Combined Summer & Autumn Newsletter 2018

Fáilte!

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Welcome all Gardeners, Growers and Dabblers!
We hope you have all had a fantastically successful summer in your gardens 🙂
We here at DCGN HQ have had a *very* busy time over the summer months – including our fabulous BIG DAY OUT! (Read on for more info…)
We’ve been so busy in fact; that we’ve had to combine both our Summer Newsletter with this, our Autumn one!

This is my first time writing this welcome to the newsletter as the Network Chairperson; though do not worry – Joanne hasn’t left!  She has now taken up the post as the Chairperson of the National Community Gardens Ireland  – and is still the Donegal vice-chair. We wish her all the very best of luck in her new role as national Chair, and  I will be continuing to work closely with Joanne to ensure our county network remains as great as ever.

We have really seen a turn in the seasons in these last few weeks – and we are all now beginning to turn our garden attention to tidying, pruning, harvesting and sowing our last seeds for over wintering. There are also lots of things to look forward to at this time of year, not least our forthcoming “SEEDS OF CHANGE” autumn event with the Irish Seed Savers Association on October 20th (More details below).

We very much welcome the input and suggestions from all of Donegal’s Community Gardens – we are also contactable over on our Facebook Page; so please reach out and connect with our fantastic network – also do let us know if we can ever help promote your garden or offer any assistance!

Sarah x

Garden Updates:

  • Ards Walled Garden Community Project are hosting an Apple Pressing Day on Saturday 13th October. See their Facebook page for details
  • Community Gardens Ireland are holding an Autumn Gathering entitled “Adapting to Climate Change” – Sunday 14th October at Moyhill Community Garden in Scariff, Co. More info here.
  • An Mhainnear – Pobal Eascarrach in Ballina Cottages estate in Falcarragh are inviting visitors to drop-in to their community garden from Monday-Thursday each week.
  • Garradh Cholmcille – Pobail Le Chéile Community Garden meet in their Polytunnel every Friday from 2-4pm and are always happy to see new members!

Please feel free to share your garden news and updates and/when you have them over on our Facebook page!

 

Big Day Out, 2018!

 DCGN Big Day Out Flyer

On a drizzly morning on August 18th a John McGinley bus left Gortahork and made its way east-wards collecting keen gardeners and garden lovers along the way…and so began the 2018 Donegal Community Garden Network BIG DAY OUT 2018!
After a little bit of a detour (thanks, road closures!) the bus arrived at Mount Stewart House and Garden in Co. Down. We were treated to guided tours of the beautiful gardens by head gardener Neil Porteous and fellow Mount Stewart staff member Gillian, learning the history and background of many of the plantings, designs and of Edith, Lady Londonderry herself.

“Gardens are meant to be lived in and enjoyed and I hope they may long continue to be a source of pleasure to those who visit them…”

– Lady Edith, 7th Marchioness of Londonderry

Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart is a vast and rich series of gardens, and the present-day estate is 950 acres (380 ha) in size with a large lake and many monuments and farm buildings. We visited the Shamrock Garden the Walled Garden and the Sunken Garden, and explored the beautiful mature trees, terraces and marvelled at the grandeur of it all. The sun shone on us as we enjoyed ourselves and we had lots of happy faces boarding the bus again at the end of our trip.
Huge thanks to all of you who came along and helped us have a brilliant day!

 

Seeds of Change Project, 2018

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“Seeds of Change” is a small grant fund set up by Changemakers Donegal, in association with the Inishowen Development Partnership, Donegal ETB, Gorta Self Help Africa and Irish Aid.

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The aim of this fund “is to develop awareness and knowledge, provide training and capacity building and encourage action around local and global development issues. Development Education all about raising awareness and action around the link between the local and the global, and getting a better understanding of the interconnected world we live in.”

 

As you all by now know, this year we used the funds received from the Changemakers grant to purchase seeds from the Irish Seed savers Association which were distributed at our Spring gathering in March at the fabulous Twin Towns Community Garden.
We have all been busy bees growing the seeds since then – thanks for all of your updates and photos, folks 🙂

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Now…the moment we’ve all been working toward time approaches! Hooray!
ISSA – the Irish Seed Savers Association will be holding a workshop held on Saturday October 20th from 10am – 2pm at Garradh Cholmcille – Pobail le Chéile Community Garden (next to the fire station) in Falcarragh.

