Grow it Yourself and boost your health and eco credentials
THE Grow it Yourself campaign received a huge boost recently when the group founded to promote this healthy activity won this year's Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award along with a cheque for €200,000.
Grow it Yourself (GIY) aims to transform the nation's wellbeing, strengthen communities and protect the environment by helping people to grow their own food.
Michael Kelly, who co-founded the organisation, said: "More and more research shows that growing your own food is fantastic for your physical, mental and emotional health. You're eating the healthiest food, getting exercise out in the fresh air, and when you grow as part of a GIY group there is the added advantage of the incredible camaraderie you get from being part of a community."
Mr Kelly also called on the Government to put food growing on the school curriculum, although many schools already have their own gardens to introduce their children to this healthy, fun activity.
I have always tried to produce my own food at home as, like most farmers, I was brought up on the concept that purchasing anything from a shop that one could grow or make oneself was a gross extravagance.
My latest project is to establish an orchard, and having decided on the best site for providing shelter and sun, I headed off to visit the English family's fruit nursery in Co Wexford.
Tom English is the third generation of his family to produce fruit trees for the wholesale and retail markets, and his father Paddy, while now semi-retired, still assists with the orders and day-to-day affairs. Tom's son Ross, although only four, is already showing a keen interest and helps out during time off from school.
Tom's grandfather set up the business in the 1940s, initially growing soft fruit and then expanding into the propagation of fruit trees.