Food news: Get Ireland growing
Even though we haven't got Christmas out of the way yet, it's not too early to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. And rather than negative, soul-destroying pledges to avoid chocolate and wine, how much more positive would it be to start the year with the intention of finally getting around to growing at least some of your food yourself? For those living in urban areas, and without gardens of their own, community gardens are the way to go, and important for reasons that go far beyond the simple growing of a few carrots.
Community and voluntary organisations have until January 20 to apply for grants from GIY and Energia's 'Get Ireland Growing' fund, which has a pool of €70,000 to award to groups wanting to start or further develop a community food-growing project in their area. The fund is split across three categories, 'Sow', 'Grow' and 'Harvest' with awards ranging from €500 to €2,000, and will support a minimum of 85 community food growing groups from all across the country.
In addition to funding provided, GIY also provides additional supports and opportunities for knowledge exchange between the projects, helping the best ideas in community growing to be shared by groups throughout the country. Energia says that the initiative chimes with its commitment to sustainability, and that it is looking forward to supporting community groups to progress their visionary projects.
The fund is open to any community group, school, NGO or Not for Profit, community garden or allotment group, GIY group, hospital, crèche, direct provision centre, men's shed or any group that grows its own food, wants to grow food or promote growing food.
Over the past four years, GIY's 'Get Ireland Growing' initiative has supported over 400 community food growing projects, with €270,000 awarded to projects all across the country. Among the projects supported to date are a food growing initiative in a young persons' probation centre in Cork; the installation of food gardens at Focus Ireland and Galway Simon; an edible quayside project in Co Wexford, which has seen tomatoes growing on the railings at the New Ross quayside; a vegetable garden for asylum seekers in Clonakilty, Co Cork; a horticultural project for unemployed men in Waterford that supplies salads to restaurants; and a community garden to reduce isolation on Inishbofin island.
In need of a cure?
Ray O'Hara and Kevin Johnstone have opened a second branch of their successful Green Beards cold-pressed juice shop in Donnybrook. They recommend ginger-based shots such as the 'Rollercoaster' and 'Fireball' as the ultimate fix after a Christmas knees-up.
Old fashioned fun
The secret weapon behind the bar at Angelina's in Dublin is Marius Nitu, whose Best Mates Old Fashioned features salty-caramel syrup made in-house, Jerry Thomas bitters, cocoa beans, marzipan, charred oak flavours, butterscotch and milk chocolate finish. Seasonally delicious.