The Edible Landscape Project (ELP), a Westport-based community growing initiative, was formed in 2012. Our main purpose is to promote LOCAL FOOD SECURITY through the medium of practical, community, 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 how to manage your soil, water and energy usage as sustainably as possible. We also look at the area of carbon food miles and what we as a community can do to lower them. Benefits to the community from such workshops tend to include increased community spirit as young and old come together to plant trees locally, as well as a corresponding mental and physical health boost for all those involved.
Our Projects have included several fruit tree pruning, grafting and planting workshops, 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 the majority 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.
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.