Eco Tribes: Herbal Meadows

November 14, 2014

The Eco Tribes projects is an annual challenge whereby primary schools work as gangs of guerrilla gardeners transforming neglected areas of land within their local communities. Every year a different planting theme is chosen to inspire biodiversity and ecological gardening methods. The cultivation theme for 2014 was Herbal Meadows.

Each primary schools selects a unique name and symbolic tag to brand their tribe. The name of each guerrilla gardening group must be of an Irish tree, wild flower, plant or herb (i.e. The Blackthorns or The Honeysuckles). The primary schools work in close collaboration with local volunteers, school teachers and family members to promote biodiversity and landscape sustainability.

The highlight of the project is the public event organised by each school, which can take the form of a parade, outdoor music concert, traditional market, community poetry reading, folklore presentation, historical tour, or outdoor rave. The goal of each public event is environmental education and the promotion of biodiversity within village settings. Rather than solely a conservation issue, biodiversity can be a creative assembling of flowers and herbs that reflect the unique natural and social history of each locality. Many local wild plants were traditionally used for healing purposes at both a personal and community level. In the latter case, seasonal celebrations evoked the use of specific plants for rituals pertaining to the different stages of the growing year.

A Herbal Meadow is composed of both medicinal and culinary herbs, and integrates visually into local rural communities surrounded by fields and hedgerows. The Herbal Meadow blends traditional cures, wild foods, and aesthetic features to produce a complex arrangement of beneficial plants that craft ecological habitats. The gardens also act as meeting points, and places where children have redesigned their surroundings to suit themselves.