As the caretakers of the Oliver Bond Street Community Garden, we are asking for accountability for the lock - that appeared on the Garden gate overnight - to be removed to allow Tony Lowth and the Gardeners full access and management, once again, to the Organic Garden plot that we have been maintaining.
Why is this important?
In December 2017, with the lead up to Christmas, Tony Lowth and the Gardeners arrived one day to find that the Garden gate had been arbitrarily chained up to prevent us access to a space that we diligently maintain. This act was done with zero forewarning, communication, and ultimately any level of human respect or considerations toward the Caretakers of the Garden. This lack of communication, empathy, and essentially acts of adult bullying, hit Tony particularly hard over Christmas - where he became ill with Shingles from the stress of the situation.
The slogan of our Community Garden is "Grow Me" to highlight the concept of "no-dig organic gardening" and "growing" positive social economy - by specifically focusing on soil and compost production, by using local waste around Dublin to "grow" new soil. We source our "soil food" through local businesses which helps them to reduce unnecessary bulk waste; minimizing city rubbish collection output. For instance, we collect coffee grinds from local businesses, leaves and grass cuttings from parks and streets, wood chip and other material from local stables, etc. The Garden essentially acts as a hub for this "waste" by transforming it into incredibly fertile soil - which needs to be maintained daily through physical labour to optimize its effectiveness.
Tony Lowth, the founder of the Garden space, has been a pillar to the community by transforming a once neglected space FULL with cans and rubbish, into an amazing plot of green. This space is now home to an array of organic vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees, wildlife, and to the people that pass through.
Speaking as a Volunteer Gardener, this space has offered me an opportunity to learn planting and composting wisdom directly from Tony which has been invaluable to me. I have further benefited from being in nature which has been extremely beneficial to my well-being and mental health. And the Garden has allowed me to feel a connection to a community which has inspired me on so many other levels. Going to the garden twice a week was the best part of my week.
The purpose and benefit of a Community style Garden, is that it weaves all walks of life together to express, inspire, grow, learn, and connect in an open space. These are all concepts that a school - or any form of creative institution, should be promoting at grassroots level, not ostracizing with a lock.