I Can Grow
Acorn Farm ‘I can grow’
Over 250 families in Derry and Strabane are rolling up their sleeves on a journey towards self-sustainability thanks to a new environmental project encouraging more people to grow their own produce.
The 'I Can Grow' Project is led by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and delivered in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council, The Conversation Volunteers and University College Cork was launched in December 2020 sparking an overwhelming response from families across Derry and Strabane, generating hundreds of expressions of interest.
The participating families are growing their own food, with equipment provided and some expert mentoring from Council's newly appointed horticulturalist and a team of conservation volunteers, that will run over two growing seasons.
Acorn Farmers win 'Climate Heroes' poll
15 Oct 21
A local family who are part of the I can grow project have won the My NI Climate Heroes competition for their efforts in helping the environment. The accolade followed an online poll where the public had to vote for their favourite Climate Hero. As winners of the competition, mother and son Aine and John will receive a National Trust voucher to the value of £150.
A little bit about Aine & John
As a Primary 1 Teacher and mum of an energetic 9 year old, Aine Kivlehan, has a great grasp of the positive impact of growing your own on children and family life.
Having done a little bit of growing in the past, Aine was so excited to see the Acorn Farm, I can grow Project’s call out for interest to people in the Derry City and Strabane District area and signed up to be part of it. Since then, Aine and her son John have really embraced growing together; reusing old wiring and containers to nurture their very own fruit and vegetables and taking great care of the seeds in the raised bed supplied by the Project horticulturalist.
‘John really loves checking on the veg and watering the plants and I’ve enjoyed getting some tips from the horticulturalist which I’ve passed onto friends. It’s lovely being able to lift something from your back garden and bring it into the kitchen to cook for dinner.’
It has been catching too with neighbours popping over to have a look and being inspired to give growing a go themselves. Aine looks forward to the time when, as a community, they can begin to come together, share produce and have little tasting sessions in each other’s gardens.
‘We have to take care of our community and ‘I can grow’ is empowering us to be more self-sufficient while cutting out all the pollution involved in transporting food. We hope that it’s the start of a wider movement saving families money, helping them eat a bit healthier while caring for our environment & instilling that ethos within our children.’
Follow the project on Instagram
Click here to watch Council’s Horticulturalist Johnny’s videos on how to Grow It