It’s a universal language, gardening.
And allowing people from diverse backgrounds, and with different languages, to find a common ground to connect was one of the premises behind the International Garden, a Cork Migrant Centre outreach project, which has just added a beautiful new geodome.
Established in September of 2022, the International Garden project provides a safe space at Ardfoyle Convent, Ballintemple for families living in Direct Provision Centres and newly arrived Ukrainian families in Cork. It is a place for these families to grow food from their own countries in solidarity with others living in the local community.
The new Geo-Dome, ‘Plantopia’, made from recycled materials, will allow participants to grow tropical plants and vegetables that would not survive or thrive in Irish weather and experiment with a range of diverse crops.
#VoicesofCork Dr Naomi Mascheti of @CorkMigrant speaks about the International Garden in the OLA Sisters Convent in Ballintemple. Many thanks to @NanoNaglePlace ,SHEP, @CorkETB & many others for this fab inclusive initiative #GotCork #weareCork #proudofCork pic.twitter.com/vdq9M4j7oo
— Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy (@cllrkmac) October 22, 2023
It’s also a place where migrant women can network with collaborators, volunteers, and the local community, bringing a taste of home to the table, and bridging the gap between their home countries and their adopted countries.
“By providing a safe space for families living in Direct Provision Centres and for newly arrived families from Ukraine, the project resonates with what Nano Nagle stood for,” said Nano Nagle Place CEO, John Smith.
“Collaboration is at the heart of the project and in my view is the foundation of its success in creating an enabling environment, where participants get to grow food from their own countries and engage with each other and members of the local community at the same time.”
This year, the gardeners have enjoyed local success by participating in the Cork on a Fork Festival with a market stall in Emmet Place selling produce grown in the garden. The aim for the International Garden is to continue to be a melting pot of cultures where people can come and learn from one another.