They’re growing sweetcorn and tomatoes in Skibbereen, chives and red cabbage in Drimoleague, salad in Baltimore, and much, much more in West Cork.

And it’s all part of a successful international movement that grows food in public spaces.

The response to the ‘Incredible Edible’ campaign in four West Cork towns has been so positive that organisers are now in talks with Cork County Council to see how the initiative can be rolled out across the region through the Tidy Towns network and other interested groups.

Herbs, fruit, berries, and other vegetables were grown in public spaces such as schools, community gardens, and even the outdoor seating area of a popular restaurant in towns including Baltimore, Dunmanway, Drimoleague, and Skibbereen.

It was all being driven by The West Cork Garden Trail in response to the global craze Incredible Edible, which began in the Yorkshire town of Todmorden in 2007.

A series of Incredible Edible events — including a talk by Mary Clear, a founder of Incredible Edible, on Saturday next at St Patrick’s Boys NS in Skibbereen (which boasts its own geodome), along with a barn banquet , a foraging afternoon, and a bicycle buffet — constitute the Trail’s contribution to this year’s Taste of West Cork Food festival, which runs from this Friday until September 18.

Produce from a variety of ‘public gardens’ will be used in two of the Trail’s Tastes of West Cork events and also shared among the public.

The public gardens’ produce includes globe artichokes and other vegetables from the Drimoleague Community Garden, salad leaves from Baltimore, raspberries and plums from the garden at the Cork Education Training Board in Skibbereen, and tomatoes and strawberries from St Patrick’s Boys School.

Herb bed at West Cork Garden Trail headquarters.
Herb bed at West Cork Garden Trail headquarters.

All the food was planted last spring as part of a community-based competition run by the Trail — and the winner of the competition will be announced during the festival.

“Vegetable beds can be very beautiful and our trail members would like to see public spaces used for growing food as a means of encouraging people to get involved in growing produce,” said trail co-ordinator Miriam Cotton.

“We wanted to make a practical contribution to the community — part of the Garden Trail’s remit should be to encourage gardening in West Cork.”

Miriam said that the West Cork Garden Trail, which was originally founded to promote growing and gardening, is now taking a more proactive approach by joining in with the annual food festival.

Herb plot at St Patricks National School, Skibbereen
Herb plot at St Patricks National School, Skibbereen

More information on the Incredible Edible initiative in West Cork can be found at westcorkgardentrail.com

To access more information on the Taste of West Cork Festival, readers should visit www/atasteofwestcork.com

For information on the Incredible Edible campaign go to www.westcorkgardentrail.com/ incredible-edible-west-cork-competition


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