In partnership with Healthy Ireland and Libraries Ireland, GIY recently announced the launch of ‘Grow it Forward’. Through this initiative, 50,000 free food growing kits will be given away, with participants asked to use the kits to share the experience with ten people, enabling half a million people across Ireland to enjoy the wide range of benefits that come from growing food at home. Budding GIY’ers are invited to claim a Grow it Forward pack at giy.ie/growitforward or by contacting their local library, as all 330 branches nationwide are helping to drive the effort. As part of the Government’s Keep Well programme, this campaign is designed to help the nation eat well by inspiring and supporting people to grow some of their own food at home while connecting with friends and family to join them.
Each food growing pack includes seeds for beetroot, carrots, salad leaves, peas and tomatoes; a guide to help grow them and a postcard and gift tags to help share them. Those who sign up will also receive regular e-mails with growing support, video clips and ideas for how to ‘grow it forward’ by passing on seeds, seedlings or produce in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Speaking at the campaign launch, Michael Kelly, Founder of GIY said, “The pandemic has seen a record number of people turn to growing their own food and discovering the joy and pride that brings. The process of seeing a seed turn into a seedling and eventually food you can eat is full of magic and no shortage of optimism. Grow it Forward is all about sharing that feeling as far and wide as possible at a time when we need it most. That’s why we’re inviting people to get free seeds and do good deeds.”
Speaking in support of the campaign, Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health and Wellbeing said, “During these challenging times, it is vital that we do everything we can to look after our wellbeing. Right now there is a great need for positive, outdoor activities and creativity in how we stay connected to one another. Evidence suggests that being out in nature, spending time in green space or growing some plants at home can help lift our mood and have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. I would like to congratulate GIY for this Grow it Forward project as part of Healthy Ireland’s Keep Well campaign – this simple idea can really bring great joy, foster wellbeing and can also help revive community spirit. I encourage everyone to get involved.”
On behalf of local authorities and libraries, Colette Byrne, Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council said, “Local authorities and libraries are delighted to partner with GIY on the GROW It Forward programme. As the days brighten all of us are looking for things to do and what better way than growing your own healthy and nutritious food from seed? When you sign up, you’re not just getting seeds, you’re getting a whole programme of support and the opportunity to share your new knowledge along with seedlings, plants and produce with friends and family. This could be a lovely intergenerational project where grandparents share seedlings with grandchildren and keep in touch and share photos as their vegetables grow. Library staff will be available to support and guide you through your growing journey so contact your local library today to sign up and get started. You don’t have to be a library member but this is a great chance to join because as well as GIY’s adults and children’s books available as e-books, you’ll have access to thousands of gardening and cookery books and magazines so you can continue to develop your new hobby.”
Calling on people of all ages to join the campaign, GIY’s Director of Development Karen O’ Donohoe added, “We encourage everyone to take part regardless of your experience in growing or the space you have to grow. Packs will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and we will then teach people how to grow, whether on a windowsill or a large garden. We will also show a wide range of ways to share seeds, small seedlings, plants in pots or the produce at harvest time, to make sure your Grow it Forward experience is as easy as can be.”
Register for a Grow it Forward pack while supplies last at www.giy.ie/growitforward or contact your local library.