The joys and benefits of growing your own
About a decade ago, Michael Kelly (below) had an epiphany in an Irish supermarket while buying Chinese garlic. Surely it was possible to grow garlic in Ireland instead of flying it across the world? This garlic moment led to Kelly founding GIY Ireland, an acronym for grow it yourself. Since then, he and his team have been on a mission to educate people about the joys and benefits of growing your own.
In September 2016, after raising the necessary funds of more than ¤1 million, they opened a café and food education centre called Grow HQ on Dunmore Road, right across the road from Waterford Hospital and just down the road from a large supermarket.
“When we were originally planning Grow HQ,” Kelly told a gathering of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild on a recent visit, “we had wanted to be down a
All the vegetables served in the café are grown by Mee and his team. The menu is mostly organic, largely plant-based, strictly seasonal and very creative. It’s not exclusively vegetarian, with local suppliers such as TJ Crowe’s and Dunmore Fish Shop bringing the pork and fish respectively.
“Working here has pushed me to be very creative,” says Dubois. “Out of respect for the the growers and the suppliers, I use as much of the products as I can. My compost bin has never been emptier.” That sense of using every part of the produce shines bright in a delicious cup of vibrantly green and tasty radish leaf soup. There is a sweet green-onion jam that they also sell in the shop, ideal for a cheese plate or as a sandwich filler.
There are salads of red chard with Ardsallagh goat’s cheese and quiche using Jane