Bridgefoot Park and An Taisce’s Green Community Programme building bridges between communities #People4Soil

Published by Eric Maher on

24thMarch 2017

The story of Oliver Bond’s residents and of their efforts to have a derelict site transformed from a waste land of urban squalor into something that reinforces and maintains a strong community spirit has been inspiring.

Community members decided to get green fingered. The site became a community garden for a time with residents growing their own fruit, vegetables and even tending to egg-laying hens. Many volunteered in a variety of roles such as gardeners, horticulturalists, community leaders and chefs. The area has also acted as a playground and recreational centre for kids and adolescents. This had helped curb vandalism in the area. The video below from their Facebook page demonstrates the transformation that has occurred.

An Taisce’s Green Community Programme has helped projects like Bridgefoot grow. Robert Moss outlined the possibilities of the programme, along with some of the difficulties faced by communities, at a screening of Symphony of the Soil at Christchurch on Monday.

Involved since March 2015, An Taisce’s Green Community programme has helped put gardeners from other green community centres together so that it is very much training among equals. This system has blossomed with co-operative relationships springing up.

Robert Moss, speaking to a packed Christchurch Cathedral at the screening of Symphony of the Soil

People involved in the programme learn early on the importance of soil and how precious but underrated it is. In the short term, Moss explains, “fertilizer boosts crop yields but in the long term it tends to decline and intereferes with the process.” Very little insect life remains in soil that has been continually fertilized with chemicals applications. Nitrogen rich soil, from years of chemical fertilizer is hard to remedy.

But they are achieving a richer soil at Bridgefoot Street Park.

Mature horse manure and nitrogen loving weeds like dock leaves, rye grass and creeping buttercups help reverse the damage. However, these are not an overnight fixes and requires patience.

Patience and perseverance are qualities the Bridgefoot Street community have in abundance having fought tirelessly for this area to be turned into a community attraction.  Mr Moss praised the community for moving from being inexperienced in horticulture to having a fertile and functional garden.Image result for an taisce green community

Cllr Tina MacVeigh, who has been heavily involved in turning this derelict site into a park also commended their efforts saying the “community should feel vindicated and justified in their constant battle to take back control of their surrounding areas noting how they, “united and mobilised to make Bridgefoot Park a reality and never let go of that vision.”

The park is open to the public every Saturday between 2-4 if you fancy checking out their excellent work.

Map of Oliver Bond St, Dublin

Sign the Petition: Save Ireland’s soil 

See Also: A New Community Park for Inner City Dublin

See Also: “We are heading towards a massive soil fertility crisis”

See Also: Bridgefoot Facebook Page

See Also: An Taisce’s Green Communities

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Eric Maher

Eric Maher is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from UCD.