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In addition to the sharing of our saved seeds, the workshop will cover the importance of preserving heritage heirloom seeds for the future of Ireland’s food and flora sovereignty.
This is our next step in creating a Living Seed Bank across Co. Donegal.

But what IS a living Seed Bank, I hear you cry?!

A Living Seed Bank is where healthy varieties of fruit, vegetable, tree and herb seeds are grown and when it comes time to harvest these, a portion are saved and shared to be grown again the following season. This cyclical growing process then creates strong and resilient plants, inherently capable of thriving in our county’s weather and growing conditions.

Further reading on the work of ISSA and seed banks in Ireland can be found here and here.

Admission to the event is €10, or by donation so please give what you can, if you can!
A light lunch is included and refreshments will be served.

If you’d like to know more, or put your name down please get in touch on donegalcgn@gmail.com or via our Facebook page.

We hope to see you there!

 

Call To Action – Wanna Get Involved!?

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During the Summer at our AGM we voted-in our new committee:

  • Chairperson – Sarah Kernan
  • Vice Chair – Joanne Butler
  • Secretary – Tine Verbeke
  • Treasurer – Donna Gallagher
  • Associate Committee Members – Máire O’Leary, Kevin Montgomery

We are very blessed to have had the continued support of these members, and would like to also extend the invite out to any other gardeners out there who might like to come on board to become a part of something great!

If anyone is interested please drop us an email at donegalcgn@gmail.com or via our Facebook page – we’d be delighted to welcome more new members to keep the good work of the network growing and vibrant.

 

 

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Spring Newsletter 2018

Hello everyone – I  have been holding off this newsletter for some weeks now , waiting … waiting !

And I am are sure I wasn’t alone in this , as the winter kept a hold on us, the frost lingered on . And our seedlings struggled out of the ground … slowly but surely spring raised its head . A bit like we all do on a Monday morning before the coffee has had time to set in !

So now im so happy to say YES !! we can get on with the SPRING newsletter !!!

We are once again delighted to bring you news of what has been happening with the Donegal Community Garden Network , promoting and supporting all the community gardens in Donegal . This month aswell as general news and events we have a great guest article by our very own Sarah Louise Kernan , Sarah is our treasurer at the network and has been a great help in the running of events throughout the past year . Her article below on Growing Healthy Communities through Gardening is a great read and we are very thankful to have her input this month !

This newsletter is going out to ALL gardeners as well as garden REPS , so grab a cuppa and enjoy the read . NB please do let other gardeners know if they don’t receive this and would like a copy then we can email it them no problem – this is a voluntary organisation so all help getting the word out there is greatly appreciated !

Joanne Butler x
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ChangerMakers Seeds Of Change

Donegal Community Garden Network were delighted this year to receive a grant from ChangeMakers Donegal to start a pilot seed saving project . We have already given out FREE seeds from @Seedsavers Ireland to community gardens who attended the Spring Networking event , but if you and your garden would like to take part and save seeds for this project please do let me know and we will get seeds and signs to you as soon as we can ! (NB Signs are going out to all partaking gardens shortly)

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The seeds are heirloom seeds from @seedsavers Ireland  and the idea is that you grow , don’t eat , and save the seeds for us ! Then in the Autumn we will provide seed saving training as part of our Autumn Networking event with the aim that all the seeds we save can be distributed around the community gardens in Donegal and grown on from there . This seed saving and distribution will ensure a county wide seed resilience that we can build up for future generations .

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We do need helpers with this project when it comes to recording etc so if you would like to know more and help out , please do get in touch with us here .

Spring Networking Event

We had a wonderful Spring Networking event on Saturday 10th March at the @Twin Towns Community Garden . Thanks to Caroline and the team at Twin Towns for the welcome and the inspiring garden tour 🙂 We had over 25 people in attendance and 10 community gardens represented ! so well Done to all who attended and helped the network once again step closer to its over all mission :))

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Thanks also to our great speakers @Miffy Hoad from Social Prescribing Donegal and Eugene Mc Gintly from NW Organics telling us about other groups out there that can connect in with community gardens and vice versa .

 

 

Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens – Northern Ireland

Recently , Joanne was invited by the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens – Northern Ireland to talk about community gardens , the network and all the inspiring work she has seen over the last five years since being a community garden facilitator . The day was a great success with a lot of people in attendance . Talking all things green and showing a presentation of what you are all at and the success of the network so far ! – Lets hope this is the start of a wonderful cross border friendship that we can use in the future and perhaps even go visit some of the community gardens there 🙂

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DCGN AGM & CGI AGM

What a lot of letters !! but before i loose you this is the AGM announcements for us the Donegal Community Garden Network and our National Community Gardens Ireland of whom we are a county member of . As a community garden and gardener you are welcome to attend any one or both of these events . The first one is the CGI Annual Gathering , held this year in @Cloughjordan Eco Village on May 27th . This Annual Gathering will be packed with information and inspiration to help you progress with your own projects. It will follow the annual Feeding Ourselves conference which takes place the day before and may be of interest to many CG Ireland members (details here).

With CG Ireland stories, networking sessions, an introduction and tour of the RED Gardens at Cloughjordan – the research gardens in the Ecovillage, and a special workshop on soil and citizen science, you’ll go home with a wealth of new knowledge, skills, friends and collaborators to help you launch into an exciting new gardening year.

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The second AGM is our own annual gathering and it is to be held on Saturday 23rd June . Location is still to be decided and we are very open to suggestions . If YOU would like your garden to host us , please let us know ! All we need is room available indoors for aprox 30 people . We will do the rest and if a garden tour is available also then all the better ! Let me know if your garden is interested and we will get planning that soon .

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GROW Observatory

We have some very exciting news to announce through the GROW Observatory which is a European project working with  with Cultivate Ireland . They have selected Community Gardens Ireland as a ‘Community Champion’ in Ireland to increase the skills and knowledge of people to take soil observations and test sustainable growing practices. They have selected Donegal as one of the locations to develop a GROW place and using low cost soil sensors, are looking to collect data that can help validate climate prediction models from satellites. With access to on-line courses and educational resources the project will help people to understand and observe soil, and develop new skills that can contribute to the strengthening of resilience
in their own communities in the process.

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Donegal Community Garden Network are currently working with CG Ireland and GROW Observatory mapping community gardens and growing places in Donegal within the distance needed for the project  . All gardens and growing places selected will be contacted shortly and asked to participate in placing soil sensors within their gardens. This project will run for a year and a half and exciting events and talks will be  planned throughout the GROW Places . The project aims to contribute to an emerging soil commons movement by helping us become more effective stewards of the land, better equipped to address science challenges and be more aware and connected to the living world around us.

Join GROWers from all over Europe for the largest ever #CitizenScience permaculture experiment!
Help find a three-sisters crop combination (polycultures) to improve the productivity of your plot and the health of your soil.
Will #GreenBeans #Radish and #Spinach do the job in Europe?
Our upcoming online course #GROWSoil2Food starts April 16th.
#Regen #RegenerativeAg #permaculture #agroecology #polyculture #hort  #organic #horticulture #citsci

Summer Networking Event (Summer Bus Trip )

Yes …. soon we will be planning the BIG trip away . Were not sure where , where not sure when (well almost not sure as it will be like always in mid August ) but it will be AMAZING . We will incorporate this as a networking meeting also as that’s what were doing right ?

Watch the facebook page fore more details and we will let you all know via email when plans are finalised :))

Big Day Out poster

And Finally …

Our SPRING Newsletter Article

Growing Healthy Communities through Gardening – with the help of DCGN!

By Sarah Louise Kernan

If you are currently already involved with a community garden, or indeed grow fruit,
vegetables or flowers with other people in your family or community; then you are likely
already VERY aware of the many benefits it can provide! Studies across the globe show
proven results that gardening increases our happiness, fitness and personal development;
and a quick search online will bring forth a deluge of articles, blogs and tips on how to
improve your life through growing in a garden…be it in a few simple pots on a window-sill or a full-blown kitchen garden.
Aside from learning how to propagate a seed; the types of skills, talents and abilities
enhanced by growing have important benefits that exceed the boundaries of the garden
fence.

