New Food Growth Education Centre in Ardkeen

Spring is coming and it’s time to get planting! We look to GIY Ireland to give us a few ideas for how to go about growing our own grub! 

But firstly, the latest news from Ireland’s best resource for growing your own food, is the further development of the GIY GROW HQ education centre at Ardkeen, just outside Waterford City. Reports in yesterday’s Irish Examiner say the project, which will include a grow your own school, cookery school, cafe with home grown foods, orchards and planting gardens, has raised almost €1.2 million from loans, donations, government grants and crowd funding. It now needs investors to raise the remaining €200,000 to complete the project.

The centre will create jobs, while raising awareness of home-grown foods and health-related issues, among other major topics around well-being, nutrition and the cultural benefits of re-connecting with the land. GIY founder Michael Kelly has been a previous judge on our Good Food Ireland awards panel for restaurants who grow their own produce for the menus. In 2013, Michael chose Toscana Italian Restaurant in Dublin as a beacon of fresh home grown produce, supplied from the Co. Wicklow home garden of owners Dee and PJ Betuci. 

GIY’s newsletter this month says the team have already moved offices to Ardkeen, and are making the place home with furniture and paints! Sounds like things are really starting to happen. In preparation for the forthcoming growing season, we can also find out what should be happening in the garden this time of year. Whether you’re a proficient green fingered person or a total novice, there are some useful little tips for what to do in spring, including details on: pruning, netting pruned fruit bushes, liming soil, and preparing and cleaning seed tray for propagation.

There’s also info on what to sow and plant out in the coming weeks.  A valuable resource for anyone who wants to have even the smallest stab at providing their own food in the coming growing season. Gardening workshop details also available.