In late 2015, we received a donation from Mr. Cyril O' Connor, a former staff member. The donation was to assist with Refugee and Asylum Seeker integration in Sligo. We linked with Diversity Sligo who had plans to develop a Polytunnel project in Globe House, the local reception Centre.A Polytunnel was erected in August 2015. It is 18 ft x 24ft and a door either end with mesh in the upper part of the door for ventilation. 8 wooden beds were ordered and the residents helped to assemble the beds. 3 days were spent filling the beds with soil and compost and then plug plants went in - spinach, kales, salads, sping onions, herbs and tomatoes. A number of other vegetables were grown from seed - Beetroot, Cabbage, scallions and spinach.3 miniture Apple trees and a grape vine have been bought to grow in the tunnel also.
Residents can sign out the key from reception and visit the tunnel to water, plant or weed.
There have been 5 cooking days where produce was used to cook African food, and also a harvesting day, where residents who had helped in the tunnel picked for themselves. There are plans for an Irish cooking day and a number of men want to do a Muslim cooking day this Spring.
Approximatley 12 residents have signed up to work in the tunnel and 8 women who cook a range of African and Asian foods with the produce. By February 2016 a planting schedule will be agreed going forward - chilli pepper, tomatoes, corn and spinach are on the list.
A support worker and one resident, Ahmed, who is from Bangladesh are doing a course on poly tunnel growing in the Organic Centre, Rossinver in Spring 2016.
All in all, residents are enjoying being involved in the project and hopefully it will continue to go from strength to strength.