Redburn and Loughview join the growing quest for local food

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On a dark and cold January evening last week, 75 Redburn and Loughview residents of all ages, community workers and representatives of Holywood Transition Town turned out to a lively discussion on gardening and growing local food in the area.

The event was kicked off by Austin Herron of Eden Allotments in Carrickfergus (1) who described the excellent support of Carrickfergus Borough Council from the off. Friendship and camaraderie across the generations had grown as vigorously as the fruit and vegetables. They had been so successful that 36 plots have blossomed into 98. A further wholly organic area is being set up to satisfy the burgeoning waiting list of 68 and the Council is investigating yet further sites.

Miriam Turley from Eglantine Community Gardens in South Belfast told us how her scheme was run by keen local volunteer gardeners. It had grown from a dilapidated and rubbish strewn wasteland into a beautiful urban oasis where children play and which older citizens are able to share and enjoy. 

Inspired participants agreed that Holywood should join the movement for growing more local food (2). The credit crunch, benefits to community cohesion and health made allotments and community gardens more relevant than ever.  They named the many grassy or neglected areas which could be put to good use including those at Holywood Schools. Community gardens could include vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and wildflowers. The Youth Group participant’s wanted to compost the estates’ green wastes, establish a volunteer youth team to promote and protect the gardens and keep hens! (3)

Clearly all generations are keen and committed to see real change to a greener Holywood and that resources are made available. It was suggested a survey be made to clarify the needs and desires of residents before a further meeting of this Redburn Loughview group in April.

The event was hosted by NDBC, Redburn and Loughview Community Forum and facilitated by Holywood Transition Town (4).



2.    There are hundreds off schemes across the UK. (request a list from Sacha) See also the Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall Landuse campaign.

3.    Be in touch for list of discussion ideas | Sacha Workman | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 028 9042 5006 - home/office | 077 1058 5876 - Mobile

4.    Holywood Transition Town is Northern Ireland’s first Transition Town group. We are part of a worldwide movement of communities taking steps to prepare for a world of volatile fuel prices and an unstable climate. The credit crunch provides a practice run of a world where people need to be ready prepared to be more self-sufficient. This is the third such meeting Holywood Transition Town have held on food and land use issues in Holywood.