Acorn Farm in Derry to bring new life to old military grounds

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee have approved the capital development proposals for the Acorn Farm growing space project at St Columb’s Park.

The plans include domes and an annex building, a glasshouse, sheds, vegetable gardens, service area, parking and access road for the urban farm.

The site of the project is on lands opposite Ebrington barracks and was previously used as a helicopter pad for the military and has recently been cleared of asphalt hardstanding, concrete bases, footings, redundant underground services and sundry items.

Chair of Council’s Planning Committee, Councillor John Boyle, welcomed the key stage in the development.

Paul Sweeney, National Lottery Community Fund Chair with Sahuna Kelpie, Shauna Kelpie, Fund Officer from Acorn Farm Project and Aine Kivlehan and her son John pictured on the sight of the Acorn Farm Project at Browning Drive.

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“The plans for the Acorn Farm project will be a significant addition to the strategic network of urban greenways throughout our city,” he said.

“The proposals will transform the derelict site formerly occupied by the Ministry of Defence into an £6.2m urban farm where people can learn how to grow their own plants and food.

“Acorn Farm will utilise the best possible growing techniques, technologies and sciences to produce food that is local, seasonal and readily available.”

The site has been clear felled to make way for the development in line with previous planning approval.

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Over 250 families in Derry and Strabane have taken the first steps towards growing their own food, with equipment provided and some expert mentoring from the Conservation Volunteers horticulturalist over the past two years through the I Can Grow Programme.

The project has brought together young and old – from children passionate about doing their bit for the environment to those who wish to pass on their experience to the next generation.