Food, glorious food – the healthy way to grow and cook your own
By Mary Dennehy
MORE than 1,000 people living in Fettercairn and Brookfield have planted the seeds for healthier eating through their participation in a two-year programme, which positively influenced the eating habits of families in low income communities.
The Growing Community Roots programme was embraced by residents in Fettercairn who, over the past two years, were encouraged to think about where their food comes from through a series of events, which included educational talks, cooking demonstrations and growing your own food sessions.
The two-year programme also united the community in working together to address the challenges families face in accessing healthy, affordable food, while striving to teach people that a healthy diet is possible on any budget.
The Tallaght-tailored initiative also promoted local physical activities, such as horse-riding, Zumba and boot camps.
Funded by Safe Food and managed by Healthy Food for All, the programme was co-ordinated locally by the South Dublin County Partnership and steered by the Fettercairn Youth and Community Centre, St Aidan’s National School, St Aidan’s Community School, St Brigid’s Junior National School, St Anne’s Primary School, Barnardos, the Fettercairn Horse Project and a variety of other local organisations.
However, according to Mary Clare Wallace, of SDC Partnership, the participants are the reason for the success of the programme, which the community hopes will continue to grow and strengthen roots into the future.
Mary Clare told The Echo: “One of the many positives outcomes of the programme is that people can now put together healthy food on a budget and are not as reliant on pre-packed food.
“People are educating themselves on what is in their food and learning about ingredients and how to put these ingredients together.
“For some parents it’s all about building confidence and we hope, now that the two-year programme is finished, to keep the programme going in some form.
“Together we have started something great and we need to keep it going, make healthy eating a natural part of people’s lives and the community’s collective goal.”
On Wednesday, the programme was showcased in the Fettercairn Youth and Community Centre, with the celebration being attended by residents, school kids, organisations and County Mayor Sarah Holland.
Speaking about the initiative, Mary Keegan, Fettercairn estate management and Fettercairn Community Garden, said: “It came at a time when resources were being withdrawn from communities and this enabled the steering group to motivate and support struggling communities in positive healthy activities and healthy affordable eating ideas and skills”.
The Community Food Initiatives Programme 2013 – 2015 also supported the unique programme.