Transition Longford: Growing food in the town during Covid-19 lockdown

Anna D Atkinson

Reporter:

Anna D Atkinson

Email:

transitionlongford@gmail.com

Transition Longford: Growing food in the  town during Covid-19 lockdown

We took our vision of growing food into the heart of the town by creating an Edible Estate Garden on our front lawn'

Delighted to be back with our series of Transition articles. It’s been a very difficult and challenging few months, particularly of course for our elderly, our young people and the vulnerable within our communities.

The disruptive impact of this unprecedented crisis on the health and wellbeing of our citizens, as well as the social and economic challenges it continues to present, requires compassionate and creative responses as well as an entirely new vision for living and working in the world.

In truth we can’t know what it is the future holds, but it’s doubtful this virus will go away anytime soon and the climate crisis hasn’t gone away either, so preparing for challenging times ahead by developing collaborative and trusting relationships with the people in our communities, is of vital importance moving forward.

We have witnessed the tremendous response from individuals, community groups and organisations here in Longford and around the country over the past few months.

What this response demonstrated is the kindness in the heart of humankind, the potential that exists within all of us to be better and do better. It encourages hope that an upside of this crisis will be that we have increased our capacity for understanding, compassion and justice.

Covid-19 showed no favours to anyone so it is clear that we are very much dependent on each other and very much responsible for those who are less privileged.

Transition Longford - PPN Community Group
As a community group Transition Longford was only in its infancy when the Covid-19 crisis began so our capacity to respond meaningfully or effectively was very limited.

Our planned meetings and activities came to a standstill as we managed our family caring responsibilities and followed the course of action we thought was best under the circumstances. We stayed at home. In doing so it gave us time to create, to up-skill, network and to prepare for the time when we could return to the community utilising our experience from this crisis to move forward.

We are now ready to continue so if you would like to learn more about our group we’d love to hear from you.

You’ll find links and details for online Transition Gatherings on our Facebook page @TransitionLongford.

The Longford PPN Global Goals Workshops are now also back on track with dates advertised below, on our Facebook Page and Longford PPN Social Media sites.

Edible Estate - Our Covid-19 Urban Garden Project
Over these past few months we’ve participated in all kinds of conversations within the Transition Network around food sovereignty, food growing and self sufficiency. The issue of food poverty and the ability of communities to access food during times of crisis concern us deeply here in Transition Longford.

Covid-19 has witnessed a surge in the numbers of people around the country and indeed the world, growing their own food, developing all kinds of community gardens, allotments, urban gardens and so forth. This is all wonderful but is of course also a challenge for townsfolk given that many of us live in townhouses, estates and apartments with very little space.

While the big vision for Transition Longford is to encourage the development of a county wide network of community gardens and sustainability hubs, we decided to use the Covid-19 lockdown to start with something small ourselves, more immediately, so we took our vision of growing food into the heart of the town by creating an Edible Estate Garden on our front lawn.

We began in March, a little late in the year, using mostly free, donated and upcycled materials (with a few exceptions). The front lawn is a space that we never use so we decided to start there first, setting ourselves a challenge to do something different but useful with it.

Our aim was to turn it into a colourful edible urban garden that will attract butterflies, bees and ladybugs but also provide us with real organic food. Given that we are total novices, with limited financial resources, this was always going to prove interesting.

Our project is led by our desire to live more sustainably but the impossibility of us being able to move to the countryside for the foreseeable future. Our project is also an experiment that will hopefully inspire other towns people to join us in becoming more self-sufficient and thereby resilient in times of crisis and food shortages.

Spending time outdoors, creating and nurturing a garden is also excellent for our mental health and wellbeing. Our thinking is that if we can do it, anyone can.

Our dependence on large multinationals for food is something we definitely need to move away from especially given that those companies are responsible for such appalling human, animal and planetary abuses around the world.

A move toward growing local, producing local, buying local and supporting local is our vision and where we stand on the issue of food. You can follow our Edible Estate Garden project on the Transition Longford Facebook Page.

Wellbeing & Sustainable Living Weekend 2020
This year's Wellbeing & Sustainable Living Weekend was due to take place on Saturday & Sunday, September 19 & 20, but it’s now not possible to deliver it as envisioned. If it’s to take place at all, it must go online.

At the moment this is an independently run event and so is very much dependent on the good will and support of individuals, community groups and organisations interested in the overall transformative vision of Transition.

Bearing this in mind we are asking the people and communities of Longford, The Hidden Heartlands of Ireland and as far afield as possible, to engage with us, collaborate with us, help us to keep this event afloat by delivering an online talk, a workshop, a demo or whatever it is you wish to deliver.

It could even be something business related, showcasing your ethical or sustainable business perhaps, what you do, how you established it and what you’ve learned along the way.

You could talk about your community project or food growing journey, a skill or ancestral knowledge you wish to share – anything that is inspiring and beneficial to others or will help us move forward in these challenging times. We are open to all suggestions and grateful for every offer so do connect with us.


In exchange for your help, your collaboration, we will offer you a Tree of Life Vision Board Session, a Storytelling for Change session or a Wellbeing Coaching Session details of which you may ask for by emailing Anna at the address below. The contact details for Transition Longford are as follows: Contact: Anna D Atkinson Email: transitionlongford@gmail.com

Dates for Longford PPN Online Global Goals Workshops
Thursday, August 6: Goal 14 - Life Below Water – 7.30pm
Thursday, August 27: Goal 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities – 7.30pm
Thursday, September 10: Goal 3 - Good Health & Wellbeing - 7.30pm