Gardening Magazine

What Does GIY Stand for ?

By Danielcarruthers
by Mark Diacono

I’d like to invite you to come to the UK launch of GIY in July. It will, I promise, be far more than just a knowledge-sharing extravaganza full of men with ill-advised facial hair.
I know this because last September I went to Waterford for the fourth GIY Gathering. It was a remarkable weekend, and not just because of the whiskey and the music. If you’re not familiar with GIY, allow me to make the introduction. GIY (Grow It Yourself) is a young organisation, only started in 2009, yet it has already inspired over 50000 people to become GIYers, within a network of 800 or so food groups and projects. These groups form part of a national and international network that produces a huge resource of knowledge and experience-sharing but equally importantly it offers a platform for action and a voice in the food world. This makes GIY very different to any other organisation dealing with growing food.

screengrab of GIY homepageIn its few short years of life, GIY has created a global presence. Those at the Waterford Gathering included Roger Doiron, the man who ‘encouraged’ the Obamas to plant an edible garden at the White House; Pete Russell, who kicked off the OOOBY movement in New Zealand; Darina Allen from Ballymaloe; Paul Clarke the man behind Incredible Edible and Pop-Up Farm; Alys Fowler; Joy Larkcom, without whom, amongst other things, we’d be eating all kinds of duller salads; and Ella McSweeney.

There is no distinction between gardeners and cooks, nor between horticulturalists and those setting up global food networks – it is an assumption that if you do something connected with food then you are in the Food World. You are part of the debate, part of the future of how we feed ourselves. Food is treated as a plot to plate thing, indivisible. I like that.
That weekend at last September’s Gathering included everything from making sauerkraut to global schools food networks. It revived my end of season enthusiasm and made me wish I could move to the Emerald Isle to play a bigger part in GIY. Luckily for those of us on this side of the Irish Sea, GIY is spreading its wings our way.
The UK needs an organisation that welcomes and encourages new growers and gardeners, that draws in anyone interested or involved in food, that demands a voice and takes action in the move towards a better food future. And GIY is it.
So, I know it’s summer, it’s a Saturday and you may well like to reserve the option to be idle if fortune has the sun shining, but let me encourage you anyway, by the promised of two things: a fine day dedicated to every aspect of growing food and I shall make you a cocktail.

Join in

Where ? The inaugural GIY UK Gathering takes place at Birmingham University.
When ? Saturday 20th July 2013.
Find out more by visiting the GIY website.

Mark Diacono smiles for a photographMark Diacono spends most of his time eating, growing, writing and talking about food. His smallholding, Otter Farm, is home to unusual and forgotten foods along with the best of the more familiar.

Visit the Otter Farm Blog.

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