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News | 27 Sep 2011
In an unprecedented step President Mary McAleese has overseen the conversion to organic of the kitchen gardens at Áras an UachtaráIn, making the gardens the first and only gardens managed by the OPW in Ireland to be converted to organic production.
In a move which is sure to gladden the hearts of organic producers and supporters everywhere, President Mary McAleese thanked the Organic Trust for the significant part they played in the entire process which culminated in the awarding of organic status to the Áras Kitchen Garden.
National Co-ordinator Helen Scully was on hand to witness this momentous occasion and she stated “this is a great day for organics in general and for the Organic Trust in particular. For a President renowned for her concern for nature, the environment and the responsibilities of citizenship to choose to have the Áras Kitchen Gardens organically certified is a great vote of confidence in what are the core beliefs of the Organic Trust. Our organisation, 20 years old next year, has grown from very humble beginnings to finding ourselves here today certifying the Kitchen Gardens at Áras an Uachtaráin – a project with which we were deeply honoured to be involved”.
In her address to the gathering invited to celebrate this momentous occasion, President Mc Aleese talked of the pride she feels in serving food to visiting dignitaries and guests produced in the Áras Kitchen Gardens. She paid tribute to the gardeners and advisors for their painstaking work in meeting the exacting organic standards set by the Organic Trust Ltd. The President went on to say that she looked forward to the further growth in biodiversity of the Áras Kitchen Garden which the organic management system will encourage.
The Board of Management of the Organic Trust and the Inspectors involved in the certification process were among the audience invited to witness the unveiling of the ‘Organic Trust Certified Organic’ plaque. Board member Evan Doyle of the BrookLodge Hotel said it was a proud day for the Organic Trust to be the certification body of choice to oversee the organic certification of the Áras Kitchen Garden. Evan paid tribute to Helen Scully and the whole team for the work they had put into this project, he said “this is the finest example of the way in which our organisation operates; the Organic Trust has worked diligently and discreetly on this project behind the scenes for over 2 years and today is the first time anyone inside the organisation discussed the project publicly - what is significant about this is that the team handled this application as they do all applications - without fear or favour and with the utmost discretion”.
The sun shone and the conversation flowed on a day when every organic producer in Ireland felt a huge swell of pride in President McAleese’s decision to vindicate their beliefs in a production system which places responsible guardianship of Irish land at the forefront of its core beliefs. The overall message of organic production is that things can be better – that citizens – people – can bring about fundamental change if only they would act and this tone of optimism, energy and drive which are the cornerstones of the founders of the organic movement, was prevalent throughout this momentous occasion.