Edible Landscape Project

Benefits of an Edible Landscape

An Edible Landscape or forest garden is a land management system where trees, shrubs and perennial plants are planted in such a way as to mimic the structure of a natural temperate woodland. This layered style of planting which we are using in many of our planting workshops, is very suitable to temperate climates although it is still quite experimental on the Western seaboard of Ireland where rainfall levels are high. Ultimately edible landscapes/ forest gardens result in the formation of a very sustainable and stable ecosystem requiring low maintenance.

This ancient type of planting is one of several design systems which comprise AGROFORESTRY.


As the Edible Landscape Project adopts the chemical free ethos of both the organic and agroforestry movements, no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are required therefore there is little or no resource wastage. Other notable resource efficiencies related to our edible landscape are:

  • Soil is not disturbed annually for cultivation allowing for ORGANIC MATTER BUILD-UP
  • Protection against CLIMATE CHANGE: Carbon is stored in the undisturbed soil as perennial shrubs and trees are used instead of annuals
  • Reduced MAINTENANCE by planting perennials
  • Where possible we use local and/or heritage tree and shrub varieties supporting LOCAL ENTERPRISES. These varieties tend to be locally cultivated and therefore survive much better in local west of Ireland climatic conditions. They also support higher levels of BIODIVERSITY than non-native species


  • Supporters & Volunteers

    Support for the Edible Landscape Project from local community groups has surpassed expectations. As a result we've run a number of projects on Westport Town Greenway and one in Newport. A selection of those involved in our projects include: Mayo County Council, South West Mayo LEADER TUS and RSS Schemes, Westport Men's Shed, Westport GIY, Westport Tidy Towns, Westport Civic Trust, Local schools, Westport College of Further Education, Newport Tidy Towns, NADDCo , Andy Wilson at www.fruitand nut.ie, Cleo DeVito at The Good Life Network…
Caithriona McCarthy

Caithriona graduated with a BA (Hons) from University College Dublin and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Studies from The Michael Smurfit School of Business, UCD. An avid interest in sustainability issues both at community and business levels led Caithriona towards a Master’s Degree in Science in Organic Farming Profession at the University of Glasgow,  a Permaculture Design Certificate with Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Institute and Certificates in Sustainable Livelihoods and Development Issues in Latin America.

A fluent Spanish speaker Caithriona lived in Spain for several years where she became acutely aware of the importance of community, the food we eat as a community and how and where that food is grown. On her return, Caithriona worked freelance advising small Irish development organisations on sustainable business development. She now combines her time as a lecturer in Sustainable Horticulture and Entrepreneurship at Westport College of Further Education (WCFE) in Co. Mayo, with developing community based sustainability projects. As a qualified yoga teacher, Caithriona incorporates the practice of mindfulness and a holistic approach to life into all of her work.

In 2012 Caithriona founded the Edible Landscape Project.

Paula Halpin
Paula Halpin

Paula Halpin is a native of Westport, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Passionate about local issues and community development projects, she is engaged on a voluntary basis with various organisations, including the Westport Family and Community Resource Centre. Since graduating from University College Dublin in 1990 with an honours Degree in Landscape Design, Paula has had a wide range of working experiences including lecturing third level horticultural students in the National Botanic Gardens and engaging special needs adults with Horticultural Therapy. Paula set up her own business, Ceres Landscape Design in 1998.