11 April 2008

Dublin Food Growing Visioning Session

Notes from the meeting facilitated by John Harrington, Cultivate Centre, March 29th 2008
recorded by Kaethe Burt-O’Dea (email: kaethe [at] desireland.ie)

(our vision of a future Dublin if Dublin Food Growing is highly successful)
  • All Dublin’s food (fruit and vegetables) will be grown locally by 20XX: Dublin will feed it’s own population, achieving food security comparable to Havana in 2007.
  • Community: civil capacity building: The social and physical and economic aspects of community life will be nurtured and enhanced by the food system.
  • No organic matter leaves Dublin: Fertile waste stream and water is captured and used in a closed loop system (including greywater, run off, and sewage).
  • No space wasted: Every empty space is cultivated to become a productive edible landscape.
  • Dublin Food Growing operates at all scales: From window boxes to allotments to commercial.
  • Anyone who wants to grow food can: Space and resources will be available and easily accessible to all.
  • Dublin diet equitable: The food system does not deprive other people of food and resources necessary to feed themselves
  • Dublin Food Growing will become a driver in the International arena

  • Proven Business Case: Health advantages (exercise, nutrition, psychological) social benefits (less crime, vandalism, etc.), promotes environmental restoration and biodiversity
  • Positive Cultural Strategy: Inclusive activity, encourages cross cultural and cross generational exchange
  • Professional skills
  • Examples: existing gardens
  • Collective growing skills and experience: knowledge of horticulture, restoring natural habitats, seed breeding (selection)
  • Enthusiasm and labor
  • Time constraints: trying to do too much, limited available time
  • Tendency to work in isolation
  • Insurance: health and safety

  • International Precedent: Havana, Toronto, Newcastle, Birmingham
  • Time is right: wave of interest in Food and sustainability
  • Health research: Supporting research in mental health – therapeutic horticulture, nutrition.
  • Good relationship with Dublin City Council
  • Existing local and National Political Support: Green Party, DCC, etc.
  • Up Against the wall
  • Potential space: 25% of Dublin’s available land are back gardens, many abandoned and neglected sites.
  • Resistance-opposition from vested interests: business, developers
  • Lack of policy support (clout): official recognition, funding
  • Irish culture of conservatism and apathy

  • Knowledge of broader energy/environmental issues: contacts in this field
  • Knowledge of setting up organizations
  • Teaching skills
  • Cooking knowledge: all levels
  • Lack of (community) Awareness: opposition, limited ‘big picture’ view, lack of volunteers
  • Lack of access to local sites
  • Convenience culture
  • Loss of horticultural knowledge/skills: in this generation

  • Overlap with all previous strands
  • Lack of connections: Deficient links between groups and links with local talent.
  • Many interested individuals-organizations are not part of the group (yet!).
  • Not cool: associated with poverty

  • Garden Visits: Work/Party/Learning days at each existing garden (similar to WOOFing) listed on a Calendar of events *This year! Pat Harrington’s School. Sitric Community Composting Garden, South Circular Garden
  • Increase availability of public park allotments (including new parks)
  • Public plantings: Promote productive use by encouraging food cultivation in public spaces in your area.
  • Aim high: (eg.100 allotment sites and 200 community gardens)
  • Register all existing community gardens as community associations.
  • Keep it FUN!
  • Argue for establishing community gardens at every public amenity: school, library, park, hospital, retirement home.
  • Support Allotment Campaign: letters, lobbying, documenting potential sites and interest
  • Develop Group Structure: become an officially recognized association, foundation, or…?
  • Lobby and Influence Dublin City Development Plan * Erik Van Lennep has offered to act as a hub for contact with Dublin City Council communication.
  • Identify and Map Potential Sites: Google earth and community mapping research, make lists of potential food growing sites per area. * Willie Morrogh of Dublin City Council will act as a channel for this information
  • Ongoing active research program: conduct research into the best species, soils, techniques, strategies to support every Dubliner interested in food growing
  • World Class Resource Centre: Education at all levels
  • Resource Exchange Service: Freecycle for food cultivation offering easily accessible information, experience, materials, ideas, techniques, labor
  • Build website as active hub *Volunteers: Kaethe Burt-O’Dea, Sean Shanagher Bruce Darrell, David Logan
  • Become a community
  • Establish a regular media presence: Integrate promotion and outreach strategies into all activities in as many ways possible
  • Become a recognized source for information on food issues for the media


Bicycle said...

Hi all Dublin people. I like your ambitious approach folks. We need some bold and courageous collective action right now. Not sure I agree with stating Irish culture is conservative and apathetic; I don't think that will earn you too many friends. Besides which, like anywhere else, it's not true. People, unfortunately or otherwise, look for leadership, but can learn the strength of their collective action over time and besides, the energy flow is all in our direction.
We have much to gain by doing as much as we can at all levels to earn the trust of local people.
Good to see you all up and at it. We aspire to get similar results. Check us out: http://corkfood.wordpress.com/

More to follow.

Keep it up. It will happen.

Mick et al.

seoidin said...

This is in our vision, mission statement:
"No space wasted: Every empty space is cultivated to become a productive edible landscape."

I think we also need to insure that we don't forget wild landscapes within the city. Some abandoned sites/ plots have beautiful ecosystems that naturally develop through neglect. So we may need a definition of an 'empty space' ?

Well done to you all. Hope to see you all at the next meeting.

Cathal said...

agreed seiodin
derelict landscapes have their ecological place and often are of greater value than empty or sterile parks
well done to kaethe for compiling and posting all.
no easy task