Last week, we had the absolute pleasure of visiting Grow HQ in Waterford to have a wee nosy about, indulge in dinner at the Grow Cafe and then take part in the ‘Lunch On The Go’ course, run by their head chef JB.
We came away with bellies full of sumptuous food and heads full of inspirational ideas for the YDS kitchen!
“GIY is a not for profit social enterprise helping people to grow some of their own food at home, at work, at school and in the community.”
But in reality, GIY is so much more than its ground-breaking initiative. A whole enterprise has grown up around its core values of growing healthy, nutritious, sustainable food from scratch yourself, and enjoying the process of getting your own food from pots to plate.
It all started back in 2008, when a chap called Michael Kelly realised just how far some produce had to travel to make it to our shops. He wanted fresh, so he decided to grow it himself!
And thus began the GIY movement – to get as many people as possible to grow some of their own food as a way to live healthier and more sustainably
GIY now supports over 540,000 growers and 6,000 community food groups and projects across Ireland, the UK and beyond.
And at the centre of it all is Grow HQ; a little oasis tucked away in a corner of the concrete jungle of Waterford City, incorporating a cafe, bistro, gardens and shop, all of which have grown organically from the original concept.
As soon as you enter, you are hit with a feast for the senses, the lush greens of all the growth interspersed with pops of colour from the flowers, planters and the building itself.
With a footfall of over 1,500 people a week, it is easy to see why people flock here to immerse themselves in the atmosphere. Perhaps we are missing that connection with the great outdoors and getting our hands dirty?
As Grow HQ manager Claire McCabe points out,
“I think people are missing a connection with real food – how it’s produced, where it comes from, how much we should value it. And out of that lack of connection comes bad decisions about the food we put in to our bodies, and the very real-world implications of that on our health and the health of our planet.”
Grow HQ have devised a really comprehensive range of courses to carry forward that ethos. From growing and eating to cookery and wellness.
Not only to quash that misconception that growing it yourself can be difficult and time consuming, but also to share the social and therapeutic values of horticulture, for both adults and kids.
And all the courses are excellent value for money!
We highly recommend that you take the time out to go and enjoy all that Grow HQ has to offer. Soak up the friendly atmosphere, taste the delicious foods on offer, have a wander through the green areas or sign up to do a cookery course.
Take your loved ones to this little oasis of calm, and I can guarantee you will come away feeling a little bit more enriched for spending time there.
For more information on all that Grow HQ has to offer, check out their website.