A strength of our membership and our garden is our willingness for community partnership. Last year, in collaboration with Shoreline Leisure Greystones, we planted three beautiful beds in our garden to grow organic vegetables for donation to those in need. The Community Beds Project, as we call it, is a way for us to give back and reach out beyond our fences to help those in need. It was inspired by a similar effort from the USA called Earth’s Table.
We are proud to have struck up a positive partnership in 2022 with the Bray-based homeless and disadvantaged charity W.H Five Loaves, which operates a day centre 5 days a week providing two hot meals a day to its clients. On average thirty five people frequent the centre daily for various reasons. Five Loaves’ primary purpose is to facilitate the needs of both the homeless and those ‘at risk’ in their community by ensuring their nutritional, housing and social needs are met.
It was great that we were able to deliver a range of fresh veggies on a weekly/bi-weekly basis throughout the summer months, for use in the Five Loaves’ kitchen. Many of our gardeners also shared some of their own harvests in those weekly runs, adding diversity to the delivery to Five Loaves and putting a smile on the face of the wonderful Tommy Gordon, the general manager at the charity.
Tommy is always so grateful at every weekly drop to Bray. He said:
“On behalf of all of us at W.H Five Loaves, I would like to express our appreciation for the support given by all involved in the Greystones and Kilcoole Community Garden. The donations of beautiful fresh vegetables we have received were put to good use in cooking meals for the homeless and disadvantaged in our community.”
“We know the hard work involved to produce such a variety of fresh, healthy produce and our service users have benefited greatly from this.”
The 2022 beds were planted in Spring time with a variety of vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, courgette, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, rocket, and Brussels sprouts. Garden members played a role in watering, weeding and eventually harvesting and delivering the produce grown. We also invited the entire community to get trained and become community beds volunteer members to help plant, water, and tend these precious vegetable beds.
There are many lessons for all our members through our Community Beds Project and this partnership with Five Loaves. Our younger gardeners are learning compassion and purpose in planting seeds which will grow to feed someone less fortunate than them. It has also been a great way to widen our small garden’s ability to share the joy of gardening combined with altruism. Everyone enjoys the opportunity to contribute in a small way to our community. Kindness grows in our garden through this partnership and that’s always a great thing.
Tommy wishes us continued success and we are already looking forward to growing more veggies for the gang at Five Loaves again later this year.
By GKCG member, Caira O’Shea – Project Volunteer
Edited by GKCG member, Adam Calihman – Project Lead