Friday, September 9, 2011

Eating, talking, learning and possibly crying

Yes I'm getting around this week, in fact, it's quite ridiculous. Just like boyfriends and busses all arriving at the same time, it's pretty much the same with food events. Even for me, five in one week is quite exceptional. After cooking for 85 people last Sunday, (including kids and dogs), the week just past saw a plethora of food events; a fabulous madness of eating, debating, learning and being wowed by what's going on in Irish food.

In reverse I'll start with the GIY Gathering which starts tomorrow in Waterford. The city has had a great food festival on throughout this week, and this Saturday and Sunday, the Grow it Yourself movement is having a huge shindig - a conference, workshop and street feast all in one.

The GIY movement has been a huge success in Ireland with all credit due to Michael Kelly who left city life, literally, to start a rural smallholding in Waterford. He got stuck in, planted seeds, grew food and as with all of us, learned a few lessons along the way. After realising that growing your own veg and keeping hens and pigs were activities being shared right across the country, Michael set up the first Grow it Yourself group in Waterford so that local people could get together, share tips, stories and probably cry a bit over what the snails were doing to their crop. Since that first group set up in 2008, Michael has established GIY communities across Ireland, with new member groups cropping up continually, providing a social and learning resource for people starting their own vegetable gardens and who want to connect with others.

The movement has been a spectacular success and tomorrow I'm delighted to be asked to speak at their conference in Waterford on the topic of "Can GIY save the world?" My talk will be about the success of urban gardens all over the world, the return to growing your own food and how to live a life less reliant on supermarkets and to be ultimately more food secure. For more info check out

For a run through of the weeks other food entertainments I'll have a few further posts up in the next few days. What's most remarkable about all the activity going on in Irish food at the moment is that it seems to be really touching people, and not just foodies. I feel in a sense that many people are reconnecting to the amazing agriculture and food producers we have in this country and finding ways in which to interact with it more. But if you still believe it's impossible to live without a weekly shop and vast amounts of imported foods, come along to my talk tomorrow, and I'll prove you wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment