Get together with people in your community and share the joy of growing your own food.

5 Step Guide to



GIY "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

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist


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:

  • A more detailed step by step guide to getting started.
  • Being at the end of the phone at any time to talk about starting/running your group, we’ll come visit if we can!
  • Providing a range of tools and resources to keep your group thriving via the Local Champions document store.
  • Connecting you with other local champions and mentors.
  • Promoting your Group to the GIY network in our online newsletter and and in social media.

Get help

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.


  • The Marketing Guru - does advertising and PR.
  • The Money Person - counts the money and takes responsibility for fundraising.
  • The Techie - updates your group page, social media, email 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.


  • Leave enough time to prepare for the event and to promote it as widely as possible.
  • Think about the seasonality – spring and autumn tend to work well to launch a group, whereas summer does not.
  • Be consistent - Pick a day of the week that is likely to work in your community e.g. the last Wednesday of the month.



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.

  • Use social media tools such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to communicate and spread the word locally.
  • Connect with other voluntary and community groups in your community - don't be afraid to go and meet these groups, tell them what you're planning and why you're excited about it.
  • Get on the local radio and send emails to local papers for their local notice section. They should be interested and will be particularly effective in getting the word out.

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:

  • Introduce yourself and GIY and why you think it'll benefit your community.
  • Have fun activities (e.g. seed swap or plant swap).
  • Have a speaker (a local well-known celeb will pull in the crowds).
  • PODs session - get them into groups to talk aout what they'd like to learn.
  • Thank them and ensure you get contact details.

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.

Sample Agenda

  • Welcome - Explain important things about the venue (where the restrooms are), ask for permission to take and share photos of people if you have a photographer.
  • Circulate attendance sheet for contact details, including cell phone number and email addresses.
  • Show the GIY video.
  • Explain the purpose of GIY and tell your own story of why you got excited about the idea. Give others a chance to share their stories.
  • Group breakout session (around 20 minutes).
  • Collect ideas from groups.
  • Tell everyone about the next meeting and how to engage with the group in the meantime. Ask people about their preferred ways to stay in touch.
  • Say thank you and invite everyone to stay longer, continue talking and get to know each other.