Larne.
All the gardens are different as they have been led by volunteers from the local communities, however the main theme of the gardens is growing edibles. Groundworkni have provided formal training and hands on gardening sessions to meet the individual needs of each group so that they can grow a wide range of produce. There have also been healthy eating sessions when we come together to cook and taste some of the produce.
The communities have also been working to add to the gardens, and using them to reach out to their communities through events, or even encouraging people to pop in to take a look. The produce from the gardens is shared by the volunteers who in turn share it with their friends and neighbours.
The gardens provide more than just a growing space, they are a great meeting place and people take the time to talk to each other, making new friendships or rekindling old ones.
For more information please contact David Carver or Heather Boyd on 028 9074 9494