GIY and Energia are calling on the country’s budding GIY’ers to join them in the first-ever Energia Get Ireland Growing Day on June 19th 2021. The midwifery team from University Hospital in Waterford has joined the ‘Get Ireland Growing’ challenge and are encouraging as many people as possible to join in ‘Get Ireland Growing’ day on June 19th to enjoy the benefits of growing your own food.
The team from the midwifery unit have been getting growing with their ‘Green Team’ led by Nurse and midwife Maria Murtagh. Commenting on the group’s growing efforts so far Maria says, “We have 45 in our group now, from nurses to neo-natal team members to consultants, who are all hugely competitive about ‘outgrowing’ each other. As we are now in the growing season again pictures on our WhatsApp group are flying in and everyone either comments or gets upset because theirs isn’t growing as well as the next persons. It’s only just at the beginning stage this year because we’re all busy, but it’s also a great release for us all.”
Midwife Helen Patmore says, “It’s really therapeutic. You wouldn’t think it is, but when you go out it’s absolutely wonderful. Even if you don’t have a garden you can just grow in a few pots or planters.” The Midwife team are also part of an ambition to make the hospital a more sustainable place, Maria says, “There’s a big green committee in the hospital and the one we’re involved with is part of the maternity hospitals in the South and South-West group. In April all on the same day all of our green committees planted a native Irish tree at each hospital. That’s a start and now we have great hopes for more; we all work very hard and it’s very hard to get time at work, which is why when we go home then it’s just free flow, enjoying the garden and growing.”
The founder of GIY, Michael Kelly, and his co-presenter from GROW COOK EAT, Karen O’ Donohoe will be broadcasting live online from the home of GIY at GROW HQ in Waterford and they will be challenging the nation to join them in growing their own food. In May 2021 the Energia Get Ireland Growing initiative announced the giveaway of 1,000 GROWBoxes to families and communities across the country and in the lead up to Get Ireland Growing Day everyone is invited to take up the set of growing challenges on the GIY app to represent their county and stand a chance to win a range of growing prizes.
Members of the public also have the opportunity to nominate someone going above and beyond to support others to grow and be named their province’s Get Ireland Growing Champion. Whether leading a community garden project, bringing food growing into schools or simply motivating other households in the neighbourhood, Get Ireland Growing Day’s €1,000 top prizes aim to support the most passionate food growers in Ireland to develop their passion project.
Speaking about the initiative Michael Kelly says, “While this is the fifth year of the Get Ireland Growing initiative it is the first year of Get Ireland Growing Day and we are very much looking forward to getting as many people across the country all joining us online to talk about and celebrate the importance of food growing in Ireland. We are in the middle of both a climate and biodiversity crisis, and food growing is a hugely powerful way to connect with these challenges in a proactive way. Get Ireland Growing Day is designed to show that food growing is in our nature – both as a culture and through the planet’s resources that make it possible.”
Commenting on the Get Ireland Growing initiative, Marketing Acquisition & Sponsorship Manager at Energia, Amy O’Shaughnessy said: “We’re very excited for the first Energia Get Ireland Growing day and are encouraging everyone to take the challenge this year. Whether you’re a seasoned grower or just starting out, we want everyone to get involved. We’re passionate about helping create a more sustainable future in Ireland and hope to spread the joy of growing across all local communities and bring the fun and wellness benefits to as many people as possible. We look forward to all the activities planned for the day and showing that growing is in our nature.”
On the day itself, Karen and Michael will be sharing their knowledge and insights into successfully growing great food at home, showing that growing it is really not difficult. They are inviting everyone to download the free GIY app and discover 12 simple but powerful challenges to help people connect with nature through food growing. Anyone who takes part can share their photos on any social channel using #GetIrelandGrowing and be in with a chance to win spot prizes throughout the day.
Challenges range from simply sowing a seed to filling a takeaway coffee cup with soil to turn into a pot, making bug hotels that support biodiversity, and turning nettles into plant food. Instructions are provided on the app to make it easy for people of all ages and experience levels to get their hands dirty and spend quality time outdoors over the summer solstice weekend. People taking part can do so as part of their county’s team with completed challenges earning points in the all-Ireland leaderboard.
Throughout the day, Mick and Karen will be joined online by some familiar faces from the campaign and other special guests giving it a go from their own home. For more details on how to get involved see, www.getirelandgrowing.ie
Pic: Patrick Browne