Growing Space – Galway Food Festival Panel Discussion

Galway Food Festival Panel Discussion March 31st 12pm

Venue: The Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane, Galway

by TSG curator Martina Finn


Growing Space – Community Food and Urban Agriculture
In partnership with Galway Food Policy Council

Urban agriculture is increasingly seen as vital to the future of our cities and towns as our urban populations grow rapidly and calls continue for a more ecological and sustainable lifestyle.

Growing food as close as possible to where it’s consumed is a simple but key solution in creating a healthier, more sustainable future, minimizing the need for transport and refrigeration, while playing a key role in connecting people to nature, educating people about where their food comes from by eating locally and seasonally.

From growing herbs in pots, to more ambitious horticultural pursuits, urban farming is revitalizing not just food supply chains and disused areas, but also a greater sense of community spirit, cocreating a greener sustainable city, while putting neglected and underutilized spaces to great use.

However access to land for agroecological purposes is seen as one of the ongoing key challenges in meeting current demands, this talk explores some of the innovative community actions being taken to date in meeting the Sustainable Food challenges of our times

Chair: Eimhin David Shortt, The Growery in Birr,
Eimhin is Involved in a diverse network of community partnerships re agroecological food production, health and wellbeing, education, research and social inclusion projects in a Food Commons in Birr and in the newly formed Irish Landtrust Movement.

Brendan ‘Speedie’ Smith

-is a key environmental activist, land steward and initiator of the Terryland Forest Park and Ballinafoile Community Garden, which is also a member of the HSE supported Lets Get Galway Growing. Brendan has recently established a network of local stakeholders to propose a programme of actions to secure a National Urban Park Status for Galway ..

Eoin MacCuirc –

Cork Food Policy Council and Director of Simon Community and Foodcloud. Cork Food Policy Council seeks to influence local food policy to follow best practice in developing a healthy, sustainable, and resilient food system. Supporting new partnerships in Cork between statutory, community and voluntary groups, educational institutions and businesses to promote knowledge, skills and experience around food.

Cork Food Policy Council are an inter-agency group chaired by Colin Sage Dept Geography UCC, supported by: Healthy Cities, Health Service Executive (HSE), Cork City Council (CCC), Cork Environmental Forum (CEF), FoodCloud, Cafe Gusto, Musgraves, Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, Niche, Health Action Zone (HAZ) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).

Food is life. Growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing food together nourishes us, connects us to the earth, the beauty of nature and each other and gives us hope for the future. Cork Food Policy Council has many projects and initiatives to create an authentic food culture. Eoin will talk about some of his favourite adventures with the Cork Food Policy Council and their latest initiative the Sustainable Food Lab.


Nathalie Markiefka: Foodture
Nathalie has a background in Economics, Marketing and Landscape Design. She is active in the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and Irish landtrust movement and has a keen interest in the social and healing aspects of horticulture.

She is also part of a growing international network Access to Land, which brings together grassroots organisations from across Europe to share experiences and promote the significance of access to land for agroecological transition and generational renewal.

Andrew Douglas – UrbanFarm
URBANFARM creates projects to disseminate knowledge about urban agriculture, circular economy, food sharing & waste management.
Through participatory learning and action, URBANFARM aims to inspire people to adopt sustainable practices in their everyday lives.

Marion Kelly Dublin City Farm

Established last year, the Dublin City Farm Project is small-scale, non-profit, traditional farm set in the urban park surroundings of St Anne’s Park. The Dublin City Farm aims to function as a centre for knowledge, for teaching and for interaction between people, plants, animals and ecology. The Farm has its roots set firmly in the past with the use of traditional breeds of farm animals and old native seeds. The future of the farm extends beyond the confines of the Park to the local communities providing access to structural learning and modern environmentally sustainable practices.

Third Space Galway (est. 2013) is a participatory arts research project, with aims to bridge strands of contemporary creative practice with the socio-cultural ecology in which it operates, working towards a more equitable and sustainable future, through a trans-local and trans-disciplinary exchange of ideas and creative working methodologies.

Its work with multiple partners and stakeholders functions to promote a generative discourse, furthering conversations around regenerative agri/cultural practices, bioregionism and climate change.

It’s collaborative productions include creating interdisciplinary platforms for participatory discursive events and activist arts and environmental interventions in public space.

Most recent projects include the establishment of the Galway Canal Permaculture Trail, as well as Galway’s demonstration Edible Forest Garden in Westside Amenity Park, alongside ongoing arts and environmental projects with the Westside Youth Project and the annual panel discussions on Sustainable Community Food Systems with the Galway Food Festival