Individuals, Local and National Policymakers
We need to grow more of our food within Galway city. For example, it is possible to get 40 tons per hectare from allotments and back gardens in vegetable production. Urban agriculture can take many forms:
– Allotments: We need to build on the growing allotment movement in Galway by allowing local residents grow most of their own food near where they live at an affordable cost. Well maintained allotments with good facilities need to be established all over the city (these could be on both public and private land).
– Front and Back Gardens: Many suburban houses in Galway have large rear garden space that could be cultivated. Raised beds could be built in front gardens.
– Edible Parks: This is an approach to public parks where exotic ornamentals are replaced with productive, edible, organic and attractive plants (herbs, salads, fruit trees, nut trees, vegetables etc.). Those visiting the parks can simply collect produce when ripe. Signage would be erected, leaflets produced, a website would be set up and workshops could be held to inform the public about food.
– Unusual Spaces: All manner of plants (herbs, salads, fruit etc.) can be grown in the city such as on balconies, rooftop areas, window sills and in conservatories.
– Garden Share Scheme: This is an often informal arrangement where a landowner allows a gardener access to land, typically a front or back garden, in order to grow food. The gardener can pay the landowner in produce and/or money. A website will be set up to facilitate matchmaking.
– Public Building Gardens: Public Buildings such as schools, hospitals, Council buildings are ideal places to demonstrate commitment to locally sourced, organic or naturally farmed food. Relying on volunteers to use small areas of the city as community gardens is no longer enough. It is valuable work that immediately and directly feeds back into the community. Paid employment for active, knowledgeable food growers will make Galway more resilient. Outlines of possible new full-time employment and workscheme opportunities for horticulturalists/growers can be found in:
community & education (School Garden Facilitator) and in
inner transition (Hospital Garden Facilitator)
Getting food from point A (ground) to point B (mouth) in the least possible distance and time is practical, straightforward way of cutting carbon emissions.
The health benefits for working in and eating from a garden are well known, but never factored into budgets. People working in healthy environments means savings to the healthcare system. This is an unseen potential saving that is currently lacking in budget planning.
Edible Landscape Project, Great Western Greenway, Co. Mayo
Grow It Yourself (GIY), Carraiganore, Waterford