Your quick brief on GIY – A global food growing movement
What is GIY all about?
There’s no need to be an expert on growing food to get started with raising your first tomato plant as long as you surround yourself with some experts. GIY, short for Grow it Yourself is a movement for everyone who wants to learn or exchange knowledge about growing vegetables, fruits or herbs. At its heart are GIY groups; regular meetups where people encourage each other to give food growing a try.
7 ways GIY changes your life
- You meet lovely new people who share your passion
- You feel more connected to your food. GIY calls that “Food empathy”
- You will see the plastic packaged supermarket garlic from Spain with new eyes
- Your kids start asking you to cook them broccoli
- You use growing as a way to destress and gain new strength for your daily grind
- Over time you will reduce your carbon footprint
- … and the carbon footprint of your community
Where do you find GIY Groups?
Grow It Yourself has been started in Ireland, so – not surprisingly – most of GIY’s groups and activities have been happening in Ireland. But the concept can be taken anywhere, where you find people who want to grow their own food or who want to learn to grow their own food.
- Number of Growers: 150,000
- Total number of groups: 618
- Countries: Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, USA, Germany
- New GIY starters in 2016: 83
- New GIY starters in 2017: 481
8 things people do at GIY
GIY groups start with a few people meeting up to nerd out about the most tasty type of potato you can grow, or natural fertilisers are most effective. But over time, there are many more ways people connect around the idea of spreading more love for the home-grown and contributing to the whole community. That’s the magic of GIY.
- Meet regularly in GIY groups to exchange knowledge
2. Start allotments and community gardens
3. Swap plants or seeds
4. Teach kids to grow in school gardens
5. Host big community feasts with home-grown food
6. Set up urban gardens or do Guerilla Gardening
7. Sell home-grown food at Cottage Markets
8. Grow peas and more on the desk with GIY @Work
— SAP Ireland (@SAPIreland) May 3, 2017
Good reasons to start
Here are some things our GIY starters say about what they are trying to achieve with their new GIY groups and why they love growing food.
We want to start a group around horticulture, planting, growing and harvesting that will be inclusive of everyone, new communities, older persons, those with a disability, young people, those in recovery and anyone with an interest. This group will encourage people to come together, learn about growing and each other and use the harvest.
We’re trying to make our village the best place it can be to live. We want to use the green space we have to run projects to benefit the whole community.
We have an established group where asylum seekers grow vegetables in a polytunnel and raised outdoor beds. This gives opportunity for integration, exercise, education and therapy.
I am a passionate believer in sustainability and believe being able to feed ourselves independently is a necessary skill for all to achieve.
I work for a transitional house for men who have experienced homelessness. We started a garden project to offer opportunities to the men living in the house.
I want to grow food together to get people actively happy.
More Ideas like GIY
- Slow Food – Connects everyone who wants healthy, good, fair food through different activities and networks.
- Incredible Edible Network – Brings food into the centre of towns for citizens to harvest and use.
- Crowdfarming – Having all the food growers of a town contribute to one big meal.
- Social Hops – Crowdfarming with the goal of brewing (and consuming) a community beer together.
- Social Farming – Working and growing together on a farm as a treatment for better mental health.
- Gemüseackerdemie.de – A German award-winning social enterprise dedicated to teaching kids where our food comes from.
Ideas that can grow together with GIY
- Men’s Sheds – Sheds that are lucky enough to have an outside area are predestined to set up a garden. In Dublin’s Bridgefoot Park, the Men’s Shed just started growing together at the allotment.
- Street Feast & Welcome Dinners – Who would be more suited to bring people together around eating food together than a group of people that grows food. Just invite some more neighbours and you’ll have a Street Feast or a Welcome Dinner.
- Popup-Museum – Why not come up with an idea to get more people excited about growing food by setting up a one-day exhibition around the topic in a pop-up museum. How about “The museum of funny looking vegetables”?
If you want to dig deeper into the GIY world you can of course check out the GIY website, follow them on Facebook, and you will find tonnes of information about their impact in their Annual report 2016.