Generational & Cultural Exchange:
The first time we decided to plant a seed, grow a cabbage, or beautify our own gardens; we likely each had in our minds-eye the memory of a certain person – be it a parent or
grandparent, neighbor or friend – whose flair and talent for growing in-turn inspired us to have a go ourselves. The stunningly glorious colors, textures and designs of their gardens made us gasp and their impressive memory-bank of plant names, their properties and how to care for them underpinned the knowledge, skill and experience they had cultivated over the years. On the one hand, to the green-beginner this can seem daunting; until we come to realise that it is through sharing and learning from others that we can unlock these abilities in ourselves.
Connecting both the younger folks in our communities with those older members enables and encourages meaningful shared experiences for all age groups.
Fond memories traditional gardening and growing practices through is a wonderful way to preserve these methods, but also to keep these important aspects of lore and history alive for future generations.
A garden is a space where the senses come alive; and the ancient practice of gardening is
alive and well in every imaginable global setting – from high in the mountains to deserts,
islands and forests. As we humans travel across the globe, we settle in new places, bringing our cultural understanding of the natural world with us. Gardening within our communities gives us the perfect forum in which to share these traditions and use the common language of growing to learn and appreciate each other.

Food Production & Nutritional Education
The rise of food intolerances, sensitivities to added chemicals and increased numbers of
diet-related illnesses in the world has meant that more and more people are taking note of what food they eat.

Questioning where our food comes from, how it is produced and what it actually contains leads many folks to consider growing their own produce.
Community gardens are at the heart of educating our communities about food security –
enabling physical and economical access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Many
community gardens also explore how to prepare and cook the food they have grown, inviting gardeners and visitors to each enjoy hearty, healthy meals together. Community gardening helps tackle issues surrounding food waste; both in exploring the reasons behind it and then looking at methods of reducing and indeed reusing waste in a variety of composting systems.
Conservation & Wildlife Protection
Of course, growing, cooking and sharing food is only a part of what makes a community
garden so fantastic! Green spaces in our communities are havens for our native fauna;
meaning that the protection and conservation of wildlife and promoting biodiversity by
gardening go hand-in- hand. Each garden helps to care for the 97 species of wild bee we
have here in Ireland, as well as providing food and shelter for wild birds, insects and
butterflies. Through Community Gardens sharing the knowledge that native and heritage
species of plants, shrubs and trees support more wildlife than non-native plants; our wider
communities learn how to ensure the natural flora and fauna of Ireland can survive.
Equality, Community Inclusivity & Organisation:
As a community gardener myself, I am truly blessed to have shared a spade with a wide
variety of fellow members of my town. Within these gardens the particulars of each person’s socio-economic background, their gender, age, sexuality, race, religion or beliefs are left at the gate and instead, we are all on an equal-footing.
Gardeners who are involved with other projects or initiatives in the community get to share these experiences as we turn the compost-heap; and we begin to see how a sense of identity, ownership, pride and respect for our area can be enriched through growing a
garden together.
These are but a few examples and focus points on how beneficial a community garden can be; and you – dear readers are the true force behind this fantastic work!

Remember 
The aim of our Network is to support and connect each Community Garden, Group and
Growing Collective in Donegal. We can provide help and information surrounding gardening tutors, networking opportunities, funding and resources and can be contacted via email at donegalCGN@gmail.com

That’s it for Now ….

We hope you have enjoyed this seasons Newsletter , Thanks again to Sarah for her wonderful article and to all the gardens that have supported and promoted us this past two years !! We hope to continue to do the same for you and look forward to seeing you all at a garden somewhere soon !!

 

Autumn Newsletter 2017

Ahh … and Relax ….

The time is almost upon us when we can use the old excuse ” that’s it! …  far to cold/wet/windy to garden “. So … Get the kettle on and the feet up . We are (thankfully) approaching that time where we can reflect and reward ourselves on the good work we have all done throughout the past year …. well nearly !

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As we enjoy the last fine autumnal days  we at the Donegal Community garden Network bring you our Autumn newsletter …. In this newsletter we hope you enjoy the following :

  • News from Community Gardens
  • Promoting the Gardens through the Network
  • Memberships update and Call to Action
  • Video call to promote the network and YOUR gardens
  • Update from our BIG Day Out
  • Cissy’s Farm Shop is looking for our help !
  • Winter Networking Event
  • Other Upcoming Events

News from Community Gardens

We have heard so many good news stories this year from the community Gardens in Donegal . From fundraising events in Dunfanaghy and Twin Towns ,  Open Days in Ards Walled Garden and day trips out and about with The Killybegs gardens at the Niall Mór Community Centre   and a networking event with Dunfanaghy and Chnoc Fola in Brinaleck.   Gairdín Gort A Choirce ran a monthly range of events throughout the year open to all ,  including days foraging , winemaking , willow weaving , natural beekeeping and home herbalism – they will be concluding their monthly events this coming Tuesday 31st October with an introduction to Seed Saving hosted by Glenveagh’s head gardener Sean O Geoithin . More details below in the Other Events Section , And Pobail Le Cheile held a composting event in September and as you can read below, they have sent us a fantastic review of this day.

