"Welcome to the ChangeX GIY guide! We're delighted you're thinking about starting a GIY Group in your community. As this crisis unfolds we've seen an overwhelming interest in food growing. We want to help as many people as possible to start growing their own food and we hope you'll join us to inspire more people in your community to grow some food by launching a GIY Group or a community food growing project. Food is an area where people can take actions that have immediate sustainability and health impacts, and growing some of your own food is a simple, compelling way to develop a deeper understanding and connection with food which in GIY we call ‘food empathy’." - Michael Kelly, Founder of GIY
As a Champion you’ll need approximately 4 hours a week to start and maintain your GIY Group.
Decide to become a champion
GIY Champions are people that care about their community and believe in the tremendous potential of food growing. Although most GIY groups are run by a small steering group, it’s the champion that is the changemaker with the initial enthusiasm to get the group going. Typically champions are not expert growers, just people very interested in growing their own and passionate about the idea of coming together with other GIYers to learn and share knowledge. GIY understands how important its Champions are so tries to support them in as many ways as possible!
GIY offers lots of help and support to its local champions including:
The most successful GIY groups are a collaborative effort, where a group of people come together to start and maintain it and share diverse perspectives. So it’s far more fun if you’ve got support and can share the workload. The GIY ethos is not wild about committees, titles, chains of office and all round stuffiness – but it does make sense to have a steering group and to get people involved that can provide practical help. For example, one person does your group’s web stuff, another works on promotion, another tries to organise speakers, another organises garden visits, etc.
It’s also tremendously valuable if you can get an experienced grower to get involved in your group – they can act as a mentor to novice growers in your group and even give a talk on nights you can’t get a speaker.
The steering group can help to organise your launch event and get local interested people along. On the night of the launch you can also ask some people to join the steering group and they generally will be happy to help out.
Following the launch, it'll help for the steering group to meet regularly to plan the activities of the group. Expanding the group regularly will keep the pressure off everyone and when recruiting keep in mind the roles that need to be filled.
Find a venue & arrange insurance
A key action in getting your GIY group up and running is to get a venue for GIY meetings. Typically, GIY meetings take place once a month in a community venue and last for 1 - 2 hours.
A key principle of the GIY network is that the meetings should be free of charge if possible so it’s preferable that you get the venue free of charge.
Try to ensure that the venue is accessible for all with adequate parking.
Check whether you'll have to arrange seating in advance of each meeting
Check if the venue can provide a microphone, screen and projector - these will come in handy!
That’s not always possible but many venues are happy to provide a venue for such a good cause. If you have to pay for the venue, you might need to get donations from people coming to the meeting.
GIY Groups base themselves in libraries, town halls, community centres, hotel meeting rooms, cafes, restaurants, schools and other venues. Where you base your group is not particularly important, as long as the venue is comfortable and provides a nice environment for meetings. You don’t necessarily need facilities, although it’s handy if the venue provides a projector and screen. If teas and coffees are available to buy that makes for a more sociable meeting!
To run a GIY Group, you will need to have insurance that will cover your GIY meetings and any workshops, trips or guest speakers you may have. We have a number of insurance companies that we recommend. You will find all of their information in the downloadable resources section. Each GIY group will be dealt with on a case by case basis, depending on your needs. We suggest talking to whoever is in charge of the venue where you hold your meetings first, they may be able to add your GIY Group to their existing public liability cover. The type of insurance you will need will depend on the activities that you will be providing for your GIY Group. Please make sure to explain all of your activities to your chosen insurance company.
Insurance costs depend on the number of GIY Group members you have and the activities you have in mind. The cost for each group should range from €180 to €300 depending on the above. Having spoken to a number of insurers we estimate the premium at €250 per annum which for even a small group of just 15 people would require a contribution of €17 per annum per person. There could be an option here for some fundraising. There is a downloadable file on ChangeX that have some fundraising ideas for GIY groups.
You will not become an official GIY Group unless you have insurance. You as the coordinator will be liable.
We've also included an insurance waiver that all GIY group coordinators must get all their GIY group members (existing and new GIY Group members). This should be signed and given back to the co-ordinator for that person to officially become a GIY Group member. You can find the waiver and more info on this in the Resources Section
Prepare for the launch
Picking a date for your GIY group launch is an important step as it focuses the minds of all involved in the run up to the launch meeting. It’s also the point at which GIY groups start to feel ‘real’ for the organisers, with a real-world date to work towards. There are a couple of simple pointers in terms of when to kick off.
Once you have a venue and have picked a date you need to promote it – if you don’t promote it no one will come! Treat the launch as a powerful opportunity to reach out widely in your community. Start talking to EVERYONE on every media avenue available to you.
Launch your GIY group
A launch event is a powerful way to get a group started, creating a bit of a buzz around the idea of GIY in your community.
On the night:
After you register your group, GIY can provide you with lots of information on organising a launch event, including presentation templates and handouts, and you can even download videos to show at the launch night.