The Edible Landscape Project (ELP), a Westport-based edible planting initiative, was formed in 2012. Our main purpose is to promote LOCAL FOOD SECURITY through the medium of practical, educational workshops where local people learn how, why, where and when to plant local and/or heritage edible fruit and nut trees and shrubs. Our workshops focus on sustainable land management practices and include techniques on managing local biodiversity, soil management, water and energy conservation and how to lower carbon food miles. Unexpected benefits resulting from ELP workshops include improved local community spirit as well as a boost in the mental and physical health of all involved in the workshops.
Workshops have included fruit tree pruning, grafting and planting, working with willow and creating forest gardens. We have planted on sites along Westport Town Greenway, the Great Western Greenway (GWG) and in Westport town itself. These are public spaces so the fruits of the trees and shrubs will be available for everyone to enjoy in years to come. Although many of our workshops are attended by adults, we have also run several workshops with local Westport schoolchildren and more recently with children in Dublin Zoo. ELP workshop costs are kept deliberately low so that anyone who wishes to can attend.
HERITAGE TREE RESEARCH
Between 2013 and 2015 the ELP received funding from Mayo County Council as part of the Historic Towns Initiative. This funding has helped us research the identity of the local/ heritage fruit and nut trees which have been slowly disappearing from the GWG area as sites containing old orchards have been redeveloped. We've taken dozens of apple tree grafts which will be replanted in new locations along the Greenway at ELP workshops in 2016 and beyond.The Great Western Greenway passes through the historic towns of Westport, Newport and Mulranny before reaching Achill Sound. The Benefits Of An Edible Landscape.
The idea of growing an edible landscape along the Great Western Greenway originated at a Westport community enterprise event in 2012 (SHeDD Talks), which focused on the power of the community to inspire local food growing projects.
If you would like to take part in one of our workshops please contact us.