Pobail Le Cheile

On a chilly September morning, 24 participants gathered together in the Pobail le Chéile community garden and at the rear of the YARD and spent the day learning about all things compost!
This fantastic, fun and free event was organised by Sarah Kernan who currently works for Pobail le Chéile and also volunteers in their community garden.

A variety of composting methods and solutions were highlighted, including turning bays, wormeries, domestic composting bins, using leaf mould and solving weed issues by turning them into fertilising teas!

The Pobail le Chéile Community Garden at the YARD is Co. Donegal’s longest-running community garden. Beginning in 2008 it has hosted many courses over the years, encouraging local aspiring green-fingered folks; has invited local groups to get involved and seen many tasty veggies, plants and flowers grown there.

Pobail le Chéile now wishes to continue this initiative and hopes to link-in with other local groups such as the ever-popular Parkrun at Ballyconnell Estate and Falcarragh’s own fantastic Tidy Towns; as well as local café’s and restaurants to collaborate and keep the good work going. To get involved simply Drop-in, Call/text 086 0841433 or telephone the YARD on 074 91 80111 for more details.

Promoting the Gardens through the Network 

The Committee members have been busy these past few months promoting the network and sharing the news that there are currently 26 Community Gardens in Donegal ! Our chairperson Joanne Butler was speaking about the work you all do at the Off the Street LK Food Fest , Electric Picnic’s Global Green and more recently at The Donegal PPN Environmental Showcase (See Below)

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Environmental Showcase

Joanne Butler and Patsy Toland hosted an amazing event on 14th October in the Regional Cultural Centre as part of the Public Participation Network and the Social Inclusion Week organised by Donegal County Council . The  event was aimed at  promoting positive environmental projects in Donegal and they were joined by  Duncan Stewart from Eco eye and ecologist Ralph Sheppard who enlightened a packed audience on the importance of protecting our local and global environment . More importantly groups including ourselves then Spoke to the room on their projects and the importance of what they are doing . We spoke about how Community Gardens (As you know ) has a much greater impact than just sowing a few seeds … we are growing a sustainable future , we are protecting our green environment and we are highlighting the importance and impact that growing food (for us and the bees!) has on the human race … it really is as big as that !

Duncan Stewart spoke about the groups he met that day and was really delighted to see and hear about all the good work that you all are doing in your local areas and after a visit to a few gardens later that day he said wants to come back again next year to see how we are all doing … Thanks Duncan 🙂

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Memberships update and Call to Action

Yes … we are still looking for all community gardens to fill out their membership forms . We cannot stress this enough , but in order to have a viable network, well…  we need to … network !! Having one REP within each garden is a really quick way of getting the news out to you all and vice versa . If you have problems filling out the form , please contact us and we will help you fill it out. All we need is you signature which can be done electronically .

You can fill out the Membership form GROUP here or email Joanne to get a hard copy . Memberships forms can be electronically signed and emailed back to us donegalcgn@gmail.com or posted to Donegal Community Garden Network C/O Joanne Butler . Cashel Na gCorr , Gortahork . Co Donegal.

Video call to promote the network and YOUR gardens 

We are still on the look out for video footage to promote the Donegal Community Garden Network and all the community gardens in Donegal .  Its easy ‘Peas’y  …. just a short 10 sec shot of your gardeners working away or even better , a 30 sec talking piece with a community gardener to camera (3 questions perhaps … 1) What garden are you with and how long have you been involved 2) why you garden and the benefits of community gardens 3) how  networking and connecting in with other gardens benefits you and your community garden . We will use this on our facebook page and share as far and wide as possible !!

