Cloughmills to be showcased at community conference
Published: Fri, 3 Oct 2014
The multi award-winning Incredible Edible project at Cloughmills is to be showcased at our community conference next month.
The community food initiative in the village has been running for the past two years on the Old Mill site, reconnecting the community and the natural world.
It will be one of six projects that will be recognised at The Community Conference, organised by the Housing Executive, in conjunction with Supporting Communities NI.
It takes place annually and this year will be staged in The Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena on October 15th, where community groups and Housing Executive employees will come together to celebrate a year’s work.
We recently funded a project at Cloughmills which will see six young people skilled in the art of bringing mushrooms from plot to plate as part of the unique Incredible Edible Mushroom Company.
Area Manager for Causeway Mark Alexander recently paid a visit to Cloughmills to see the project, which will be brought to life thanks to a £2000 Housing Executive community grant, is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
Cultivating high end mushrooms, such as shitaki and oyster, will add to the edible landscape at the project which also houses kitchen gardens, chickens, social therapeutic horticulture projects, baking and growing courses.
Or you can buy a pig, part of a pig, or even learn how to make your own beer, all under the roof of a fair traded Mongolian yurt!
The face of the project is local man and Chairman of Cloughmills Community Association, Patrick Frew. Over the coming months, a section of land will be cleared as Patrick endeavours to source shipping containers from Belfast Harbour, one to insulate and heat for germination and another for propagation. It will all be powered by solar power and a small wind turbine to heat the container enough to get the mushrooms to grow.
Six young people will be recruited annually to oversee the business as well as undertake budget projections and selling at markets. They will use spent coffee grounds and shredded cardboard to grow the mushrooms over a 14-21 day period.
The project also hopes to initiate a ‘Feel Good about Food’ programme promoting the social and therapeutic value of becoming involved in growing and using food.
It will target those who find it difficult to participate in community life through illness, family circumstances or other reasons. There will be day and evening or ‘twilight’ gardening sessions as well as open ‘drop in’ sessions where up to 100 people will learn new skills which they can transfer to the home environment.
Environmental expertise and support is being provided by Declan Donnelly at Ballymoney Council and Liz Hanvey, Northern Ireland’s only qualified social and therapeutic horticulturalist, is also part of the project team. Funding has also been provided by Ballymoney Policing and Community Safety Partnership, The Big Lottery and the Ireland Funds.
Mark Alexander, Area Manager for Causeway said: “I was delighted to spend the morning with Patrick Frew at the Cloughmills site. The Incredible Edible project is a fantastic example of community growing and of social enterprise, which is why we chose to showcase it from Causeway region at our community conference.”