Monday, 16 September 2013


Once upon a time a man called Mick was tired of poor food choice at his local supermarket, imports of highly-processed and unseasonal produce. One day Mick discovered some garlic he was about to buy in his local supermarket had been imported 10,000 miles from China. He quickly resolved to grow his own magic beans (garlic). However he quickly realised that he was seriously lacking in skills and growing knowledge and needed to hook up with other Beanstalk growers to learn more. So in 2009, GIY, Grow it Yourself (the Beanstalk) was founded by Michael Kelly with the very first meeting in Waterford, it grew and spread quickly throughout Ireland. It grew into a giant beanstalk and through people coming together in groups to support each other and share tips, expertise and encouragement a Golden egg (knowledge) was realised. The Beanstalk helps reach the Golden egg through GIY programmes, events and projects to inspire and support people who want to learn about and grow their own food. The Beanstalk journey to the Golden egg is not always a straight one, with the Giant (Large Companies control of food production) limiting food choice and food misguidance through marketing and advertising, people have lost their way!

The beginning.

So, 5 years on from the first meeting in Waterford, GIY has grown in to an international movement of up to 50,000 people who grow their own food in Ireland, the UK and Australia. This past weekend there was a two day celebration in Waterford of all things Grow it Yourself, the GIY Gathering 2013.

The GIY Gathering brought together some of the world’s leading food growing advocates, experts and writers for two days of very inspiring and practical debate, discussion, talks and workshops. Speakers included Foodopoly author Wenonah Hauter, ‘no-dig’ guru Charles Dowding, BBC presenter Alys Fowler, Steven Lamb (River Cottage), Mark Diacono (Otter Farm), author Joy Larkcom, Darina Allen and many more.

The theme of this year’s GIY Gathering was “Food Empathy”, that is, the deeper understanding of food, where it comes from, how it is produced, and the time and effort required, a deeper understanding of food that arises when people grow some of their own food.

We also had discussions on Does Ireland need GM? and Can Urban Food Growing save the World? Both very thought provoking. Talks on Fermentation, Growing happiness, biodiversity and well being, The new Kitchen Garden, Growing food for babies and toddlers, Permaculture, River Cottage - A History of Food Empathy, Extreme Greens, Stop Food waste, Starting a Supper Club, The Urban Farm and many, many more, something for everyone!

So whether you’re a complete novice or growing your own for years, or just love exploring where your food comes from, GIY is YOUR movement and the GIY Gathering is your annual chance to come together with like-minded people. So grow some of your own food! Sow seeds and harvest change. For a healthy, happy world, where people grow some of their food, GIY will inspire & inform you.

For more information and access to the “Beanstalk” and the “Golden egg” please see

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