Change the world, one GIYer at a time. That is the mantra of the GIY (Grow It Yourself) not-for -profit- organisation that wants to start a food revolution in Ireland. I am literally just after coming out of an talk where GIY CEO and founder and home growing enthusiast Micheal Kelly gave a very simple talk on growing your own fruit and vegetables at home.
Micheal started out the talk with explaining why he was compelled to start an organisation that would slowly change the eating habits of the Irish population. His inspiration came to him whilst shopping in a well known supermarket where he noticed the garlic that he was throwing into his trolley was imported from China. Seeing the origins of the garlic sparked off a series of questions and thoughts not only about its freshness, but also about environmental, economical, and health impact that imported garlic from a country on the other side of the world has, a vegetable that could easily have been imported from our European neighbours Spain, Italy or France, or indeed, using home grown produce instead? the biggest question is why? Micheal set about asking “to speak with the management” where he questioned the motivations behind the decision to stock and import Chinese garlic over local produce to which management responded with “that’s just the way it is, it’s cheaper to import it.”
The Chinese garlic incident set about a series of events that has resulted in more than 10,000 people across Ireland joining in the GIY movement. GIY believes that change begins with the decision to sow a seed. “If we can encourage enough people to grown their own vegetables we can transform the food chain and bring some common sense back into our relationship with food.”
Food imports to Ireland soared by 50pc between 2002 and 2007 and we now import €4.7bn worth — some 3.7 million tonnes in all. We also import over €1bn worth of meat and dairy products despite being a major exporter of these products ourselves. Ireland prides itself in being a serious player in the European food sector. However, when you consider that total food and drink exports are valued at around €8.1bn, it is obvious that importing €2.99bn from the UK alone puts a serious dent in those export earnings. Irish people each eat a tonne of imported food a year, despite more than half of consumers saying they are concerned about its quality.
Its time to support, and NOT undermine indigenous food producers and processors, and to do this we must change our purchasing habits and most importantly support local producers where we can. Join the GIY movement today and reconnect with your community and the environment.
GIY meetings are free and are open to people interested in growing their own. The meetings are targeted at all GIYers at all growing levels, from growing a few herbs on a balcony to complete self sufficiency. Good Health starts here!
Lets sow the seed of change together, become a member and go to a meeting in your local community today!