The Growery is Ireland’s first community lead urban food commons, situated within a restored heritage garden, based on Oxmantown Mall, in the township of Birr, Co. Offaly.
The initiative self describes as a ‘non-activity-specific social third space in the context of food, natural heritage, and regenerative community development’, and acts as a location for integration of partnership projects across a variety of agencies and focal areas. To date these have included an impressive array of local, national, and global project partnerships in contexts ranging from social inclusion, horticultural training, biodiversity and agri-conservation, renewable energies, mental health, climate appropriate land use, restorative justice, permacultural technologies, and service learning in the context of natural heritage.
As a location for the convergence of communities of interest in ecology and climate appropriate land use, the Growery has ‘spun-off’ a number of interesting independent initiatives , including the Irish Regenerative Land Trust, featured in the recent Creative Responses to Climate Change conference lead by former Irish President and climate justice activist Mary Robinson, the Blue Flame Tour with National Geographic Explorer and global Biodigestion evangelist Dr. TH Culhane, and the upcoming Syntropic Agroforestry Ireland tour with Paul Soden, former apprentice to the world renowned pioneer, Ernst Gotsch.
The Irish Heritage School has been a key partnership for the Growery, with visiting university cohorts from Marywood, University of North Dakota and Indiana State University; the latter in particular supported this initiative through community based service learning placement in the spring of 2018, culminating in the official opening of the project to the public after two years of initial restoration works.