Dee Sewell and the projects and gardens she’s worked with and on have appeared in several media outlets. If you’d like to talk to her about any of her work, the following press and media kit is provided here to help. Contact Dee for more information.
During the past few years these have included:
- The Nationalist Newspaper – ‘Community Champion Dee aims to make our land more fertile’, December 2018
- The Irish Garden Magazine – ‘Where Miracles Grow’, October 2018
- Foodture – ‘The Power of Creating Community Around Food’, November 2018
- Irish Garden Magazine – ‘Gleann na Bearu Community Garden’, May 2018
- Irish Independent on Saturday, ‘Get Started Growing Your Own Food’, March 2018
- Sunday Business Post, ‘Grass Roots Hero’, January 2017
- Sunday Business Show, Today FM, Connall O’Móráin, ‘ Community & Workplace Gardens’, August 2016
- The Sunday Times, Jane Powers, ‘Down to Earth’, June 2016
- Sunday Examiner, Alison Rochford, “Organic Growth” May 2016
- The Taste.ie, ‘Why You Should Grow It Yourself’, May 2016
- The Irish Times, Fionnuala Fallon, “Gardening all together now”, July 2015
- Jim Carroll, Banter Stage, Bloom Garden Festival, 2015
- Garden Heaven magazine, September 2014
- Irish Country Living Magazine, Maria Moynihan, “Green Fingers”, September 2014
- RSVP Magazine, Ireland’s Blog Awards Winner 2013
Dee Sewell is a qualified horticulturist, trainer and transformative community educator and sole proprietor of Greenside Up who’s focus is on promoting wellbeing and social inclusion through social and therapeutic horticultural and environmental education.
Based on the Carlow/Kilkenny border in south-east Ireland, Greenside Up was created by Dee in 2009 to help promote the “grow your own” ethos and raise environmental awareness. She has worked on several public and private horticultural projects, including the design of herb garden planting plan containing over 250 varieties of medicinal and culinary herbs at a natural healing centre. However, Dee’s primary focus over the years has been on advising, tutoring or helping to create over 16 community food growing spaces in south Leinster, having seen first-hand how beneficial they are to those who get involved in them.
Social inclusion has been uppermost in Dee’s mind as she helps people to garden and grow food using organic principles, to consider biodiversity and food waste, encouraging people to live more co-sufficient lifestyles. All of Dee’s work underpins the major community development goals of encouraging voluntary work, providing training and education for social, recreational, cultural, work and personal development, as well as encouraging active engagement in decision making in local communities.
In 2010 Dee was instrumental in founding Community Gardens Ireland (www.cgirelad.org), a volunteer organisation that was established to support community and allotment gardening in Ireland and Northern Ireland. She has been one of the voluntary coordinators of this national organisation since the outset, encouraging the growth of county networks, finding and mapping gardens, creating linkages with outside organisations such as Social Farms and Gardens in Northern Ireland, GIY Ireland and Dublin Community Growers, as well as promoting community gardening nationally at festivals, on radio and in print.
For the past ten years, I have been travelling to communities around Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Laois advising, speaking and educating people about how to grow herbs and vegetables in recycled containers, directly into the soil or in professionally built raised beds. Soil is recognised as a healing medium with studies showing that soil bacteria produces serotonin, our happy hormones (Lawry, 2007), and feedback from users reflects the studies.
I have worked with Carlow Men’s Shed groups to build raised beds for projects, have designed training and curriculum plans to suit the needs of many of the gardening groups, and sourced and recommended materials and local suppliers to groups and stakeholders when required. I’m particularly interested in and excited by the transformative effect educating in social gardens can have on people’s personal development and mental health as well as the places they live. Studies have reflected my own observations that horticulture can help to build a sense of community, improve the mental health of participants, create friendships and provide a sense of hope (Armstrong, 2000).
I specialise in creating, designing, tutoring or consulting in social community gardens, in both urban or rural settings, encouraging groups to create their own garden design and always aiming to leave people with the skills to continue with their gardens after I leave.
For the past few years I have enjoyed working with socially excluded groups where the garden gates are closed to the public but available as social and therapeutic spaces for the clients within. These groups have included adults with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities and older people in and out of care homes.
I have also had the opportunity to work with several groups in Carlow and Kilkenny that fall under the SICAP criteria, some funded by Carlow County Development Partnership, others by Carlow County Council, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, and the Education Training Board, as well as outside stakeholders. These include Respond Housing, Merchants Quay Ireland, Signature Care Home, the Delta Centre, Carlow Older Persons Forum, Irish Wheelchair, Rural Development and Family Resource Centres.
Supported by Healthy Tipperary and championed by Carrick-on-Suir library, I have recently completed a programme working with transition year students in the CBS Secondary School in Carrick-on-Suir and the library. For six weeks, over a 12-hour time-scale, we created a community fruit garden in the library grounds. The students planted a variety of fruit trees, currant bushes, rosemary herb bed, mixed wildlife hedge, built and filled raised beds, and planted them with strawberries and rhubarb. This project is the beginning of an ongoing programme that the library will be developing to encourage local people to connect with food and their community, and for the school to have access to fresh fruit that students have planted for future home economics classes.