Posted by in Features.

  • 10% of People in Ireland living in Food Poverty
  • Home-grown food could help lift people out of the Food Poverty trap
  • Average sized vegetable patch can yield €500 worth of food each year
  • GIY calls on Government to make more land available for allotments

Not for profit organisation GIY (Grow it Yourself) Ireland has today highlighted the potential of home-grown food to help lift people out of food poverty and has called on the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to encourage local authorities to make more land available for allotments and community gardens.

A study commissioned by the Department of Social Protection has shown that 10% of people in Ireland are living in food poverty. The report highlighted that those most at risk are people living on low incomes, families with young children and lone parents. Long-term impacts of food poverty according to research associate at the Department, Caroline Carney, could include increased chronic diseases related to nutrition, type two diabetes and obesity.

GIY founder Michael Kelly has highlighted the potential of home-grown food to address the issue. “We welcome the fact that the report gives recognition to food poverty as a serious issue that impacts the fabric of society as well as the nation’s health and nutrition. One element of the solution to food poverty is for people to grow more of their own food. GIY helps people to grow their own more successfully by bringing them together in community groups to share skills, tips and enthusiasm.”

GIY has highlighted how much produce can be produced, even in a relatively small space. “The tragedy of food poverty is that it is so unnecessary,” says Kelly. “If people had the right support and available space to grow, then they could quite literally grow their way out of food poverty. A well-maintained 600 sq foot vegetable patch can yield an estimated 135kg of fresh produce each season worth up to €500. Even in a much smaller space however, it is possible to grow some fresh fruit and vegetables which will help to reduce the household food spend and provide healthy, nutritious food for the table.”

Though GIY can provide the inspiration and support, the problem for many is accessing land on which to grow. “We call on Minister Hogan to encourage local authorities to make land available for allotments and community gardens—there is currently an abundance of unused land all over Ireland—it should immediately be made available for growing food to help people save money and improve their health.”

Kelly added that the organisation will shortly launch a new online service on its website, which will attempt to match people that need land to grow on with available space in their community.

About GIY

GIY’s vision is for a healthier, more connected and more sustainable world where people grow their own food. We bring people together in community groups and online to inspire and empower them to grow vegetables. There are over 100 GIY community groups and approximately 30,000 people involved in the movement around Ireland. GIY is a registered charity—CHY 18920.