Get Ireland Growing

Wellness Coach Alison Canavan wants to Get Roscommon Growing; €70k up for grabs

Get Ireland Growing

Wellness Coach Alison Canavan is calling on people across to the country to get growing their own food in 2017.

Deadline for applications for €70,000 Get Ireland Growing Fund looming.

Alison has teamed up with GIY and Energia for the ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ initiative which offers community and voluntary organisations the opportunity to apply to the €70,000 pool of funding which will enable groups to start or further develop a community food-growing project in their area.
Picture Credit: Patrick Browne

Grants from the ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing Fund’ will be split across three categories, ‘Sow’, ‘Grow’ and ‘Harvest’ with awards ranging from €500 to €2,000. Together GIY and Energia will support at least 85 community food growing groups from all across the country and applications are being accepted until January 20th 2017.

Alison says she is delighted to be involved with Get Ireland Growing,

“I am deeply passionate about food. As a Wellness Coach I meet a lot of people who eat food from packets and consume ready-made meals and I know from meeting these people that convenience has come at a very very high cost for people. Generally people want to improve and change their lives but the one thing they often have ‘no time for’ is the extra consideration required around their food. It is very sad that we have lost the understanding of the importance our food; it is what keeps us alive, yet people see it as an inconvenience.

We have lost our connection to food and I feel with the digital age we are really losing connections in general with each other and with ourselves. Our connection with food is so important; we should all be considering how we eat and what we eat all for our overall health and wellness. We eat at computers, we eat in the car and really there is not much thought put into where the food that we are swallowing comes from or how it was prepared.

I’ve gone through a journey to change my own lifestyle and my health; I want to know where the food that I consume comes from and I want my son James to also grow up interested in knowing this; arming him with this knowledge is giving him a life skill. It is so important that children understand that food doesn’t come form a supermarket shelf but that food grows in the ground and that they can in fact grow it for themselves.

I think the ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ initiative is brilliant; it will very much help to share the knowledge of food, food growing and improve our nation’s food empathy rebuilding our connection with the food that we consume daily. I have learned that you really can grow food anywhere, even with limited space.” Alison said.

Knowledge exchange

In addition to the funding awarded to groups in Spring 2017, GIY will also provide additional supports and opportunities for knowledge exchange between the projects, helping the best ideas to be shared through ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’. All of the projects remain part of the GIY network in the long term, giving them access to other GIY resources and additional groups and projects within the network, creating a long-term legacy.

The funding pool is now open to any community group, school, NGO or Not for Profit, community garden or allotment group, GIY group, hospital, crèche, direct provision centre, men’s shed or any group who grows their own food, or wants to grow food and wants to promote growing food. The deadline for applications is the end of January 2017 and applications can be made online via

GIY’s ‘Get Ireland Growing’ initiative has supported over 400 community food growing projects to date, positively impacting over 100,000 people. €270,000 has been awarded over the last four years and this was distributed to projects all across the country.
Some of these flagship projects include, a food growing initiative in a young persons probation centre in Cork; the installation of food gardens at Focus Ireland and Galway Simon; an edible quayside project in Co Wexford, which has seen tomatoes flourishing on the railings at the New Ross quayside, a vegetable garden for asylum seekers in Clonakilty, Co Cork, a horticultural project for unemployed men in Waterford that supplies salads to restaurants and a community garden to reduce isolation on Inishbofin island to name but a few.