Unique social horticulture project in Blanchardstown celebrates first anniversary

Mayor and Minister celebrate volunteers in the Blanchardstown community garden that cultivates vegetables, solidarity and community resilience

by Alison O'Hanlon
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A special community garden located on the TU Dublin campus in Fingal celebrated a momentous occasion, as it marked its first birthday with a visit from the Mayor of Fingal Adrian Henchy and Minister Roderic O’Gorman TD.

This unique garden, which is operated by Ballymun-based charity Global Action Plan, in partnership with TU Dublin and Fingal County Council, has become a well-used community asset since opening last Spring.

“We nurture nature, and harvest hope”

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Adrian Henchy said, “The GLAS community garden shows the power of collective action and what can be done to help deliver more green spaces in an urban setting. What’s more, the GLAS gardens serve as catalysts for broader environmental stewardship, encouraging people to talk and think about the many ways in which we can make our lifestyles more sustainable.

“Along with the environmental benefits of green spaces like this, the garden is helping people to better connect with each other and makes a positive impact in terms of social, physical and mental wellbeing.”

The visit by Minister O’Gorman marked the first anniversary of the opening of the garden. Meeting with members of the local community, Minister O’Gorman said, “I am delighted to see so many people here today in what is truly a special community space in Blanchardstown. I’d like to pay tribute to the many volunteers who have been instrumental in its success and am delighted to see what having a garden in full bloom means to locals and visitors alike.”

Over the past year, groups of local people, school children and companies have worked hard to level the ground, plant fruit trees, construct wheelchair-accessible paths, build compost bays and grow a wide range of vegetables. As a result, the garden has become a symbol of community resilience and environmental stewardship.

Highlighting the progress, Hans Zomer, CEO of Global Action Plan, said, “The site of our new community garden has undergone a remarkable transformation in just a short time, thanks to the dedication of our volunteers and partners. A year ago, this was an overgrown and neglected piece of land, and now it is a thriving green space, where there’s a warm welcome for anyone in the Dublin 15 area.”

“In this community garden we nurture nature and we harvest hope. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and together they are planting the seeds of a better future for everyone,” said Zomer.

Drawing inspiration from the successful model of the GLAS community garden in Ballymun, the project aims to serve as a hub for sustainable living and community empowerment in Blanchardstown and beyond.

Highlighting the importance of the partnership that created the community garden, Jennifer Boyer, Vice President for Sustainability at TU Dublin, said, “Surrounded by a growing community made up of academic institutions, industry, residents, and international protection applicants, the ‘GLAS at TU Dublin’ community garden is a living and thriving test bed for meaningful societal engagement and environmental action.” 

“In its first year, the garden had more than 400 visits from members of this community, with people participating in sustainability activities and fostering cooperative connections. This is an exemplar model for any community garden and has the potential to be replicated at other TU Dublin campuses and beyond,” she concluded.

Pictures Maxwells

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