There was a warm welcome for news this week that a new sustainable food project involving over 250 local families will receive a major boost thanks to Ireland’s largest organics recycling firm.
Natural World Products (NWP), processes household food and garden waste from local authorities across Northern Ireland – including Derry City and Strabane District Council – converting it to organic, peat-free compost. The company has agreed to support the ‘I Can Grow’ project by donating all the compost needed to support the initiative.
The project is 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 Conservation Volunteers and University College Cork.
Welcoming the news, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, said: “The I Can Grow project is a fantastic initiative for anyone keen to reduce their carbon footprint and do their bit for the local environment. Council is strongly focused on the creation of a circular economy so we can convert waste into a valuable environmental resource that can be utilised to develop more sustainable approaches to food production and the planting of our green spaces.
“I want to thank Natural World Products for supporting this scheme alongside our partners in the Community Foundation, The Conservation Volunteers and University College Cork. This collective approach makes the introduction of sustainable environmental practices much more achievable. The response from local people has been phenomenal and a real indication that we are all thinking more about the environment and the wide-ranging benefits of making small lifestyle changes that will improve the health and wellbeing of everyone.”
NWP Chief Executive Colm Warren, a native of Derry City, said: “Supporting community projects is critical to the ethos of this business and is one of the most rewarding parts of our work. This initiative is one of the larger scale community schemes we are currently involved in.
“It’s clear there is a huge appetite from people in the Derry and Strabane area to not only gain a better understanding and appreciation of how to grow their own produce but to better understand what happens to their household food and garden waste when it is discarded via their Brown Bins.
“It is incredibly fitting that the very compost the families will use in the ‘I Can Grow’ project has been made using discarded household organics from within their own locality, perfectly representing a truly local circular economy in action.”
Families participating in the project that will run over two growing seasons, will receive mentoring from the Council’s horticulturalist and a team of conservation volunteers.
Starting a Wider Conversation
Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Development Officer at the Community Foundation said: “We want this project to start a wider conversation around the sustainability of our food and educate local people about where our food comes from, how it’s grown and how its carbon footprint contributes to climate change. We originally opened the project to accommodate one hundred families. The fact that we have now over 250 families signed up highlights the demand for projects like this, the willingness of individuals to ignite change, making those steps to become more sustainable and work towards tackling climate change.
“Not only does growing your own food help the climate, but there are also lots of health benefits too. Taking time to sow seeds, nurture and eat fruit and vegetables is so good for our mental and physical wellbeing.”
NWP processes over 200 thousand tonnes of food and garden waste annually, which is converted into high quality organic compost used by councils, agri-growers, and the horticultural sector across Northern Ireland and further afield.
Mayor Pleased to see Public Shopping Local on Visits to Businesses
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, visited some local businesses across the district this week to speak with business owners and staff about moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Tierney said he was happy to speak directly with the businesses in Strabane and Castlederg about the challenges they have faced and the pathway moving forward, as well as hearing about the stringent measures in place to prioritise customer confidence and safety.
“I was glad to meet with some of the local businesses across our district this week and hear more about the positive steps forward now that many of those businesses have reopened or are preparing for a scheduled reopening in the coming weeks.
“It was fantastic to see lots of people supporting those businesses while I was out and about and to see that all of the businesses have measures in place – such as social distancing, hand sanitizer, and limiting customer numbers at any given time – to instil confidence in all members of the public that they can support local and be assured that everything is in place to protect both themselves and staff,” said Mayor Tierney.
Business Revitalisation and Recovery
“I can fully appreciate how much of a challenge the past year has been for our businesses across a wide range of sectors, and I look forward to the weeks ahead when we hope to see more of those sectors reopening and returning to a more normal operation of business.
“Once again I would just like to encourage everyone to support local across the district as much as you can.”
Local businesses who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 are being invited to take part in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s recovery campaign which will focus on promoting the shop local message and supporting local businesses within the district.
Businesses who have faced challenges over the past year as a result of the pandemic can make contact via Council’s shop local website to express an interest in becoming part of the campaign by 14th May 2021.
The campaign is being organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with funding through the Department of Communities’ Business Revitalisation and Recovery Programme.
Mural to Mark Farren Unveiled at Brandywell
Derry City and Strabane District Council have unveiled a mural to former Derry City player Mark Farren at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The mural, which was painted by local company Peaball Creatives, was unveiled to Mark’s parents Michael and Kathleen, and his aunt Brigid. Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Cllr Brian Tierney was in attendance, alongside Derry City FC Chairman Philip O’Doherty and Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins.
The mural has been placed on the tunnel of the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in the stand which has also been named after Mark, who played for Derry City from 2003 to 2012 and made 209 appearances for the Candystripes.
A Positive Legacy
Mark tragically passed away in 2016 aged 33 after a brave battle with cancer, and Mayor Brian Tierney said Council were happy to pay tribute to someone who had such a positive legacy in the city.
“I am truly honoured both as Mayor of this city and district and as a lifelong Derry City fan to attend the official unveiling of the mural of Mark which now forms part of the Mark Farren Stand.
“We know that Mark’s story and his legacy will be spoken about for many years to come, and we hope that this mural will be a fitting tribute to the role that he played in the football history of Derry and celebrate the joy that he gave to so many football fans here in the city.
“Mark’s family continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of us all.”
Philip O’Doherty, Derry City FC Chairman, added: “Mark will always be a huge part of the history of Derry City Football Club, and we are happy to join Council in celebrating his life.
“Mark was more than just a player here. He has left a real legacy at the club and it is fitting that his image will greet the players every time they take the field.
“We are delighted that Council have also kept Mark’s memory alive both with the stand named after him, and this fantastic mural.”