As May rolls in, green fingered types who have a little veggie patch outdoors will have already started to see their efforts rewarded, with the first of the summer season’s crops coming through. Young spinach, salad leaves and spring onions are on track right now. Soft herbs are just beginning to thrive and will do better as the days get warmer. Timely news then to hear that over 200 gardening projects are to receive grant funding in 2015. The GIY Get Ireland Growing Fund in association with AIB is aimed at putting homegrown vegetables back in focus, and helping people live healthier lives,  as they enjoy the nutritious benefits of the tasty fruits (and veg!) of their labours.

This initiative is now in it’s is the third year. Minister Tom Hayes of the Department of Agriculture made the funding award announcements at an event on 24th April. Allocated funding in amounts of between €250 and €2500 will  support 200 gardening projects including community groups, not-for-profit initiatives and school gardens. On the practical side,  GIY Ireland (Grow it yourself Ireland) will be on hand to offer plenty of advice and support, as well as sharing ideas between the projects.

Commenting at the event,  Minister Tom Hayes said, “I am delighted to see community based initiatives such as these which provide an opportunity for communities to work together – as demonstrated by the variety of projects funded by the Get Ireland Growing campaign. Smaller scale horticultural units, be they commercial, community or just individual gardeners, make a vital contribution to our economic and social well being.   They can play a vital role in supplying top quality produce to high value niche or local markets.  Their short route to market is a definite advantage when providing fresh produce with an enhanced flavour. Best of luck to all those participating in such a rewarding project."