5 July 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Energia and GIY have been getting Ireland growing with the distribution of 1,000 free GROWBoxes to homes nationwide during lockdown. Now they have announced the next round of prizes in the Get Ireland Growing initiative, with €10,000 worth of food growing kits to give away to budding growers across the country, regardless of their experience or skill level.
Following unprecedented demand in the first phase of the initiative, the Energia Get Ireland Growing team have created a Community GROWBox to bring the joy of food growing to hundreds of people in one go. A bespoke ‘seed library’, each filled with the contents of the Community GROWBox will be popping up in communities across the country. 100 packs of vegetable, herb and wildflower seeds will be freely available to interested growers and they are also encouraged to return seeds they don’t use, along with others of their own that would otherwise go to waste. It is hoped that each Community GROWBox will enable several hundred people to grow their own and in addition provide more food for pollinators this summer.
The Energia Get Ireland Growing team are now calling out to anyone across the country with a passion for food growing who would be interested in hosting a Community GROWBox to apply now (from June 30th) at www.getirelandgrowing.ie The very first seed library is being set up in Waterford City for the staff of University Hospital Waterford and will be managed by Nurse Maria Curtin. She has been encouraging her colleagues to get growing this summer as a positive distraction and a morale-boosting challenge, which has sprawled to include friends of friends from neighbouring counties.
Each winner will have the specially made ‘seed library’ delivered to their door, and it is hoped that they will place this on a wall outside of their home, inside an apartment building or install it in a local school, club or workplace – any location where they can easily share the GIY journey with friends and neighbours who may just need a little encouragement.
Founder of GIY Mick Kelly said, “We have been amazed at how big a role food growing has played to keep people happy and healthy throughout the lockdown. Growers across the country have been sharing seeds, knowledge and support like never before and the Community GROWBox is another way to support this movement throughout the summer months, the most enjoyable time of year to get growing.”
The winners of the Community GROWBoxes will be announced weekly between July 6th and August 21st on social media @EnergiaGIG. In addition to the Community GROWBoxes, a number of other prizes will be given away on social channels and the grand prize of a community garden worth €3,000 will be awarded to the most inspiring community of growers at the end of the summer.
Energia’s Marketing Acquisition and Sponsorship Manager, Amy O’ Shaughnessy said: “The response to the first phase of the campaign showed us just how many people are motivated to live more sustainably. With such high demand for GROWBoxes, we’re hoping that this next phase of Energia Get Ireland Growing will give even more people the opportunity to get involved. We want to support people to continue this journey as individuals as well as spreading the joy of growing to their wider families, friends and local communities bringing the fun and wellbeing benefits to as many people as possible this summer.”
Energia Get Ireland Growing was first launched in 2016 to promote community food growing projects nationwide. Through this initiative, Energia has supported 257 community groups with grants totalling €220,000. The recipients include schools, NGOs and Not for Profits, community gardens and allotment groups, GIY groups, hospitals, crèches, direct provision centres and men’s sheds all across the country. This summer 1,000 GROWBoxes have already been distributed to homes across Ireland to encourage lots of brand new growers to live more sustainably at home.
For further details see, www.getirelandgrowing.ie to register and enter the draw for your free Community GROWBox. Share your food growing success pictures across social using #GetIrelandGrowing, and follow the Get Ireland Growing campaign through @EnergiaGIG on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
To register and enter the draw for your free Community GROWBox see: www.getirelandgrowing.ie