Jennifer Farrell - accidental gardener
Jennifer Farrell – Grow it Forward Greystones
Jennifer is an engineer based in Bray and working for Oriflame. At seven months pregnant she has been working from home since before the lockdown and is finding it can be a little claustrophobic at times. Since moving to her home in Bray she now has a garden and is enjoying her new-found horticultural skills. Her dad and aunt are big into gardening but this is a new hobby for her.
As part of her new interest in all things green she signed up for the community gardens in Kilcoole and Greystones which is located behind the Shoreline Gym in Greystones. This has been a really positive experience for her and she finds the community very helpful and welcoming.
“Gardening people are very friendly,” she says.
In the midst of the COVID19 restrictions Jennifer spotted a note on a Facebook page posted a cousin.“It was called Grow it Forwards and I was intrigued.”
This is an initiative of the popular Grow it Yourself where they wanted to encourage people to grow their own food. It is championed by people already growing food and plans to adopt newbies into the joy of growing vegetables.
“I signed up and then set up my own Grow it Forwards Greystones group. In a matter of days I have almost 60 people signed up as well – most of them strangers. My post just got shared all over.”
The beauty of this initiative is twofold. Firstly headed up by the GIY group it is providing free packages of seeds for thousands of people – but the packages are given out in packs of ten. This allows for the seeds to be distributed via a group with a leader which means there is a much better chance the seeds will actually be planted. Each leader will then encourage the group and give advice on where and when to plant the seeds and what to do as they sprout.
The second element is that the GIY leadership will continue to offer ongoing advice during the lifecycle of the programme. It is both helping communities come together and grow food but also to foster friendships and fellowships at a local level.
Jennifer protests that she is not an expert of any kind but that she just loves gardening. She is also very excited to work with her team leaders and their groups over the coming weeks and months.
“It’s more than just proving people with a new hobby – it’s all the supports. If you have never planted a seed in your life it doesn’t matter as there will be loads of help and support in the groups.
‘And laughter,” she adds.
Already parents have expressed excitement at having a new project to do with their children, other volunteers have said they always wanted to give gardening a go but never had the time or proper incentive.
Jennifer also points out that people don’t have to have big gardens, in fact they don’t even need to have a garden, a balcony or even a windowsill will work.
“This is about coming together with a general purpose. If we grow vegetables to eat then that will be an amazing result.”
To signup, check out … https://www.changex.org/ie/grow-it-forward/