Community Gardens

Grow Your Own. It’s not just about growing veg…

October 2, 2013

Grow Your OwnEveryone tells you its good to grow your own fruit and veg. You’ll get fit, it’s great for the mind, you know where your food comes from, you learn the seasons, it’s organic! You’re at one with nature and you’ll shop locally – the list can go on but is that it, can we do more for ourselves in our quest to lead more sustainable lives than just head outside and sow a few seeds?

Callan Community GardenWell we’re about to find out in Kilkenny…

Thanks to the KLP community garden initiative, two gardens I’ve been working with are now learning what’s involved with small business enterprise.

This week we’ve been up to our elbows in the kitchen chopping, stirring and measuring produce that we’ve grown in our community gardens.

You may have caught some earlier posts sharing what we’ve done in the gardens but if not, for the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Callan & Goresbridge community gardeners. It’s been a delight to tutor them through a full year of growing. We’ve reused, recycled, sown seeds, planted, weeded and harvested. We’ve visited gardens, eaten gourmet food grown in the garden, looked at ways of dealing with pests and shared stories and tales.

More recently we’ve established a business relationship with The Step House hotel and restaurant and now we’re embarking on another new venture.

We’re delving into the world of pickles in preparation for the colourful Savour food Festival that’s coming up in Kilkenny at the end of October.

Pickles and PreservesThis is an exciting project for us all. Everyday I seem to be learning new skills from food handling and complying with HSE regs to setting up a food stall and business.

This enterprising initiative is hoping to give ordinary people who grow a few veggies the confidence and skills to take things to the next step in terms of employment by encouraging them to make and sell the produce of their labours.

Once we’re empowered with the basic skills, the enthusiasm flows.

But first things first. At Savour we’ll be offering free tasters of our Kilkenny community garden network chutney over the two-day festival on The Parade. We’ll be doing our market research, talking to potential consumers and gauging their reactions. We’re learning about stock and quantities, pricing and team work and in November we’ll decide if it’s a road we want to continue along as a group or individually and will plan the gardens accordingly.

This is an exciting journey for us all, but I for one am really enjoying the ride.

If you’d like to know more about this project and how it might benefit your own communities or gardens, contact me here for further information and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.


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