Community groups, schools and individuals with an interest in gardening are being invited to get involved in the Ballinagrana Community Garden in Carrick-on-Suir that opens next spring.
The invitation has come from the Camphill Journeyman Programme, which is developing the garden next to its new training centre for young people with disabilities at the Camphill Community farm at Ballinagrana off the Sir John’s Road.
The Journeyman Programme ran an open afternoon for the people of the town last Friday to publicise their plans for the project.
There were outdoor stalls showcasing and selling home grown garden produce, apple pressing and juice tasting, home made jams, waffles. and soups. Inside the training centre, Journeyman Programme workers helped children to carve out their pumpkins for Halloween.
There were also information stalls about some of the community garden’s upcoming courses such as a grow a garden and be self sufficient course by Michael Micklas and a course in building structures such as polytunnels, willow fences and clay ovens that will be run by Gary Dalton of Eco-Works.
Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Liam Walsh, who attended the open day, welcomed the development of the community garden for the town and wished the Journeyman Programme well with the project.
Speaking at the event, he said the open day was a great opportunity for the people of Carrick-on-Suir to inform themselves about the activities planned for the community garden next year.
“The garden’s activities will be suitable for anyone involved in community groups or anyone who has a passion for growing things or would like to learn how to grow garden vegetables.
“The various activities in the community garden will be run in tandem with the Journeyman’s training programme for young people attending Camphill with the hope of creating a dynamic and inclusive learning environment,” he added.
Journeyman Programme co-ordinator Heather Lynch said the community garden will be managed by Camphill Journeyman and a committee of local people will oversee its activities and development. There are plans to develop a sensory garden there and there will be community and individual plots available to rent for a nominal fee.
She said they are looking for committee members and would like to see a diverse range of people getting involved to ensure the gardens are inclusive and accessible to all.
As well as regular courses and workshops in gardening, cooking, rural crafts and green building techniques, there will be a seasonal programme of family events such as butterfly and insect days, harvest days and willow sculpture days at the community garden.
Community groups interested in using the gardens for recreation and training are being invited to contact the Journeyman Programme by e-mail or telephone. Personalised plans for using the community garden can be drawn up for each group after their first visit.
Schools using the garden will be provided with a raised bed and a lesson plan and planting choices can be drawn up for them. A part-time gardening co-ordinator will be available to offer introductory and trainings days for groups.
The garden will be open daily to visitors at specific times and it will have a car park, be wheelchair accessible and will boast shelter for tea breaks, toilets, a community kictchen with food preparation facilities, space for indoor training sessions, raised vegetable beds and outdoor seating areas.
It will also have a well stocked garden shed with garden tools but if gardeners have their own tools they should bring them along.
Heather Lynch paid tribute to the South Tipperary Development Company for providing funding to set up the community garden through the Leader Rural Development Fund and it’s expected that STDC will also provide funding for the garden’s courses. For information on the Ballinagrana Community Garden contact (087) 785 2498, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Facebook page facebook/ballinagranacommunitygarden.