Community Garden Growing Power Recognised with Award

Castleisland Community Garden manager, Willy Reidy (left) and Seán Hanly decorating the entrance for the morning of celebration on Monday with Oorla Casey keeping an eye on their progress. Photograph: Lorraine Broderick.
Lorraine Keane-Broderick with one of the first pumpkins to emerge at the Castleisland Community Garden. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Kerry Group in partnership with North, East and West Kerry Development presented the July 2018 Community Vibrancy Certificate to the Castleisland Community Garden on Monday morning.

The award was presented in recognition of its valuable contribution to the community vibrancy of the Castleisland area. Its role in Social Supports; Leadership in Community, Environment and Rural Development were also counted in as award worthy attributes.

Inclusive Community Development

Castleisland Community Garden is an all-inclusive community development project that involves gardeners with diverse abilities, various backgrounds and all age groups, to promote sustainable growing and the harvesting of organic produce.

The garden was started in 2012 by NEWKD’s Rural Social Scheme (RSS) with the support of the Presentation sisters giving a lease of the ground at the Crageens.

Broad Based Committee

The committee which runs the project comprises of representatives of: St. John of God and Oilean Beo; Castleisland Women’s Resource; Kerry Diocesan Youth Service; Castleisland Branch of Kerry Mental Health; Castleisland Community College Transition year students; Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and other groups and interested individuals.

The project has 32 gardeners and 53 plots fully planted and growing, three large poly tunnels and an orchard with several rows of more than 20 different types of trees and bushes.

Ponds and Hedging

The garden also has a pond for frogs, with natural hedging planted on the boundaries, as well as some native Irish trees, all creating bio diversity corridors throughout the garden.

Kerry Education Training Board has organised several courses on vegetables, growing in poly-tunnels, herbs, composting, rain harvesting and cooking.

In terms of future plans, the group hopes to facilitate the collection of rain water, the manufacture of a large compost sieve, the roofing of the Eco Hut, and also are looking at getting chickens and ducks, adding to the variety in the garden.

Positive Environmental Initiative

“NEWKD congratulate the Castleisland Community Garden and all individuals and groups involved in making this such a positive, environmental, inclusive and vibrant community-led initiative that is going from strength to strength,” said John Stack, NEWKD chairperson.

Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs, Kerry Group, also offered his congratulations and best wishes to all involved:

“Well done to all involved with Castleisland Community Garden. It offers a fantastic opportunity for individuals to connect with nature and their community and as part of a productive and sustainable initiative,” said Mr. Hayes.


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