If you are looking for advice about creating or working in a social community garden you’re in the right place. As voluntary founder and vice chair of Community Gardens Ireland, Dee Sewell of Greenside Up is a keen advocate.
From Mayo to Galway, Laois to Waterford, Dee has shared her knowledge about the many benefits to both communities and people of this sociable form of gardening. As a qualified transformative community education tutor, and social and therapeutic horticulturalist, Dee offers several services from design to hobby gardening courses, or accredited tuition as a Kilkenny Carlow Education Training Board tutor.
Dee is also a Master Composter with Stop Food Waste, a Voice Ireland Recycling Ambassador and currently works with Carlow Development Partnership on various social inclusion (SICAP) horticulture projects within the county.
Dee was a finalist in the 2013 Green Leader Award category of the Irish Green Awards as a result of her commitment to community change through food and environmental awareness.
An Gairdin Beo, Carlow Town
Dee was on the catalyzing committee at the beginning of the An Gairdin Beo project to develop this two acre garden in the centre of town. She has provided short compost and gardening workshops in it to The Plots Allotment Group, members of Carlow Integration Forum as well as children with Tusla Child and Family Agency.
Bagenalstown FRC Community Garden, Co Carlow
Dee worked with the Family Resource Centre from the very beginning – helping with the design, advising on the setting up and then running hobby courses and gardening with after schools children, funded both privately and through Carlow Kilkenny Education Training Board.
Ballyfoyle Community Garden, Co Kilkenny
This garden started as a hobby gardening course funded by Kilkenny Education Training Board. As a result of all they’d learnt and discussions on what they could do, the group went on to develop the community garden.
Ballan Community Garden
Dee was funded by Carlow Education Training Board to run a six-week course for the Ballon gardeners that included a mixture of theory and demonstration to help them develop their garden.
Borris & Hacketstown Focus Groups
Working with Carlow Development Partnership, during 2018 & 2019 garden workshops were provided to groups in the rural villages, engaging people from all walks of life, joining them on their journey of growth.
Callan Community Garden, Co Kilkenny
Funded by Kilkenny Leader Project as part of their Community Food Initiative from November 2012 through to November 2014. Dee began mentoring and tutoring the (Callan) Droichead Family Resource Centre group with their garden, taking the group from seed to sale at Savour Kilkenny Food Festival.
If you’re interested in finding out how a community can pull together with the garden as a focus point, here’s a blog post sharing Callan’s story.
Carlow Older Persons Forum
During 2019, Dee began working with Carlow Older Persons Forum providing concept drawings for a new garden design. Funded by County Carlow Development Partnership, a series of workshops took place throughout the summer months, encouraging new members to grow food and flowers, and join the community in the new premises.
Castle Activation Unit, Carlow
Castle Activation Unit is a day centre for adults with psychiatric disabilities and in the secure garden Dee has worked with the group to create a container garden within their community garden. For the past four years, during the warmer months, Dee has worked with the staff and patients to provide a gentle form of horticultural therapy, and in doing so, they have created a very special type of community garden.
Clonegal Community Garden, Co Carlow
Created in 2013, Clonegal community garden is situated in the centre of the award-winning village. Dee created a tailored hands-on series of six-week workshops to accommodate both experienced and beginner gardeners with the aim of increasing their knowledge and encouraging new members to join in the community garden activities.
Delta Centre, Carlow Town
Delta Centre in Carlow town provides training, residential care, respite, day and multi-sensory services to adults with learning disabilities. Dee has worked with adults at the centre, educating them about vegetable growing, and is now working with clients on a pilot project in a residential house to create an edible garden at the facility.
Derrinturn Community Garden, Co Kildare
Derrinturn were in a stalemate situation. They had a beautiful piece of land but didn’t know how or where to start. Greenside Up provided the design, drawings and instructions that enabled this group to get growing.
Freshford Community Garden, Co Kilkenny
Dee was funded by Kilkenny Leader Partnership to work with a Back to Work Scheme group and develop the garden at the back of the community education building.
Gleann na Bearu Community Garden
With funding from various sources that include Respond Housing, Carlow Education Training Board, the County Council and Carlow Development Partnership, Dee has provided ongoing tuition since 2013 for the inter-generational gardening project in Gleann na Bearu Community Centre in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow. The garden has been designed with a strong upcycling theme resulting in them being chosen by The Nationalist Newspaper for the county Get Involved Competition, and them winning the Carlow County Council Overall Upcycling Challange for 2017.
Covering everything from growing food, food waste, composting, companion planting, green roof structures, wildflower gardening and beneficial insects, all the knowledge gained is being shared by the Youth Workers to the teenagers in Bagenalstown Youth Project in the evenings.
Goresbridge Community Garden, County Kilkenny
Goresbridge was the first community garden Dee worked with and the one that decided the direction of Greenside Up. Supported by Kilkenny Education Training Board and Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Dee helped this garden grow for four years, teaching adults the basics of growing vegetables.
Irish Wheelchair Association
Irish Wheelchair Association in Carlow Town have a small garden at their centre containing raised beds and a polytunnel.
I’ve been fortunate to work with different groups there for various time periods during the year and particularly enjoyed working with adults to grow food in recycled containers during 2015.
Kilkenny Allotments & Community Gardens
A new group in 2013, the Kilkenny Allotments and Community Garden project was a collaboration between Kilkenny Vocational school teachers, parents and allotment holders with Dee’s time funded by Kilkenny Education Training Board.
Leighlin Parish Community Garden, Co Carlow
In collaboration with Leighlin Parish, funded by a combination of the Parish and Carlow Education Training Board and with full support and land donated by the parish priest, in 2012 Greenside Up helped this group of community gardeners design, develop, plant and grow their garden.
Millennium Court Community Garden, Co Kilkenny
What started with a hobby gardening course in the autumn of 2011 developed into a Back to Education accredited course in outdoor vegetable crop production funded by Kilkenny Education Training Board in 2012. The original garden was improved upon, added to and a full range of fruit and vegetables sown and grown. Knowledge learnt has been passed to the local children with nature and biodiversity themed summer camps being run by the centre.
St Francis Farm, Tullow
St Francis Farm in Tullow, County Carlow, a Merchants Quay Ireland Centre, is a drug free residential rehabilitation centre that offers therapy, education and practical skills training in a rural farm setting. Dee has been working with residents weekly since the summer of 2017, creating an edible food garden, offering a hands on form of horticultural therapy.
School of Food, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
A garden created at the School of Food in Thomastown to complement the kitchens and chef training centre. Dee has facilitated several garden courses at the School of Food, as well as accredited QQI Level 3 courses funded by Kilkenny Education Training Board in Outdoor Vegetable Crop Production, Planting and Potting and Horticulture.