The island of Ireland has long been a favoured place for tourists.
The landscape is spectacular, and is often seen in pictures as being a reflection of the islanders’ rugged history and culture.
But, with a population of just over 300,000, there’s a lot of debate about how to create a garden on the island of Wigh, and how best to grow it.
Now, a group of people is trying to start up a garden in the heart of the Irish capital.
And, in an effort to help alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding a possible ‘gene pool’ on one of the most biodiverse islands on the planet, the group is offering their ideas in an open letter to the Irish government.
Their call is to ‘open the island’s gene pool to the public’, and to create an environment where it can be planted, grown and harvested.
The garden will also offer a home for the islander who has had to leave the country, or who wishes to move to a new island.’
Gardeners’ say they have a deep connection to the land, with their roots growing from a few centuries of continuous farming.’
They know the soil and know what they are doing,’ says one of those involved in the garden project.’
The idea is to get a lot more people to be involved and see what it is they can do to help.’
And while they may be in a unique position to offer advice to the government, many of the people involved are in the know, having grown up in rural Ireland.’
People talk about the Irish countryside but they don’t know how to farm it,’ says a man who helped set up the garden.’
It’s really hard to get people to understand what it’s like.
They have been taught to be passive and not take on responsibility.’
The group of six, all farmers, have spent years studying how to plant and grow their own food on the land of the Isle, where they live in a community called Oranmore.
They say the soil is suitable for cultivation, with some soils being more suitable for vegetable cultivation than grass.’
We’ve been growing the seeds in a greenhouse for a couple of years,’ says Chris Stapleton.
‘It’s grown very quickly.
We’ve got a greenhouse now, which is a great place to start.’
They say that they have already received funding from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which will fund the planting of the seeds.
But the seedling is now set to begin its life as a small, one-acre plot.’
I think it’s a really good start, but I think it will be a long time before we see a harvest,’ says Stapton.
The group have also created a guide for those who wish to try the seeds, and are also encouraging those who have already planted them to plant some more.’
If you can see that it’s going well, I would encourage you to get on the seed bank, because I think the soil can be quite good,’ says James McNeill.