Currently unused space within Ballygowan community parkland has been adopted by the group to plant and harvest a range of fruits including apples, pears and plums, which will then be shared amongst members providing fresh organic produce at a low cost.
The Incredible Edibles is a joint project funded by Ards Borough Council and Ballygowan District Community Association, inspired by the Royal Horticulture Society, which aims to make a difference by encouraging local people to grow healthy food, transforming their area into a greener, more vibrant and resilient community.
Planting began last week and the Mayor of Ards, Alderman Hamilton Gregory, was amongst the group who planted the first trees. Speaking about the project he said: “The Incredible Edibles is a highly innovative project making use of available spaces in the area’s park to grow fresh produce to feed community members, and with the rising cost of food the initiative is very timely, as well as being very much in keeping with the Council’s vision of becoming a greener, cleaner Borough.”
The Incredible Edibles team have already been working with local schools and youth clubs teaching young people how they can grow their own food and passing on their knowledge, with 16 young people taking part in last week’s first tree plantings.
The presence of bright, colourful fruit trees generated by the project will turn the plot into an attractive community area, improving the look of the parkland, and creating a space for people to enjoy visiting.
Sean Hughes, Chairman of Ballygowan Community Association had seen how the the Incredible Edibles scheme was implemented by residents in Cloughmill, County Antrim, and was keen to bring the idea to Ballygowan. He said: “We are delighted to be running such a pioneering project and see the real value of the initiative in boosting community spirit and fostering a shared identity, plus the project is suitable for people of all ages to get involved in either by joining in the planting or buying the locally grown produce and I encourage those living in the Ballygowan area to participate.”