For food growers and food lovers, the GIY Gathering is your annual chance to come together with like-minded people for a festival of home-grown food.
The GIY Gathering 2014 will explore the connections between soil health and human health. Throughout the weekend, over 300 people will come together in Waterford to be inspired and informed.
We are delighted to welcome some of the most influential food growers, writers, advocates and chefs to Waterford for this year’s event including Patrick Holden, Joy Larkcom, Alys Fowler, Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, Denis Cotter, Paddy Courtney, Mark Diacono and many more.
The GIY Gathering this year returns to its spiritual home at the Theatre Royal in Waterford’s Viking Triangle. The GROW strand of the main event will be in the main theatre space. The COOK strand (called the GROW HQ Kitchen) will take place in a specially constructued venue at the historic Blackfriars about 5 minutes walk from the Theatre.
Outide of this year’s main event on the Saturday and Sunday we have two very special ‘fringe’ events. Note these events are not covered by the main Gathering ticket, and are separately ticketed. These are:
Friday 12th, 6.30pm – ‘Feast Your Eyes’ - a very special screening at the Theatre Royal of the classic food movie, ‘Big Night’ with refreshments. Note this is a separately ticketed event. Tickets €12 or €9 for GIY Supporters. To buy your ticket click here
Saturday 13th, 8pm – ‘GIY Gathering Evening’ - a very special evening meal of local and seasonal produce with local craft beers. Ticket price TBC.
In addition to our normal Gathering 2014 tickets this year we have added two exciting new possibilities: Those who have joined our GIY Supporter Scheme can avail of a weekend ticket for €20. You can join our GIY Supporter Scheme and get half price entry by purchasing a GIY Supporter Plus Gathering ticket. To purchase any ticket for The Gathering 2014 please click here.
Healthy Soil, Healthy People
This year’s event will feature talks, debates and discussions over two days linked by the “Healthy Soil, Healthy People” theme.
The scientific community is catching up with what GIYers and farmers have known for millennia. If you fertilise the soil in your garden with plenty of compost or farmyard manure each winter, you end up with a healthy, nutritious soil that is teeming with microbial life. From this soil you get healthier, more nutritious food, which in a very real way can contribute to perfect health. There is an emerging interest in the nutrient cycle from Soil to Food to People.
We are only just starting to understand the connections between healthy soil and healthy people. Recent research grabbed headlines when it suggested that soil could be the new Prozac, so effective is it at improving mood and reducing depression. Meanwhile, agronomists at Washington State University observed that healthy, nutritious soil is more likely to produce nutrient-dense food, because of the nutrient ‘flow’ that results from the cooperation between microbial life and the plant’s roots.
If soil and health are so deeply connected, what are the implications of our current approach to soil?
• According to the FAO, more than 90% of our food comes from our soils, yet thanks to unsustainable production practices globally, we are losing 10 million hectares of fertile soil each year.
• Commercial agriculture uses chemical interventions (pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers) that kill the microbial life so central to soil health. If Living Soil really is the foundation of health, what is the impact of commercial agriculture on our health?
• With 5 billion people living in cities in the next 20 years, contact with (and understanding of) soil is becoming rarer. What are the implications of our alienation from the soil that is the foundation of life?
The GIY Gathering coincides with the Waterford Harvest Festival when everyone in the city will be talking about and thinking about, eating and celebrating, good food.
The 2014 Gatheirng returns to the Theatre Royal and City Hall in Waterford City. Situated in the Viking Triangle, our venues here will include the historic theatre itself and newly refurbished rooms in City Hall.
This years speakers include some familiar faces from previous events, as well as many new names.
Ella McSweeney (Host)
Ella McSweeney started her career studying zoology before working for BBC radio and television. Since joining RTE she has specialised in farming, food and wildlife programmes.Credits include Nature’s Web, The Green Light, Farm Week, RTE’s Big Science Debate, Into the Deep, Mind Matters and the wildlife and walking series Shanks Mare.
On television she presented an RTE 1 series on frugality called ‘Living Lightly’ and regularly presents Ear to the Ground and Countrywide. She recently completely a radio series on traditions in farming called Home Grown.
Darina Allen, owner of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork, Ireland, is a teacher, food writer, newspaper columnist, cookbook author and television presenter. This talented food lover is a member of the International SLOW FOOD Movement. She is a best-selling author, and has presented eight series of her cookery programmes Simply Delicious on television in Ireland. A tireless ambassador for Irish food both at home and abroad, Darina has also been instrumental in setting up the Farmers Market movement in Ireland.
