200 families turn over new leaf in 2024 with I Can Grow programme 

Foundation News

200 families turn over new leaf in 2024 with I Can Grow programme 

28 Mar 2024

Over 200 families in the Derry and Strabane area have signed up for the I Can Grown programme in conjunction with the Acorn Farm.

The highly popular ‘I Can Grow’ Scheme continues to be oversubscribed such is the interest in people getting their hands dirty and taking on the challenge of growing their own food at home.

The Acorn Farm ‘I Can Grow’ Project 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.

With equipment supplied and mentoring from Council horticulturalists and a team of conservation volunteers the families could turnip any amount of produce.

Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Development Officer at the Community Foundation said:

“Food sustainability and climate awareness is to the fore within so many families. We see increased recycling, children learning about their climate and local environment in school, tree planting and the I Can Grow scheme can only add to that learning.
“This is an enjoyable and engaging way to educate local people on where their food comes from and reduce people’s very own carbon footprint. There is nothing more satisfying that cutting your own herbs or digging up you spuds and carrots that you have grown from seed.

“The I Can Grow project just goes from strength to strength. To date all round have been oversubscribed such is the interest.”

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Kate Beggs, Director of The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland, said:

“We’re delighted by the amazing response from local families, which shows that there is real interest in learning about food, food choices and how these affect the environment.
“The ‘I Can Grow’ Project was the first in Northern Ireland to receive funding from our 10-year £100 million Climate Action Fund, set up to help communities throughout the UK reduce their carbon footprint. It’s inspiring to see so many families becoming involved in the ‘I Can Grow’ initiative, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

David Montgomery of The Conservation Volunteers said:

“The response to this project is encouraging and exciting. Together we hope to ignite enthusiasm, improving the quality of food these families consume, learn where it comes from, how it is produced and what it takes to grow delicious food from your own garden. Together, we will confidently pioneer small-scale residential food production in Northern Ireland, gaining the many benefits of this opportunity along our journey and sharing our experiences with as many others as possible to encourage a greater awareness of how growing food at home can make a significant and positive change to our environment, our overall health and community resilience.”


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