A mother and son in Derry have won the My NI Climate Competition

Aine and John Kivlehan won the competition, which was decided via an online poll and they will receive a £150 National Trust voucher for their win.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 10:20 am

Aine says, “We’ve never won anything before, so this is a lovely surprise!”

The duo signed up to the National Lottery funded Acorn Farm ‘I can grow’ project this year and have been growing their own food through the programme.

The Acorn Farm gives 250 local families raised beds and seedlings and they are mentored by a horticulturist in growing their own fruit and vegetables over an 18 month period. The project is delivered by the Community Foundation NI in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers and Council.

Primary 1 teacher Aine says, “It’s incredibly satisfying eating a meal with ingredients grown in your garden. My son John really enjoys it too and we both find it’s a great way to relax.

“I’m hoping to set up a little gardening club for some local children in the coming months to pass on some of the lessons we’ve learned as part of the wonderful Acorn Farm ‘I can grow’ project. We are just so delighted to be part of this and to be given the opportunity to do something so positive for our environment.”

Aine’s 9 year old son, John, has taken a keen interest in gardening and he is now looking for more inventive and environmentally conscious ways to garden.

She says, “John really loves checking on the veg and watering the plants and I’ve enjoyed getting some tips from the horticulturalist which I’ve passed onto friends. It’s lovely being able to lift something from your back garden and bring it into the kitchen to cook for dinner.

“It has been catching too with neighbours popping over to have a look and being inspired to give growing a go themselves.

“We have to take care of our community and ‘I can grow’ is empowering us to be more self-sufficient while cutting out all the pollution involved in transporting food. We hope that it’s the start of a wider movement saving families money, helping them eat a bit healthier while caring for our environment and instilling that ethos within our children.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warkehas congratulated Aine and John on their win, “It fills me with pride to see a local family like the Kivlehans doing their bit for the environment and turning their hand to growing their own food.

“Not only is this a lovely bonding activity for families, but it saves money and helps our environment too, reducing our reliance on importing fruit and vegetables from farther afield. This helps cut carbon emissions and eases the pressures on nature.

“One of the positive things about the pandemic is how it has prompted people to connect to nature and start thinking about the journey of food and how we can become more self-sufficient and sustainable.

“I’d like to commend all those involved in these types of initiatives, particularly the team behind the Acorn Farm ‘I can grow’ project which will continue to have huge benefits for families across our District.”