Monday, July 22, 2013

A GROW Headquarters, where people will come to grow, cook and eat homegrown food, is in the pipeline for Waterford. The idea is the brainchild of Grow it Yourself (GIY), which was set up in Waterford in 2008 and has grown to include 50,000 members nationwide.

GROW HQ will be a partnership between GIY and Waterford City Council, which, subject to the planning process and the approval of the elected members, proposes to provide a three-acre site for the centre on the outer ring road at the Ardkeen hospital roundabout. It will include a grow/cook training centre, home grown food cafe and shop, and urban food garden. The garden will be designed by award-winning local designer Ger Mullen.

The objectives of GROW HQ are to create a broader understanding and empathy for food, where it comes from and how it’s produced. It also aims to increase the number of people growing their own food and to create an internationally replicable model for sustainable food in an urban setting.

The project is expected to cost on the region of €1m and a major fundraising drive will take place over the next six to eight months.

Michael Kelly, founder of GIY, told the Wateford News & Star that he is delighted at the expansion of GIY, which started with just 100 members in Waterford. He said it is important that the HQ is based where GIY all began.

“Waterford is the soul of the movement and to back that with bricks and mortar is really important. I think it will be good for the city, it’s not necessarily a big jobs story, although there will be a number of people employed, but hopefully it will impact on the wellbeing of generations of people who will be driving or walking past and see food being grown in an urban environment. It might make them think differently about the food chain and the type of food they consume. Hopefully it will be a longterm legacy.”

A public information meeting on the new venture is set to take place on July 22 in the Woodlands Hotel at 8pm. The information evening will be a chance for local residents and other interested parties to come along and hear more about the project from GIY founder Michael Kelly and the Grow HQ team. The event is free and open to all.

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