In our presentation to the Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, we highlighted the importance of practical citizen action on biodiversity, and announced that we will soon be opening a new urban social inclusion and environmental education initiative in the Dublin area.
With support from Dublin City Council, GAP has operated the GLAS community garden in Ballymun for over a decade now, successfully delivering social inclusion and environmental education programmes for schools and community groups in the area.
This unique model will now be replicated in the Blanchardstown area, through a partnership between GAP, TU Dublin and Fingal County Council.
“We were delighted to be able to brief members of the Citizens Assembly on our environmental education and social inclusion work in the Ballymun area. Our GLAS garden programme has shown that urban biodiversity action is good for the planet and good for people too,” said Hans Zomer, CEO of Global Action Plan.
“And we are very excited to announce that this successful social horticulture initiative, which has become a hub for social inclusion activities in the Ballymun area, will now be replicated in West Dublin, with support from Fingal County Council and Technological University Dublin,” commented Zomer.
At its session on 6 November, the Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss considered biodiversity in urban areas.
Members of the Assembly heard from a range of academics, as well as from community projects. Hans Zomer, CEO of Global Action Plan, presented his organisation’s work on biodiversity and environmental education in Ballymun.
Rooted in the heart of Ballymun, the Green Living & Sustainability Community Garden (GLAS) contributes to the social regeneration programme in the area, by providing a safe, inclusive and accessible space for members of the community to meet and work together, irrespective of backgrounds, abilities or skills levels.
The garden offers thematic workshops for schools and community groups in Ballymun, as well as opportunities for people to learn the principles and practices of regenerative horticulture.
In the first 10 months of this year, the garden attracted over 1,800 volunteers from local schools, community groups, youth groups, businesses and direct provision centres.
“Compared to other countries, Ireland has very few allotments and community gardens. Yet there is ample evidence that urban agriculture initiatives such as community gardens or allotments help promote biodiversity and, when well managed, can bring a sense of vibrancy to a community. The GLAS community garden in Ballymun contributes to social cohesion and human wellbeing, and is also a centre where people can experience first-hand what ‘Green Living’ means; in the GLAS community garden they can acquire the knowledge, abilities and attitudes needed to live in a sustainable and resource-efficient society,” said Hans Zomer, the CEO of Global Action Plan.
“The new GLAS community garden at TU Dublin will be based on the GLAS community garden model, and will be a place where individuals, community groups and schools can come to learn about gardening and sustainability, or to simply enjoy being out in the Irish weather, growing healthy food.”
“Like the GLAS garden in Ballymun, the GLAS garden at TU Dublin will be a space where people get to meet and share, discover new skills and reconnect with nature, and with each other,” said Zomer.