Cork drives Green Push

The Cork Food Policy Council’s Edible Greening Initiative was one of four enterprises recognised at the 2016 Irish Food Writers’ Guild community Food Awards.

The council was commended for teaching people how to grow their own food in up-cycled containers, as well as their work to highlight the “health, environmental and aesthetic benefits of growing food”.

The Greening Initiative has seen over 20 upcycled planter boxes located on different streets throughout the city – growing vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.

‘Urban October’ also took place, where rain activated art, food fairs, educational seminars and dance lessons showcased “how well designed and managed public spaces have a positive impact on people who live in, visit or work in the city. It also highlights the many groups who are working together to make our city a better place to live and work in.”

The council now aims to tackle the issue of ‘hospital food’ and has already seen a deal to provide fresh produce establish between Cork University Hospital and the Churchfield Community Trust.

The Cork City council also partnered with the Shine Basement Resource Centre to launch a mental-health themed garden to promote communal integration and show how “the simple task of gardening can benefit overall wellbeing as well as mental health” as part of the Green Ribbon Campaign.

Latest Eurostat figures show that only 1% of Irish farms grow vegetables and even less are producing fruit; however, the success of this year’s Board Bia Bloom Festival highlights the surge in public interest, where 1,746 children learned about healthy eating through the Food Dudes fruit and vegetable demonstrations.

With recent World Health Organisation figures indicating that Ireland is set to become the ‘most obese’ country in Europe, and diabetes drugs alone costing the state a record €265,000 a day – Green Initiatives are a great way to get active, eat healthy and enjoy nature all at the same time.

Cork man Patrick Frankel -‘Rising Star’ at this year’s Zurich Farm Insurance Farming Independent Farmer of the Year Awards – has very simple advice for urban dwellers: “Small is beautiful. You can be hands on.”

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