“We are a friendship group and each of us also link in and share seeds, plants, food with other people in Flanagans Field. It’s an informal network of sharing plants, food, skills and knowledge that happen when people who garden gather. And of course … there needs to be more green places in D8 some for gardening, some for growing food, some for letting flowers and bushes and trees grow, some wild areas left alone.” Community Grower, D8
A new report by TCD-based ShareCity Research Project has painted a fascinating picture of interconnected food sharing initiatives and community growers in Dublin 8.
The report, which was funded through the European Research Council and undertaken in partnership with Smart D8 Smart City District, set out to map the growing network of community growing and sharing initaitives in the area, and identify the collaborations and dividends to the community arising from this local share economy.
“Smart D8 aims ‘to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens in Dublin 8 through collaboration and innovation’, and one of the ways we felt this could be progressed was through by food sharing”, says Dr. Alwynne McGeever of ShareCity. “There are many established and emerging Food Sharing Initiatives (FSIs) in the Dublin 8 area, but there is currently no single directory for identifying them, meaning their visibility can be low, even within the locality. Equally, few FSIs currently collect or analyse data on their impacts creating a knowledge gap for the organisations in terms of identifying and understanding their impacts and communicating these to funders, supporters and regulators.”
As part of the SFI ENABLE Spoke’s activities on citizen engagement and in partnership with Smart D8, ShareCity mapped and categorised all food sharing activities in the district and measured the sustainability impacts of six illustrative case studies. The findings of this research will be used to inform strategic planning to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens in the district.
Among the groups participating in the research were: The Grow Dome Project at Flanagan’s Field; Robert Emmet CDP which includes the Inner City Beekeeping Project; Small Changes, a community store in Inchicore; SWICN; The Little Flower Penny Dinners and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Community Office.
The report also considered the range of community grow spaces in Dublin 8, including a number of allotments schemes operated by Dublin City Council and community gardens. And the research project also brought to light a number of smaller initiatives across the area supporting sustainablility and community resilience.
The main findings of the report are summarised:
Read the ShareCity Research report on the sustainability impacts of food sharing in Dublin 8 in full.