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Ireland's 'Grow it Yourself' self-help food growing community coming to the UK

Rebecca Campbell

16th May, 2012

Grow It Yourself is a popular community organisation with a vision of bringing people together in a sustainable and healthier way through organic food growing. Now it has plans to launch further afield in the UK

Founded in Ireland in 2009 by Michael Kelly, Grow It Yourself (GIY) has more than 12,000 people involved in over 100 groups. In 2010 GIY launched in Australia while a national launch is set for the UK later this year. Ciaran Walsh from Grow It Yourself Ireland says the official launch will be later in the year, but the website should go live in the next six to eight weeks. The website makes it easy for people to connect with like minded individuals where they can share tips on how to grow food in a healthy and sustainable environment.

The success of the not-for-profit organisation has inspired people and communities to grow their own food, providing them with the skills to do so. While supermarkets provide the convenience of stocking produce, buyers run the risk of purchasing highly processed and unseasonal products that have been flown in thousands of miles. Not only is the food often out of season, but this way of buying produce prevents the buyer knowing what the food has gone through along the food chain before arriving in the supermarkets, and eventually on to their plates. But, by maintaining control over what people grow naturally there is no need for the use of pesticides, insecticides or fertilisers, meaning that the food produced is always fresh, healthy and free of chemicals.

To establish a foundation for the launch date in the UK, GIY publicised the event in London last November to spread the word. 'The initial thing in the UK is to try and encourage local people to start groups, so we put the word out that we'll be in the UK and that our model is available if people want to take it up,' says Walsh. People in Ireland have already come together from different towns and cities and it's hoped that it will be just as successful in the UK.

By bringing people together, Grow It Yourself, wants to help people reconnect their relationship with food. As part of GIY food growers will learn how to grow fruit and vegetables in gardens and community groups, in schools, allotments and online where they can share tips and expertise on how to grow successfully.

TAKE ACTION: Visit Grow It Yourself Ireland's website where you can find out what the organisation is doing by bringing people together to learn about how to grow herbs on their balcony to being completely self-sufficient.

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