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Climate action vision for Derry/Londonderry being made reality thanks to National Lottery funding

National Lottery funding is sowing seeds of change in the North West by supporting people to tackle climate change hands-on by growing their own food and learning about how their food choices affect the environment.

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded £200,000 to The Community Foundation NI’s Acorn Farm Project, through the Climate Action Fund. This is the first announcement from the ten-year £100 million Fund set up to help communities throughout the UK reduce their carbon footprint and show what is possible when people take the lead in tackling climate change.

The first stage in the Acorn Farm project involves recruiting 100 families across the Derry and Strabane areas, who will be given everything they need to grow food at home, learning from horticultural experts to begin the creation of a more sustainable food system throughout the city. Research into the local food system is also being carried out and the longer-term vision is to create an innovation hub for sustainable food production in St Columb’s Park.

Shauna Kelpie, Fund Officer from Acorn Farm Project yesterday said: 

“We’re delighted to receive support from The National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund for this exciting and truly collaborative project. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become more aware of how important a sustainable food supply is. Our focus is starting a wider conversation on issues and educating local people about their food choices. Take the tomato in your sandwich, this has been imported from another country, but by growing your own at home you get what you need and help reduce the carbon miles of its travel and in turn improve the quality of the air we breathe. Small things together can make a big difference.”

“Thank you to National Lottery players for making this funding possible, it is helping create a new movement of people who are more informed about their impact on climate change and developing a new food strategy for the region.”

Local mum Hayley Donan and her family have been growing their own veg throughout lockdown. She yesterday said:

“It’s not only great for the kids and I to have our own food supply, but it also looks wonderful growing in the garden, the strawberries have been great this year.

“We just love getting out in the fresh air, weeding together and seeing what we produce, all while helping the climate and I am delighted that this money has been awarded to Derry and Strabane, as more of this is needed in the area.”

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