Mark Lee, who manages the family business at Tragumna Road, Skibbereen, hopes the initiative will help grow the love of gardening in young people and provide them with an alternative to social media.
‘I chose the four local national schools, as well as Skibbereen Community School, to each receive €200 worth of vegetable, herb and flower seeds because they have already shown such enthusiasm for the grow your own experience.’
In addition to the community school, the four primary schools chosen include: Abbeystrewry National School, St Patrick’s National School, St Joseph’s National School and Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shúilleabháin. St Patrick’s National School has already won the Get Involved environmental award, which is run in conjunction with Local Ireland, the regional newspaper organisation, and the project was championed throughout the competition by The Southern Star.
‘The seeds will help St Patrick’s continue the good work it is already doing, but they will also encourage the other schools to expand their garden programme,’ said Mark, who has agreed to visit all the schools during the growing season and give them the benefit of his experience.
‘It is very encouraging to see these educational facilities devote so much of their ground to the growing of fruits and vegetables and, no doubt, the gaelscoil, when it moves into its new premises, will have all the space it needs.’
Mark said he was inspired to make the gesture because he would like young people to discover the joys of gardening and, hopefully, spend less time on social media. And he said has been supported in initiative by Mr Fothergills, his seed supplier.
‘Gardening is a wonderful pastime,’ said Mark, who recalled that at the age of 13 – during his first year in secondary school – he took it into his head to grow pumpkins and sold them to the town’s three main supermarkets, making himself a tidy profit in the process.