Bandon Community Group’s garden.

Growing champions in Bandon

Can we get a round of applause for Bandon Community Group?

The group was one of six Get Ireland Growing champions from across the country who were announced as the winners of the GIY and Energia Get Ireland Growing initiative 2021.

In spring 2021 a call out to budding GIYers across the country was made by Energia and GIY as they wanted to ‘Get Ireland Growing’ by supplying the knowledge and food growing tools and seeds for individuals and groups to get growing.

Founder of GIY Michael Kelly says the uptake was enormous: “We are thrilled with the huge levels of interest from all corners of Ireland in getting growing food. Within 24 hours of announcing Get Ireland Growing 2021, we had twice as many people as last year register.

“At GIY we know that the pandemic has really seen an uplift in the public’s interest in health and sustainability and it is heartening to see this interest continue to grow.”

As the seed and information packs on Get Ireland Growing 2021 were distributed across the country these new food growers in Ireland took up the challenges of the competition and today, six winners have been identified as the national Get Ireland Growing Champions in 2021. Each of the new champions has been awarded funding from Energia to enable them to further develop each of their food growing projects.

Bandon Community Group who are in the first year of growing consists of people of all different backgrounds brought together by their interest in growing and gardening.

The group says that they are looking at how they can be as sustainable as possible when looking after their garden with the aim to donate produce to their local food bank, Feed Cork.

They have planted additional seeds and plants with the aim of donating all extra produce to Feed Cork. They are also encouraging the public to do the same.

Speaking about the initiative and all the winners Marketing Manager at Energia, Amy O’Shaughnessy said: “We at Energia were overwhelmed with the response and calibre of entrants this year. We were so encouraged and inspired by the stories of each of the winners, they truly are Get Ireland Growing Champions. We’re looking forward to seeing how they can put the prize money to work in their community growing projects.”