KASI Community Garden
Hi, My name is Yamoussa Bangoura from Guinea but everyone here calls me Banks. I live in Park Lodge hostel for asylum seekers in Killarney. I’ve been involved with the KASI Community Garden since March 2010. I used to work with my grandfather on his farm in Guinea growing potatoes, carrots, maize, cassava, manioc, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and picking fruit from the trees – bananas, oranges and mangoes.
The big difference I find between gardening in Guinea and Ireland is the stones – there are too many here! The range of crops it is possible to grow is smaller in Ireland also, due to the climate. In my opinion, we will get good results from the community garden if we keep up the hard work. Last year I grew carrots, beetroot, onions, radish, tomatoes, potatoes, parsnips and so on. I take some of the vegetables with me and eat some raw salads and carrots.
I feel at home in the garden and I can go there whenever I feel like it and do some work. It is better and cheaper than going to the gym! It gives me a sense of satisfaction to make beds for growing the vegetables and I feel that I am also contributing something to the community. I have a great sense of peace working in the garden alone or with other volunteers in this beautiful place.
All the tools and machinery and equipment are provided that I need to do things in the garden. I am learning a lot all the time and I am grateful for the opportunity to meet great people through KASI and the garden project.
East Belfast Mission
Paula Savage - I have been involved with the Healthy Food For All project since January 2010. This project has helped me in many ways firstly; I believe it has helped me to build relationships with many different people that I normally would not meet. People who have become friends and they have helped me and I have also helped them in different ways. I have enjoyed the monthly information sessions and I am much more adventurous about trying different foods and have learnt so much about cooking and the benefits of fresh vegetables and fish. It has also given me something to look forward to once a month on a Tuesday night.
I realise that if it wasn’t for the Healthy Food for All project, I would not have learnt the skill of growing your own vegetables and the importance of growing vegetables seasonally. I have developed my own raised bed and have grown peas and tomatoes. I feel this has also had a positive effect on my mental health as I look forward to tending the vegetables and getting out in the garden.
Taking an interest in my health and wellbeing has given me the confidence to know I can help myself. Healthy Food For All has been a great project and the staff are very supportive. I now play my part within the sessions; I recently gave 100 bags of vegetables away to the local community. I chatted to them about the Christmas recipes and took details so we could send out our new brochure for 2012.
Food Focus Project Knocknaheeny (NICHE Lead)
(Me on the left visiting Mallow Community Garden Project)
My name is Catherine Crean and I first came to learn about the community food project through the community group, ‘Springboard’. I would never have thought about growing vegetables, I knew nothing about it; my grandparents would’ve done a bit, but I thought it’d be very hard. During my training I learnt how to identify what were weeds and what weren’t. We grew green beans, strawberries, radishes and I really enjoyed it. After that, I went to visit various community gardens in Mallow through the food project with other interested people; a group of us got to see what other people did like having a herb spiral rockery, inside a polytunnel, about composting and got an idea of what our upcoming community garden in Knocknaheeny might look like. I also spoke with some of the people who were working there and could see how much they enjoyed it and cooking their own food from what they grew.
The community garden project was delayed for a long time, but in the meantime I joined the ‘food club’. Here, we learned to cook a lot healthier from scratch. The cooks showed us what can do with vegetables, make them taste very well. I would have been a meat and two veg person, just buying the usual stuff from the supermarket for the kids. In the food club we actually saw how different meals were made, healthy but on a budget, and we got to taste and enjoy the food afterwards. I’ve made the chilli con carne wraps, chopped up the vegetables really small and for the first time got my teenage son to eat carrots, peppers and onions in this meal. Another thing we made in the club was the homemade pizzas. After that class I got the dough dry mix and made this and the sauce from scratch. I would always buy pizza from frozen but now because my sons love making their own and adding different toppings I will continue to make these with them.
The food club and my involvement in the new community garden have enabled me to learn new interesting things but also go out a lot more. Before I would’ve been isolated as I care for my two elderly parents who have many health problems and am often with them and going on hospital with them. I’m excited about the idea of getting involved in the garden and hope to make some foods to sell at the food event this September.
The Food Garden Dundalk (RehabCare Lead)
My name is John, I live in the country in Co. Monaghan with my mother. For generations, the garden in front of the house was used as a vegetable garden, I remember that from my childhood. So I wanted to bring back the idea of growing vegetables in the garden. I learnt the gardening skills I needed at the Food Garden in Seatown (Dundalk) and transferred these skills to my own garden.
Last year, I grew cauliflower (at the back of the picture) and cabbage (at the front). I also grew carrots, different types of lettuce, onions, herbs, scullions and potatoes. My mother and I used the vegetables in the kitchen and they were lovely. My mother said that she hadn’t tasted scullions as nice as these in years.
Some Fridays, we go to the local farmer’s market and sell surplus vegetables and wooden planters and chutneys we made in the Food Garden. I know some people that pass at the market and we have a chat.
I have been on the project since it started in January 2010 and enjoy it and look forward to it. I attend once a week.
The garden at home gives me something to do in the evenings when I get home, because the plants need some looking after.
Bogside Brandywell Health Forum - Food for Life
Louise is a local resident and a mother of two, has been part of the Gardening Project in the Gasyard since September 2010 after a friend introduced her to the programme.
Louise shares her story, ‘The gardening class in the Gasyard has helped me in a lot of ways and has helped me to be more aware of the environment and what is going on around me. I leave the gardening class on a Thursday buzzing with excitement, thinking and planning about what I can do in my own garden. I started the gardening class in September 2010 shortly after my mother passed away and I found the garden helped me with my worries and stopped me getting depressed at this time. I love coming to the Gasyard on a Thursday and look forward to spending time with the people I have met. Since joining the programme my husband has notices the change in me, I am more confident but I still feel have a long way to go yet.
JJ is the volunteer gardener and is a great help with any questions I have or if I need any help in my garden at home. I now go to the other garden in Creggan on a Saturday because I can take my two children with me. It is great for the children to introduce them to fruit and vegetables to let them know were they come from. I want my children to know where food comes from not just a supermarket shelf and I don’t want to spend money in a supermarket on food when I grow it myself and be self sufficient.
Living in a city and a built up area I love getting the chance to spend time out doors in the gardens, it is the best thing and we need more projects like this. We are getting chickens for the garden in Creggan and I can’t wait, the chicken droppings are great fertiliser.
I would be lost without the gardening project and I want my children to learn more about gardening which I hope will help them stay away from drugs and alcohol. Since I joined the gardening project I have also joined the Volunteer Investment Project and the Aqua Aerobics class with my sister. I hope in the next few months I will keep on learning by taken part in the gardening project and I want to learn how to make jam, pickle things like beetroot.’
Charity No. CHY20341
Healthy Food For All