Developing little green fingers

The ICA, in conjunction with sponsors Flynn and Lynch Pensions and Investments, are running a special gardening competition for primary school children in Longford.

The ICA, in conjunction with sponsors Flynn and Lynch Pensions and Investments, are running a special gardening competition for primary school children in Longford.

So far, eight schools have signed up with the deadline for entry now extended until Wednesday April 11.

Speaking at the launch in Newtownforbes NS last Wednesday, one of the judges, Brendan Farrell of Ardagh Village Landscapes, said getting children involved in the natural environment is very important.

“Environment is everything to us. It’s the air we breathe; it’s the water we drink; it’s the land we grow our produce in. There’s going to be a real problem in the future with the environment given the rise of global warming and the depletion of natural resources such as oil.

“This generation of children who will take part in this competition will have to face that challenge at some stage of their lives, and hopefully steps like this will create an awareness and an education that will help them in the future,” Mr Farrell said.

The judges will be looking at not just the quality of produce, but also the artistic and design attributes of the garden, as well as the ability of the garden to attract wildlife. “Basically this is all about harbouring a love of gardening and nature and the judging will reflect that,” Mr Farrell added.

Sponsor Enda Flynn, of Flynn and Lynch Pensions and Investments, is looking forward to June when the school gardens will be unveiled. “We’re hoping this competition will foster an interest in the children, so they can learn about growing their own vegetables and plants and learn something new about the world. We’re hoping 250 children in all the schools will get involved and look forward to seeing how they progress.”

There is €250 in prizes up for grabs, with €100 for the winner. There will be €80 and €70 for second and third places respectively.

The Longford Federation of the ICA are also holding their annual vegetable and gardening competition this year, with the official launch taking place in the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule on Tuesday 17 April at 8pm. All are welcome to attend. Contact your local ICA branch for details.