Denis Cotter is best known for his creative vegetarian cuisine in Cork’s renowned Cafe Paradiso, is an experienced cookery teacher and food consultant as well as the author of four award-winning cookbooks. His first book The Café Paradiso Cookbook was shortlisted for the British Guild of Food Writers Awards. ‘Paradiso Seasons’ won ‘Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Barcelona in 2004. His third book ‘wild garlic, gooseberries & me’ was shortlisted for the Andre Simon Awards in 2008. His most recent book ‘for the love of food’ was published by Harper Collins in 2011.
Rory O’Connell founded the Ballymaloe Cookery School with his sister Darina Allen. This award winning chef has worked in many prestigious establishments with prominent chefs such as Nico Ladenis at Chez Nico London and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons. He has worked with publishers and with RTE. Rory’s passion for refining not just our palates but how we prepare and cook food is still his priority. He provides bespoke cookery classes at his 18th century farmhouse in East Cork. Rory’s much anticipated first book ‘Master It – How to Cook Today’ won the André Simon award for 2013.
Patrick Holden CBE
Patrick Holden CBE is the Founding Director of the Sustainable Food Trust, a new organisation established in 2011 with a mission of working internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems. He is Advisor to the Prince of Wales and Patron of the UK Biodynamic Agriculture Association.
This much sought after speaker and campaigner on food issues has spearheaded a number of prominent food campaigns on issues such as BSE, the misuse of antibiotics, pesticide residues and GM food.
As an experienced agricultural practitioner Patrick founded the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales. He also founded British Organic Farmers which has subsequently merged with the Soil Association. He has also served as a member of the UK Governments working group on the Foresight report into the Future of Food and Farming.
Lilly Higgins is a food writer, photographer and author of Dream Deli and Make Bake Love, both published by Gill & MacMillan. Lilly writes regularly for newspapers and magazines including being foodwriter for The Sunday Business Post and Image Interiors & Living Magazine. Having graduated from Ballymaloe Cookery School Lilly went on to teach at the school. Finally using her degree in Design as well as her love of baking and cooking Lilly started a food blog in 2010 which has lead to a career in food writing, styling and photography as well as a year spent running an underground supper club in Dublin. Lilly lives in Cobh, Co.Cork with her partner Colm and two small sons.
Owen Glynn Smith
A botanist by training, Owen has been interested in exploring the potential of unusual food crops for many years. He believes that we can widen the range of crops we grow by exploring the potential in lesser known food plants. He founded a seed company, Future Foods which specialised in unusual food plants, worked at Ryton Gardens in the Heritage Seed Library and currently writes about his experiments with novel root crops on his blog Radix (http://radix4roots.blogspot.co.uk). His aim is to set up networks of amateur plant breeders who work to create their own varieties or, as he puts it, “develop the heirlooms of tomorrow”.
Alys Fowler started gardening in her early teens and trained at the Royal Horticultural Society, the New York Botanical Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. She is a presenter for BBC’s Gardeners’ World and has her own BBC TV series The Edible Garden. She writes for The Guardian, BBC’s Gardeners’ World magazine and Gardens Illustrated as well as publishing her own four books, The Thrifty Gardener, Garden Anywhere, The Edible Garden and The Thrifty Forager..
She continues her passion to fuse traditional gardening with modern eco-friendly culture.
An award winning writer and photographer, who runs the pioneering Otter Farm, and is known for his commitment to sustainable, ethically produced food. Having led the Garden Team at River Cottage and appearing in the TV series, runs courses and events at River Cottage HQ. He has grown interesting food such as; kiwis, sweet cicely, Japanese wineberries, pecans, quince, almonds and Szechuan pepper among them.
Mark’s book Veg Patch: River Cottage Handbook Number 4 was named Practical Book of the Year at the Garden Media Guild Awards 2009 and A Taste of the Unexpected won the Guild of Food Writers’ Book of the Year 2011.
He has just publiched A Year at Otter Farm, inspiring recipes through the seasons
Michael Kelly is a journalist, author and founder of GIY. Michael is an Ashoka Fellow, a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland awardee and a recipient of the inaugural 2010 Arthur Guinness Fund Award. He is a member of the TASTE Council of Ireland.
He writes columns on growing your own food for The Irish Independent, The Evening Echo and Food & Wine Magazine. His bestselling first book, Trading Paces (O’Brien Press) was published in April 2008. His second book, Tales from the Home Farm was published in late 2009. Michael is a passionate speaker on food issues, self-sufficiency, sustainability and growing your own food.