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Update from our BIG Day Out 

wow it seems a lifetime ago but on Saturday 19th August a BIG bus took us all on a day out to Oak Field Park , Ros Ban Garden on the Donegal Garden Trail and the  onto Lifford Community Garden. We had a fantastic day altogether and everyone really enjoyed themselves and had a great opportunity to meet and greet other gardeners from other gardens such as St Johnston, St Conals Letterkenny , Ardara , Kilclooney , Gairdin Gort A Choirce , Chnoc Fola, Ards Walled Garden , Bundoran and St Johnston & Carriagans FRC .

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Cissy’s Farm Shop is looking for our help ! 

Some of you may have heard of a little gem of a farm shop based at Barnsmore Gap selling not only amazing coffee and treats but a small amount of fresh local produce by local growers … and they want to keep the ethos as local …. So they asked us to ask you in the community gardens to supply them with natural local produce that is growing in community gardens … how good is that ! Any surplus through the growing season will do but if you want to grow a bed or two for them then it might be a good way of creating a small income for your garden to buy seeds or accessories for the following year .

Contact can be made through Cissy’s Farm Shop Facebook page or by simply calling Either Hannah or Clare Brogan on 0894839718 . It is great to support local and when its a two way thing its even better . Thanks Cissy !!

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Winter Networking Event

We can now announce we have a date for our Winter Networking Event , and its Saturday 16th December . We are on the lookout for a location south of the county at the moment but we will need a warm space and plenty of tea ,  that’s for sure . The theme for the winter workshop will be based on ‘ Creating Positive Community Involvement’ with a look at Anti Social Behavior that has happened in our Community Gardens .  We are in the early stages of planning this event so please keep the diary free and do keep an eye for updates on the Facebook page and any input you may have towards the theme of  this event please do get in touch .

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Other Upcoming Events

As mentioned above Gairdin Gort A Choirce will be hosting and Introduction to Seed Saving this coming Tuesday @OURganic Gardens in Gortahork . This is a FREE Event and all are welcome . For more information see below .

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If you want your garden events listed Please do let us know . We are always on the look out for garden events on Facebook and the Media but incase we miss any please send us you news and events as soon as you can to donegalcgn@gmail.com

Thats it for Now !

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Thanks so much folks for taking the time to read this newsletter  .. Please do let us know if you would like a hard copy for your garden and we can pop it in the post .  Please do get involved in the community garden network and support and promote your community gardens in Donegal .

We will be back with another exciting Newsletter in the Winter  .

Summer Newsletter 2017

Yeah !! Its June , the month when summer begins and a nice time when things begin to calm down (a bit)  in the garden . Its brings us a chance to reflect somewhat after the madness of planning , seed sowing , transplanting and getting things planted out into the garden.

We at the Donegal Community Garden Network have been busy this last few months getting the Map nearly all completed … See below for picture but click on link to see more details .

There are also lots of exciting events happening in the community gardens and we are also making some new plans that we will share with you in this newsletter .

Please do share this newsletter with fellow gardeners. We would be delighted if you could read out to your community gardeners or better still , print out and put up on your notice board … we will make it as short and sweet as possible  🙂

Map Summer 2017

Membership

We are still looking for all community gardens to fill out their membership forms . Donegal Community Garden Network is FREE to join and your help in getting all the gardens signed up would be amazing , this form will help us to gain an insight into your garden needs aswell as collating the information on a national level to the Community Gardens Ireland who in turn will be able to help us help you in matters such as funding , insurance , site issues and more . At the moment we have only received a few membership forms from community gardens out of the 25 gardens mapped , so please make sure your community garden is signed up . You can fill out the Membership form GROUP here or email me to get another copy . Memberships forms can be electronically signed and emailed back to us donegalcgn@gmail.com or posted to Donegal Community Garden Network C/O Joanne Butler . Cashel Na gCorr , Gortahork . Co Donegal.

Streetfeast

We are delighted to have nine community gardens in total running a street feast in their gardens . We thought this was a great way for community gardens to promote what they do and where they are . We decided to link in with this great national event to make it easier for all involved . The community gardens who registered their event with street feast got a free party pack and we at Donegal Community Garden Network made posters for community gardens to use . The events are listed in the poster below . If you are having a streetfeast please send us your photos and we will share them for you and if you are not having a Streetfeast then please support the other community gardens by sharing their event or even better … by calling in to say hello !! Streetfeasts are running from 9th June to the 23rd June . street feast all gardens (1)

Video for Community Gardens

Yes we want YOU and your COMMUNITY GARDENS to be on the Video to promote Donegal Community Garden Network . We would like to start promoting the network as much as possible to get new people though the garden gates . We have the banner and we have the leaflets but we just want a bit more to show … if you have any possibility over the coming weeks to film a short 10 sec shot of your garden at its best or 30 sec talking piece to camera about why you garden and the benefits of community gardens , then we would be just delighted . Send us your footage and we put it all together to promote the network however we can . There are some great events coming up such as Letterkenny Food Fest and we’d like to showcase the work in the community gardens in Donegal !

