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PHA visit Meanwhile Garden

Public Health Agency Chief Executive visits new ‘Meanwhile’ Garden in East Belfast.

GroundworkNI community gardener Mick McEvoy shows the PHA chief executive around the organic community food at the 'Meanwhile Garden' at Clandeboye Street Community Garden, East Belfast...


Derelict property sites that had been earmarked for future development lie empty, 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 four, half acre thriving, Meanwhile or Pop Up 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 first fruits of our labour this summer. This vision for a new model of urban living where people can work together, relax, communicate, share skills and enjoy locally produced seasonal and organic food is an idea which time has come.

Groundwork NI is piloting this concept across the four Meanwhile Community Gardens in Belfast. The gardens are located in Connswater Street and the Beersbridge Road in Inner East Belfast, Upper Ardoyne, North Belfast and on the Mid Shankill Road, West Belfast. As the gardens have literally popped up conversations have begun within these communities and beyond about where our food come from, how it is grown and just how easy it is to grow it yourself. Groundwork NI is using damaged 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 in the gardens and also offer  healthy cooking workshops using the produce grown on site. Therapeutic Horticulture workshops are also offered to help with the modern epidemics of stress, anxiety and loneliness that plague many city communities and citizens. Our leases on the four plots of land run to the end of the growing season next year in October 2017. What then? Maybe new social housing will be needed and be constructed on one of the sites and we’ll need to vacate. No big problem. We’ll pick up our mobile garden and find a new derelict plot of land and continue growing...there’s plenty to choose from!

For further information on 'Meanwhile Gardens' or 'Grow your own' horticultural training please contact or

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