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GIY Ireland conference in Waterford - review.


 
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sorcha
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 28
Location: Dublin

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:31 pm    Post subject: GIY Ireland conference in Waterford - review. Reply with quote

I've been meaning to make a post about the GIY Ireland conference in Waterford a couple of weeks ago, which I was lucky enough to attend courtesy of tickets won on this lovely website. It's taken me this long, for a series of reasons which I won't go into, but I've finally got time today to write about it, as I had a really enjoyable and inspirational day.

The conference was on in the WIT campus, not too far from Waterford Crystal, outside the town. I had stayed with a friend the night before and had an early start to get there, but were greeted by DIY carrot direction arrows in the car park, starting off a day where we didn't mind being indoors on one of the hottest days of the Indian summer we've been having.

The morning sessions were all together in the main hall, with Trevor Sargent speaking about food security from an Irish perspective, Joy Larkcom speaking from her wealth of experience in growing and writing about vegetables (including introducing rocket to the British Isles!) and finished with a cooking demonstration from Clodagh McKenna that had us all salivating. Clodagh was cooking calamari and other fish recipes, using veggies supplied by members of the local GIY groups, clearly delighted to be able to talk to the people who were growing her ingredients. The overall theme of the morning was of the enthusiasm of the speakers for both growing and cooking vegetables (with Trevor helping with the cooking demo!) and the possibilities of Irish growing.



In keeping with this theme, the food at the conference was really amazing - I had a Dunmore East fish plate for lunch, followed by apple and blackberry tart. I've organised conferences myself and I know how much work goes into making sure that everyone has a full stomach, but the GIY organisers did an outstanding job. Possibly not surprising, considering the subject, but having home-made strawberry jam on Waterford 'blaas' at the break (both supplied by GIY members!) just gave a good sense of the community that has developed around the GIY groups in the area. (No photos of those, sorry, was too busy eating!)

The central atrium of the college was full of stalls selling veg-related products, including Michael and Joy's books, seedlings, seeds, raised beds and all sorts of other interesting things. I ended up with a much heavier bag than I arrived with, unsurprisingly.



The afternoon sessions were broken down into small groups, with the first 'breakout group' being organised by location, with the aim of putting together new groups around the country. For some reason, I ended up with lots of Waterford people, rather than other Dubliners, but I really did get a good sense of how the existing groups work and it gave me an excuse to get chatting to anyone with a Dublin nametag for the rest of the day. :D There were also a large number of workshops on offer, from nutrition to seed saving to permaculture. I did one on basketweaving, run by local weaver Cathy, where we made a set of willow teepees for growing beans or peas. This was great fun and ended up being a very communal activity, as well as being potentially very useful in the garden. Now, if I could just figure out a source for salley rods in suburban Dublin, I'd be flying...



We ended up with a talk from the organiser, Michael Kelly, about GIY Ireland and his aims in trying to bring the group to a bigger audience. From the feedback at the group sessions, he reckoned there should be a large number of groups starting up around the country in the coming months. We also had a closing speech from Darina Allen, passionate as always about good quality food.



In all, I had a very enjoyable day. The conference was really well run and had an air of optimism that I've really been missing in the last few months. I talked to a large number of people who were enthusiastic about vegetable growing and about sharing their knowledge, which was even more encouraging. I've since heard that a number of new groups are meeting in the next few weeks, including one in my local area, so I'm really looking forward to meeting all those people beavering away in their back garden veg patches and having some discussions in person.
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Sive
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Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed your post, Sorcha, and I hope GIY goes from strength to strength.
I visited the Bay Garden in Camolin ( Co. Wexford ) today for a "hen party"......there were some wonderful breeds of hens and ducks there....I am doing a little research on keeping hens in the hope of taking the plunge in the New Year !
The willow tepees look brilliant by the way!
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject: Re: GIY Ireland conference in Waterford - review. Reply with quote

Thanks for this review sorcha.
It's great once again to see a prize winner giving back to the Irish gardeners forum.
Interesting coloured corn on the cob in the 2nd photo. Laughing

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Bobwilliams
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 23 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your lovely synopsis of the conference sorcha. Wish I was there. Crying or Very sad I'll try to make it for the next one. I wondered about the corn myself James. Wink
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sorcha
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 29 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you all liked the post - it was such a fun day, I wanted to share, as well as recording it for myself. The eye-catching corn on the cob is called called Painted Mountain corn and was from the seed savers table (Brown Envelope Seeds, if I can plug them!).

I'm not sure how far north you are, Bob, but some people had come all the way from Donegal to it and were talking about setting up a group up there, so you could have one nearby.
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Yorky
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:38 am    Post subject: Launch of GIY Monaghan Reply with quote

A friend is launching this on Monday 30th November 2009 at 7.30pm in The Market House, Monaghan. It's a not-for-profit voluntary organisation to encourage people to grow their own food.

See www.giyireland.com for details
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forest flame
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the info yorkie
its great to see home growing becoming popular again.
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