Sally McKenna is one half of the team that publish the McKennas’ Guides. Working with her husband, John McKenna, the guides include books, apps, an internet magazine and a website. In 2013 Sally wrote and published Extreme Greens: Understanding Seaweed, described by Joanna Blythman as “fascinating, highly informative, extremely digestible and intriguing [a book] that will hold your attention from page one.”
Fiann Ó Nualláin
Fiann Ó Nualláin is an author, horticultural therapist and awarding garden designer. He has constructed gardens for Failte Ireland, Bord Bia, GiY Ireland, Notice Nature, The British wildlife trust, The craft council of Ireland, the Asthma society of Ireland and Unicef Ireland and has developed horticultural outreach programmes and both greenskills and FETAC-training systems for Dublin City Council, the HSE and FAS.
An advocate of gardening for health and a functional foodie he blogs at theholisticgardener.com and contributes articles to various health and gardening magazines. Fiann co presents RTEs Dermot’s secret garden. His latest book The Holistic Gardener, a gardener’s first aid, was published in spring 2014.
Klaus Laitenberger, is the former head gardener at Rossinver Organic Centre and co-ordinator of the restoration of Victorian gardens at Lissadell House. Also, a writer, trainer, mentor and consultant in organic horticulture with over twenty years gardening experienc in the UK and Ireland.
Last year he completed his PgDip in Organic Farming. His first book, Vegetables For the Irish Garden, is the number one selling book on the GIY website and a must-read for Irish veg growers. HIs second book Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse, was published in Spring 2012 . This is Klaus’ 4th GIY Gathering – his previous masterclasses were “standing-room only”!
Growing up on an organic mixed farm in Co Laois, Kitty Scully became interested and passionate about home grown food at an early age. Kitty has completed a Diploma in Organic Horticulture & Sustainable Living and recently achieved first class honours in an MSc in Organic Horticulture amidst a busy gardening, writing and teaching career.
Best known for her RTE 1 series’ How to Create a Garden’, Kitty also writes a weekly vegetable gardening and foraging column for the Irish Examiner. In 2009, gaelic speaking Kitty contributed to TG4’s gardening programme, An Garraí Glas and in 2010 she visited community gardens around Ireland, co presenting RTÉ’s Corrigan Cooks Naturally. Kitty is now the Food Grower at Airfield House in Dundrum, a fabulously newly designed productive yet pretty space in Airfield where Kitty and the team share their passion and commitment to the production and consumption of local, seasonal home grown food.
A wise person once said ‘It is not so much about what planet we shall leave to our children but rather what children we shall leave to the planet’. If we get things right at school, then maybe we have a chance of making things better in the future.
Which is where Paul Clarke comes in.
Combining an impressive academic understanding of the world of school and system leadership with a string of books and publications to his name, Paul is also a world-recognised and award-winning authority in the area of sustainability. Down-to-earth, practical and approachable, he has worked extensively across the world in places such as Uganda, China, Australia, Pakistan and Canada combining his scientific environmental endeavours with development work in some of, quite literally, the most hard-to reach communities on the planet.
A professor of education at St Mary’s University in London, he is also a visiting professor at the University of Southampton and at Long Island University in Vancouver where he works in collaboration with leading minds in the area of education and sustainability. Paul is a founder member of the Millemont Ecorestoration centre in Paris, from where he runs his school-of-sustainability project.
He also makes a very good coffee, a story which he might tell at the Gathering…
One experiment which he is cultivating at the moment is focused on worms and coffee grinds, all undertaken and inspired by the spirit of Charles Darwin who spent his lifetime studying the behaviour of worms and their place in the ecosystem.
Paddy C. Courtney
Paddy C. Courtney is an actor and writer from Dublin. He wrote and stared in the multi IFTA nominated six-part comedy drama ‘Paddywhackery’ for TG4. He has made cameo appearances in Channel 4’s ‘Shameless’ and BBC 1’s ‘Inspector George Gently.’ He also writes columns for The Irish Independent, The Herald and The Irish Field. Best known as a stand up comedian, he hung up his microphone in 2011 to concentrate on his new career as a writer and actor. It was also the same year he acquired a small plot at Malahide Allotments (Malahideallotments.ie), where he currently learns how to grow his own food while constantly battling slugs and weeds. Paddy says “I love every minute I’m on my plot as I find it very therapeutic for my mind, body and soul, and more importantly, I get to create and develop new characters for the stories I’m writing.”