Saturday 08 August 2020

CorkHi18°| Lo11°

Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

‘Allotments should be the norm’

Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 3:20pm

A few months back, I wrote about food poverty in Cork as highlighted by the Cork Food Policy Council.

Access to quality food seemed an issue in more vulnerable areas, especially in North Cork. This intensified during the lockdown, especially as garden centres and allotments were closed down as well.

The lockdown also came at a time when spring hasn’t yet produced the first greens and we are still reliant on winter vegetables (if you eat with the seasons). Having been homebound for the last two months, the importance of access to fresh food became a focus for us as we needed to suddenly plan our shopping rather than thinking of what we were in the mood for.

Cork Food Policy Council (CFPC) has now highlighted the gaps in the food supply chain here in Cork and the fundamental role community gardens and allotments have in the supply chain. Talking to people who have an allotment, not being allowed to visit and work in it has had a huge mental effect on many people.

CFPC has seen – as have we all who tried to get flour during the last few weeks – that there has been an increase in home-cooking and the group is hopeful that this trend continues when restrictions are lifted for the hospitality sector.

Having more time during the lockdown and being cooped up with children definitely has something to do with the increase and as enjoyable as home-cooking and baking is, I am looking forward to a tasty potato bake in Idaho, afternoon tea in the Metropole or River Lee and buying these ‘terrible’ cookies in Mark & Spencer’s (my guilty pleasure).

Saying that, I agree with the chairperson of CFPC, Janas Harrington that allotments and community gardens should be the norm and not just a ‘green thing’ for a minority of people.

I visited the Hydro Farm Allotments in Tower a few times and seeing the abundance of fresh, seasonal produce is mind-blowing. You see very organised gardens, others go with the ‘let nature do its thing’ approach but all have the love for fresh air, quality food and the companionship in common.

Inga from Eastern Europe (sorry, forgot which country), who has an astonishing garden with the most amazing black tomatoes in her polytunnel (she also happens to be a very talented baker) and Zwena (owner of the farm) are just two of the 42 allotment growers who work in harmony with the seasons. We hadn’t started our gardening efforts before the lockdown came into play as the weather was still too cold.

We could have ended up without any homegrown delights but thanks to a neighbour (thank you Gerry) who is a keen gardener himself, we now have peas, runner beans and courgettes growing nicely and we also got some carrots showing their delicate greens already.

Growing/gardening is not only a way of producing food – it gives you a feel of accomplishment (there is nothing more satisfying to cook with something you have grown yourself) but also helps with your mental state. Being out on the fresh air, getting your hands dirty (this part is mostly left to Mr T who is very happy – so it works) but also giving your self a break from the news and worries.

Cork Food Policy Council is seeing the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to build a sustainable local food system and is working closely with other European cities researching the impact of this crisis and how to keep the positive changes alive and ensuring a fairer local food supply chain.

Keep cooking and baking my lovelies!

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message