I felt that the foodchain was pretty much broken and we needed to do something about it.
We had this bizarre situation in Ireland where we are producing enough food to feed 7 times our population and yet we were importing so much food. One day, it struck me as I was in an Irish supermarket buying Chinese garlic, and I thought, surely it was possible to grow garlic in Ireland instead of flying it across the world? This garlic moment led to us setting up the first branch of GIY (Grow It Yourself) in Waterford. Since then, the project has grown and grown with over 500,000 growers around Ireland now. In September 2016, after raising more than €1 million, we opened a café and food education centre called Grow HQ in Waterford.
"Our whole family is eating healthier now – because the kids are involved in growing the vegetables, they don’t seem to mind eating them as much."
growers are supported each year
The Idea and the Impact
The Challenge: The way the food chain operates in Ireland has profound implications for our health, environment, and economy. Michael decided that something needed to be done to change things for the next generation.
The Solution: Michael set up GIY (Grow it Yourself), with a mission to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to grow some of their own food as a path to a healthier, happier and more sustainable life.
"It was important to know that there was this way that we could do it that didn’t rely on government grants or rattling buckets.”
Supported over 500,000 growers per year
Established a food education centre – GROW HQ
Supported over 250,000 children in 8,000 schools to grow their own food for the very first time in 2017 alone