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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

Calling all “grow your owners” 7 July 2020

Growing your own food is easy and fulfilling and help is at hand to get you started (via Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful)

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From the very young to the young at heart this project is for everyone.

Environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is today launching a new project which has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund as a response to Covid-19.

The Food For Thought project is a combination of ‘Grow your own’ and ‘Eat your own’ to help build resilience within communities, families and individuals.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has been a pioneer of a cleaner, greener, more sustainable Northern Ireland for the last 20 years and enabling people to grow even a very small amount of food at home completely fits with that ethos.

The project will be delivered by Live Here Love Here in collaboration with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and Belfast Food Network (BFN). TCV will distribute 550 growing packs suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces, large and small. These packs will contain seeds of salad leaves, vegetables or herbs which are suitable to sow from end July onwards, bags of peat free compost, gardening gloves, pots and a fork and trowel set. There are also some apple trees for those with suitable space to plant them.

The project will also include access to on-line webinars and video content; project partners Belfast Food Network will be creating a series of videos and recipes showing simple ways to use fabulous fresh produce. There will also be hints and tips from chefs and food producers throughout the province.

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said “There are so many reasons to grow even a small amount of food. The benefits for mental and physical health are well documented, but particularly at this time when perhaps we all have feelings of loneliness and insecurity it can be a great connector to a wider community. If you combine that with the health benefits of eating something so fresh, with zero food miles it also has the power to surprise our taste buds; this in turn leads to food empathy, an appreciation of the effort that goes into producing real food.”

Helen Tomb, Operations Leader at The Conservation Volunteers said “The challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the need to connect people with nature and the food supply chain. The Food for Thought project provides a fantastic opportunity for individuals and families to grow together and look forward to enjoying a healthy harvest. The kits provide all the basics to help even the most novice of gardeners get started and online support will help us grow as a community.’

Kerry Melville, Project Co-ordinator of Belfast Food Network, part of Sustainable Food Cities network commented “We're delighted to be a part of the Food for Thought project, we'll be encouraging people to grow their own and make delicious meals for family and friends using fresh, local, seasonal produce".

Jilly Dougan, project officer for Food For Thought said “There’s no better way to start interacting with the environment than getting up close and personal with growing food! We want applications from community groups, families and individuals of all ages from across Northern Ireland. The vision is to create a whole community of growers and eaters who support each other in a truly sustainable way. We can’t wait to see the pictures and hear about everyone’s adventures along the way”.

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Growing your own can be a great connector to a wider community

To find out more about the Food For Thought project and apply for a growing pack please visit www.liveherelovehere.org/foodforthought or contact jilly.dougan@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org to get in touch.

Applications open today and will close on Monday 20th July at 12pm (noon)