Climate action vision for Derry/Londonderry

Foundation News

Climate action vision for Derry/Londonderry

17 Aug 2020

The first investment by the National Lottery Community Fund to help communities to reduce their carbon footprint in NI has been awarded to the Community Foundation’s Acorn Farm Project. 


Showing what is possible when people take the lead in tackling climate change, the initiative we will support people in the Derry/ Londonderry with a hands-on approach to growing their own food and learning about how their food choices affect the environment.

The first stage in the Acorn Farm project will involve recruiting 100 families across the Derry and Strabane areas, who will be given everything they need to grow food at home, learning from horticultural experts to begin the creation of a more sustainable food system throughout the city. Research into the local food system is also being carried out and the longer-term vision is to create an innovation hub for sustainable food production in St Columb’s Park.

Shauna Kelpie, Fund Officer from Acorn Farm Project said: “We’re delighted to receive support from The National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund for this exciting and truly collaborative project. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become more aware of how important a sustainable food supply is. Our focus is starting a wider conversation on issues and educating local people about their food choices. Take the tomato in your sandwich, this has been imported from another country, but by growing your own at home you get what you need and help reduce the carbon miles of its travel and in turn improve the quality of the air we breathe. Small things together can make a big difference.”

“Thank you to National Lottery players for making this funding possible, it is helping create a new movement of people who are more informed about their impact on climate change and developing a new food strategy for the region.”

Local mum Hayley Donan and her family have been growing their own veg throughout lockdown. She said: “It’s not only great for the kids and I to have our own food supply, but it also looks wonderful growing in the garden, the strawberries have been great this year.

“We just love getting out in the fresh air, weeding together and seeing what we produce, all while helping the climate and I am delighted that this money has been awarded to Derry and Strabane, as more of this is needed in the area.”

Kate Beggs, Director of The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland said: “From 25 years of funding environmental projects across the UK, we know that local community action is at the heart of delivering solutions that not only minimise the impact on the environment but also offer extra benefits that people and communities can reap.”

“In the last few months, we have been reminded that communities play a vital role in responding to a crisis and we’re confident with people in the lead communities can tackle climate action and respond to the climate emergency.”

“Thanks to National Lottery players we’re now bringing these communities together so they can address climate change, learn from each other and have an impact within and beyond their communities.”

The Acorn Farm Project is due to start in the Autumn and is being run by The Community Foundation’s Acorn Fund in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Conservation Volunteers and Cork University.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Brian Tierney welcomed the successful bid of £200k and said: “In these uncertain times, sustainable food production has never been more critical. I would like to commend the initiative and hard work of those involved in putting this application together; ensuring that our District is to the fore in creating a sustainable region.”

If you would like more information on the Acorn Farm Project please email



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