Community Gardens Ireland Networking Event

Drum-role Please …. Cause this is a biggie !! Yes the Community Gardens Ireland Networking Event is Coming to Donegal! As some of you may know Community Gardens Ireland is the National Network of the Community Gardens (Kind of like our big Sister or Brother) . They also do four networking event annually and this time we are delighted to have them come visit us ! The event will be held @ OURganic Gardens , Donegal where Gairdín Gort A Choirce is based . We at Donegal Community Garden Network will be welcoming them and helping host the event also (this will be our summer network event too !)  . See the poster Below but for more details and booking info keep an eye on their website . We would be extremely grateful if we had REPS from as many community gardens as possible from Donegal to show our support and to give support to the network . There will be a workshop on the day by Professor Fiona Doohan UCD on plant pathology as well as guided tour of the gardens and demonstrations by Joanne Butler :))

CGI Network Meeting

Network’s BIG DAY OUT !

Not a lot to reveal at the moment but we are planning a day trip for all community gardeners . The date we have is Saturday 19th August so get your diary out and mark it as ‘Amazing’ … Like the day trip two years ago organised by OURganic Gardens  , this promises to be just as much fun . We will visit some gardens on the Donegal Garden Trail as well a garden center for that much needed fix at the end of the day . We will be announcing more details when they are finalised and will let you all know in due course .

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Other Events

This is the section where we want to be able to put news and Events from all community gardens into . Please forward any news to donegalcgn@gmail.com

Naill Mór Center Killybegs 

Are current running a Horticultural Skills course although up and running a few weeks you are more than welcome to join in  – contact Martin  niallmorcentremanager@gmail.com for more details .

Gaidrín Gort A Choirce

Will continue to run their monthly community garden with an Introduction to Home Cleaning and Beauty Products happening on June 27th . Admission is free and all we ask is some help in the garden before or after . Starts at 10am until Aprox 4pm . Lunch will be provided .

Tory Island Community Garden

Plans are well under way for a community garden to beset up on Tory Island ! the idea is to get the planning stage well underway and to learn how to garden on Ireland’s most remote inhabited island . For more details on this contact Joanne on 0861789971

Thats it for Now !

We will be back with another exciting Newsletter in the Autumn but we hope to hear from you all in due course … Keep Calm , Keep Gardening and Keep Networking !!

Donegal Community Garden Network 

Spring Newsletter 2017

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Image Source

Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter from Donegal Community Garden Network!

This is a volunteer-led network that is free to join for all community gardens throughout the County of Donegal.

Registration is currently done through the national Community Gardens Ireland; if you have not registered already you can do so here: Community Gardens Ireland Membership

Donegal Community Garden Network is looking to connect with, assist and promote all of the community gardens and green spaces in Donegal.

We will produce a quarterly e-newsletter and each and all community gardens will be invited to add content and share their own news and events.

This month we are bringing you the following:

  • An update on what the steering group have accomplished so far

  • Details on the first garden representative meeting (REPS)

  • Exciting news of a county wide ‘Street Feast’ opportunity for community gardens

  • The  announcement of the first AGM that will also link-in with our Spring ‘themed’ networking event

Steering Group Update

Since its inception in May of 2016, a steering group consisting of a wide range of people helping get the Donegal Community Garden Network off the ground.

Together, we have been working on the aims and purpose of the Community Network, and on the mission statement and the constitution

The Network has been successful so far in sourcing a small amount of funding to get the network promoted, beginning with a ‘Convergence‘ event entitled “Food on the Fringe” held in the Public Services Building in Letterkenny last October.

Additionally, Local Agenda 21 funding that helped us get flyers and additional promotional material.
Some of the members of the steering group have joined the interim committee which now hopes to take on new members at the first AGM at the end of this month…please keep reading below for details!

