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GIY (Grow it Yourself) launches in the UK


GIY UK Gathering 2013 in association with Carbon Gold.  Speakers include Alys Fowler, Rachel de Thample, Mark Diacono and Maddy Harland.

GIY (Grow It Yourself) have announced details of the inaugural GIY UK Gathering, which will take place Saturday 20 July in Birmingham and brings together some of the UK’s leading food growers and food growing advocates.

The GIY Gathering will bring up to 300 people together for a fun-packed day of practical and philosophical talks about growing your own food; a chance to quiz expert growers; demonstrations; discussion and debate about local food and the community food growing movement; and the opportunity to network with a friendly community of food growers. This Gathering marks the launch of GIY in the UK.

GIY is an emerging global network of community food growers. The network is made up of interconnected food-growing groups that bring people together to inspire and support them to grow food. Over 50,000 people and 800 individual community food projects are involved in the GIY movement currently.

Speakers include BBC gardening presenter and author Alys Fowler; Abel & Cole food editor, author and urban gardener Rachel de Thample; photographer, author and smallholder Mark Diacono; food writer, gardening journalist and author Lia Leendertz, Paul Clarke (Pop Up Farm), Michael Michaud (Sea Spring Seeds founder), Michael Kelly (GIY founder), Dr David Shaw (Savari Trust) and Maddy Harland (Permaculture Magazine).

Alys Fowler, BBC presenter and author, said: “Learning to grow food is always best done with others – it makes it in to something fun and social. GIY is based around this, by creating local groups of like-minded folk who want to learn to grow. Every time I go to Ireland I am blown away by how successful a system it is, so it’s incredibly exciting to have it come to the UK. Whether you’re on an allotment, in a back garden, on a balcony or sharing space in a community plot, GIY offers you a chance to get together with people in your neighbourhood, make new friends, grow great food and learn along the way.”

According to GIY founder Michael Kelly the GIY Gathering will appeal to novice and expert growers alike: “We’re particularly keen for people that might be interested in starting a GIY food growing group in their community to come along and find out more about GIY. We anticipate that there will be a lot to learn and to share for everyone at this year’s GIY Gathering.”

Event sponsors are Carbon Gold, the world’s leading biochar company. Craig Sams, Carbon Gold founder, says that the company are thrilled to be supporting the UK launch of the GIY movement: “We are delighted with the feedback from home-growers who have trialled our biochar products and it is a great feeling to be supporting the burgeoning number of people growing their own food. GIY has an admirable track record of bringing together communities of people who love gardening, encouraging those who would like to start gardening, and supporting them in sharing skills and resources.”

The GIY UK Gathering takes place in the University of Birmingham on Saturday 20 July 2013 from 9am to 5pm, and tickets for the day cost £25. Tickets and more information are available from

Click here to watch the highlights video from last year’s event.

“The GIY Gathering is like Glastonbury for Growers.” – Mark Diacono, photographer and author.

“In nearly two decades of garden writing I’ve been to scores of meetings, seminars and other convocations of people who grow things. But I’ve never been to one with the same buzzy atmosphere and spirit of goodwill as the recent GIY Gathering.” – Jane Powers, The Sunday Times.

“A wondrous mixture of political and practical gardening.” – Lia Leendertz, The Guardian.

“According to my birth certificate, I was about 75 when I arrived at the GIY Gathering. But what with all those constructive ideas, the youthful energy, the picnics and the parties, I swear I wasn’t a day over 65 when I left.” – Joy Larkcom, Author of ‘Grow your Own Vegetables’.

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