GROW HQ, a €1.45 million national food education centre which will be home to the Grow It Yourself movement, as well as a farm shop, cookery school and grow school, training gardens and home grown food cafe, will open next year on a three-acre site at Ardkeen in Waterford city.
Michael Kelly, founder of GIY, is the venture's CEO, and Dermot Carey, who has worked at Lissadell House and with chef Richard Corrigan at Virginia Park Lodge, where he grows produce for his London restaurants, has been recruited as head grower.
All but €300,000 of the funding required to get the centre up and running has been secured, and a new fundraising effort, in conjunction with Renault, launched today. The #GrowItYourSelfie campaign is part of a Dig Deep For GIY initiative which, along with a gala dinner in October and a raffle, aims to add a further €100,000 to the coffers.
Food growers are being asked to take a selfie of their gardening efforts – "celebrating the trials and tribulations of their veg growing", and share it on social media. A shortlist of images will be drawn up and the winner, who will receive a Renault Fluence Z.E. electric car worth €23,000, will be chosen by public vote. Entrants must text GIY to 57802 to donate €2 when they post their #GrowItYourSelfie photograph on their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram social media accounts, using the hashtag. The winner will be announced, and will drive off in the car, at the annual GIY Festival in Waterford on September 11th-13th.
Construction is due to start in September on the building and gardens, and GROW HQ is scheduled to open next June.
GIY began with 100 members in Waterford in 2009 and now supports more than 65,000 growers across Ireland.
Michael Kelly said,” I love sharing my GIY triumphs and tragedies on social media and can’t wait to see the GrowItYourSelfies coming in from veg patches all over Ireland.”
For further details, see GIYInternational.org/growityourselfie