REPS Meeting

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We were truly delighted to have had our first meeting of “REPS” (Community Garden Representatives) in Barrackhill Community Garden on 28th January 2017.
We had a fantastic welcome from our hosts and we took the time to introduce each community garden. In total there were people present from 16 different community gardens from all areas of Donegal.

As a group exercise to work on together, we then listed the “Needs and Wants” of each community gardens present.

This was a successful tool in highlighting how each community garden functions, and what they feel they need to help them achieve their goals.
Following the success of this exercise, we have now put in place that at each network meeting held,  we will do the same.

The aim of the Donegal Community Garden Network is to enlist and support all Community Gardens, Green Spaces and Garden Clubs in Co. Donegal.
We are a large, spread-out and diverse county and the Network feels it’s strength is as a whole – connecting those in the North, South, East and the West.

By the end of this year we endeavour to have a good understanding and to be supporting as many community gardens as we can; and so to do so we will hold one meeting for our REPS annually.
If you would like to find out who your representative is or if you are not listed as a REP and want to represent your community garden, please do get in touch.

Street Feast

Yes! Street Feast is coming to the Donegal Community Gardens!

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We have been working in conjuction with the national organisation Street Feast to open as many community gardens up to the public this coming June 11th.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Street Feast is a national day of local lunches to celebrate community.
As the core aims and goals of Street Feast align with those of the Donegal Community Garden Network so wonderfully, we are absolutely over the moon to be working in partnership with them this year!
This hopes to give all the community gardens in the county an exciting opportunity to get their gardens promoted and to have a fun filled family day in the garden.

To find out more about Street Feast – pop along to their Website – where you’ll find their

“6 Good Reasons to Host a Street Feast”

  • To celebrate our streets, cul-de-sacs, neighbourhoods & local communities.
  • To support and shine a light on the communities, networks and organisations that are holding everything together.

  • To have fun. To laugh. To stop for a moment. To open up and give-up our shyness for a day. It’s so much better with others…

  • To encourage more life on the streets, feel safer and reduce loneliness and isolation.

  • To share great local food, home-grown produce, cracking stories, bad jokes, practical skills, useful tools, different customs, common ground…

  • To show what can be achieved when a small group of neighbours come together and try something special

We hope to be working more on this with the support of Local Enterprise Office ‘Food Network’ in the coming months and hope to further announce plans at the AGM.
But please save the date and contact Joanne for further details .

AGM and Spring Networking Event

YOU ARE INVITED!

On Saturday 25th March at 12pm we are holding our first AGM and Spring Networking Event, and you are all cordially invited!
We are delighted to have been invited to hold our AGM by the Niall Mór Centre in Killybegs…Please come along and join-in the fun!

For this event, we are combining our AGM with a lovely opportunity to get together, network and swap seeds, seedlings and stories from each of our respective community gardens.

Please bring a packed-lunch, which (weather-permitting!!!) we’ll enjoy outside in the garden.

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The running order of events for the day is as follows:

  • 12pm – 1pm: 

    AGM – further details below

  • 1pm – 2pm:

    Lunch – we shall take our packed lunches to a Garden of interest to eat and share together

  • 2pm – 3pm:

    “Seeds, Seedlings and Stories Swap” in Niall Mór Centre – a chance to bring along any surplus seeds or seedlings you may have, and swap them for those brought by others!

  • 3pm – 4pm:

    Dig-In! Co-ordinated help in the hosting community garden
    (bring any gloves, tools or similar you may have!)

The AGM will begin at noon sharp; and we will kick-off hearing some reports from the Committee on the achievements and work of the steering group and interim committee since May 2016, and move on to the election of the Committee for the next year.weneedyouhands


We are now seeking nominations for our forthcoming committee and we would welcome new members from all over the county.

The overall success of this network relies on involvement and inclusion of each community garden – from Carndonagh to Killybegs and from Letterkenny to Gweedore and all in-between!

If you wish to have the support of the Donegal Community Garden Network; if you wish to represent your Garden and would like to be a part of our Committee – you can either nominate yourself, or alternatively your gardening group can nominate you.

Nominations can be sent here.

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So, that about wraps it up for our Spring Newsletter folks!

Thank you for reading and we hope you can join us on the 25th March, and in the meantime – please do get in touch if we can be of assistance or support to your Garden.

Le meas,
The Donegal Community Garden Network Team!