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Thoughts from June 2014

The innocent and GIY Sow & Grow

This year for the third year we teamed up with GIY Ireland to get children all over Ireland sowing and growing their own seeds in the classroom, to show just how easy it is to grow your own plants and vegetables. Teachers and school children from all over the country got involved and got their hands dirty with a bit of gardening fun. This year over 20,000 kids around Ireland were growing their own in their classrooms.

Hundreds of schools signed up for a free growing pack which included all they needed to grow in their classrooms (cups, seeds, soil and growing guides). We had three top prizes up for grabs:

1st prize: The winning school will win a trip the Bloom gardening festival in May, along with €500 worth of gardening equipment and one year’s mentorship from a GIY gardener in their area. The winning class will have their grand prize presented by the home cook and food writer Donal Skehan. To top it all off, we’ll take your class to Dublin Zoo for a tour and some tasty lunch.

2nd prize: €400 of gardening equipment/plants and a visit from one of the GIY team to give advice on spending the money wisely and make your school even greener.

3rd prize: €300 of gardening equipment/plants and a visit from one of the GIY team to advise on spending the money wisely to help your school on its way to becoming even greener.

To be in with a chance of winning, schools needed to upload a growing diary to show their fantastic growing progress. We were overwhelmed with the creative blogs from all schools, showing amazing growing, video news reports, fantastic artwork and lots of really hard work. After reading through hundreds of diaries, we picked our winners:

1st prize: Cloghans Hill NS, Tuam, Co Galway.

Cloghans Hill

2nd prize: 2nd Class, St Joseph’s Boys’ Primary School, Gorey, Co Wexford.

St Josephs

3rd prize: 5th Class, Athenry Boys’ School, Galway.

Cloghans Hill were deserving winners. The class grew cress, peas and beetroot, which were all part of the Sow & Grow pack, but also took to growing an array of other vegetables and growing diaries to track their fantastic progress.

Teacher Iseult Mangan says, The children involved loved sow and grow from day one, from taking ownership and responsibility of their little tiny seeds to caring for and protecting their growing seedlings. They get to see where the fruit and veg that they eat comes from and how easy it is to grow your own food. I would recommend each and every school get involved in sowing and growing their own school garden.” 

Cloghans Hill NS travelled up from Tuam to Bloom in the Pheonix Park to accept their prize. Food Blogger & TV Presenter, Donal Skehan, presented the Sow & Grow trophy.

innocent and GIY Sow & Grow winners

Donal Skehan says, “This project has enabled kids all over the country to get growing and learn where their food comes from, it has been a delicious and fulfilling journey for all involved!”

We want to thank all the schools and groups who got involved in this year’s Sow & Grow. Have a fantastic summer and happy growing.

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Grow your own

We’ve just finished another year of our fantastic innocent and GIY Sow & Grow. It was another great year with over 20,000 kids around Ireland growing their own in their classrooms. You can find out more about the winners here.

Michael Kelly of GIY wants to get the nation growing their own. It’s good for you and good for the planet so give it a go. Here are Michael’s top tips for getting started:

  1. Start Small.  If you’re anything like us, when you make a decision to grow your own food you will probably want to grow ALL your own food.  Fight that temptation.   No matter how fired up you are, it’s never a good idea to dig up your entire garden. Our advice to people starting off on their growing journey can be summed up in these two words: start small!  
  2. Start Easy.  Think carefully about WHAT you're going to grow.  Some vegetables are very easy to grow (like onions for example) while others require regular attention (take a bow, tomatoes).  Some veg take a long time to grow (e.g. peppers), while others are very quick growing (e.g. salad leaves, rocket, radish etc).  Think about how much space and time you have.  In a space-constrained garden or apartment balcony you probably won’t want to be growing globe artichokes (big plant, little food).  Focus instead on things that give a high return for a small amount of space, like salad leaves or herbs. What do you like to eat?  It sounds obvious but seriously, if you hate celery, you probably won't love it any more when it's home-grown.
  3. Start Growing.  The most important thing is to just get started.  Do it this weekend.  Don't worry if you make mistakes.  Food growing is a journey, as well as a destination.  Share the journey with other GIYers, and have fun.  Stick your hands in the soil.  Smile.

Get more GIY joy at www.giyinternational.org.

Sow & Grow

 

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Sow & Grow winners

This year the innocent and GIY Sow & Grow got 20,000 kids around Ireland growing their own in their classrooms. We sent out free growing packs with seeds, cups, soil and growing tips and the kids got to work. With some great prizes, the little growers had to upload growing diaries for a chance to win.

We were overwhelmed with the brilliant growing from all the schools but after reading through hundreds of fantastic growing diaries, we picked our winners:

1st prize: Cloghans Hill NS, Tuam, Co Galway. Read their diary here.

2nd prize: 2nd Class, St Joseph’s Boys’ Primary School, Gorey, Co Wexford. Read their diary here.

3rd prize: 5th Class, Athenry Boys’ School, Galway. Read their diary here.

Last week Cloghans Hill NS travelled up from Tuam to Bloom in the Pheonix Park to accept their prize. Food Blogger & TV Presenter, Donal Skehan, presented the Sow & Grow trophy.

innocent and GIY Sow & Grow winners

Even The President popped over to say hello.

innocent and GIY Sow & Grow

After the excitement of Bloom, the school headed off to the Zoo for lunch and some animal spotting. Cloghans Hill also receive €500 worth of gardening equipment and one year’s mentorship from a GIY gardener in their area.

A huge thank you to all who took part in this year’s innocent and GIY Sow & Grow. Happy growing. 

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