It started with seven migrant families.
Now a Cork city garden is teaming with beautiful fresh produce from all over the world.
The International Garden project has created a ‘safe space’ at Ardfoyle Convent, Ballintemple for families living in Direct Provision Centres, who work with Cork Migrant Centre, Nano Nagle Place, and the newly arrived Ukrainian families in Cork.
The concept of The International Garden is for these families to grow food from their own countries in solidarity with others living in the local community.
“Gardening is a universal language, allowing people to connect, including those with little language in common.” a spokesperson for the project told us.
“This connection becomes the fertile soil for nurturing social networks, and enhancing other capacities, such as cultural, knowledge, and skills, towards community integration.”
The garden was set up earlier this year and currently the families have had two to three harvesting sessions of various food products, bringing a taste of home to the table and bridging the gap between their home countries and their adopted countries.
The project is supported by SHEP, Ardfoyle College of Horticulture, Johnson Controls Cork, Remitly Cork, Green Spaces for Health, Community Garda, Cork City Council Social Inclusion office and UCC) and Apple International Cork.
“Whole families can participate in the garden activities, and this addresses the child-care barriers to participation in activities or learning which is a persistent barrier at the Cork Migrant Centre as it is in other settings.
“Also, it gives opportunities for children to learn by modelling their parents which is aligned with most cultures of the world,” they added.
Images: Clare Keogh