Ballymaloe partners with GIY on slow food schools project

Ballymaloe Cookery School has agreed a partnership with Grow It Yourself (GIY) which will see a Slow Food educational project delivered at nine schools in Cork.

The scheme encourages children to grow their own food and understand where food comes from.

GIY founder Michael Kelly developed the GROW Circle, a sustainable funding model of social enterprise, enabling organisations of all sizes to contribute to the benefit of society through partnership.

Ballymaloe Cookery School became the latest GROW Circle member on Tuesday and they have decided is to sponsor nine primary school gardens for the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. Pupils at Shanagarry National School joined Michael Kelly and Darina Allen to launch the project and for a lesson on learning to grow their own food.

T hrough the programme, the schools will avail of GIY’s knowledge and experience in teaching children and adults how to grow some of their own food.

The schools will be supported by GIY as they start or develop an already existing school garden.

The GIY team will visit the schools this spring to pass on expert educational resources with a monthly educational resource pack tailor-made for each school with tips on what to grow and when, a growing calendar, lesson plans, and other food messages. The schools will be asked to register to become part of the GIY ChangeX community platform to share knowledge and cross-pollinate with other like-minded groups. Each school will also be given a €250 voucher to spend on kitting out their gardens.

Darina Allen said: “East Cork Slow Food Educational Project is delighted to partner with GIY’s GROW Circle to continue to develop edible gardens in local schools, providing the children with an exciting hands-on experience of growing their own food. This is an invaluable life skill not currently on the curriculum, which will help to stimulate enthusiasm for delicious and nutritious homegrown food and its health benefits.”

The initiative will get under way immediately with five schools in Cork and the remaining four joining in the programme over the coming months.

Michael Kelly said the project is a “brilliant food education initiative” for primary school children. “The partnership brings growing right into the heart of the schools and offers students a chance to get their hands dirty and have lots of fun while learning. Together we will build on GIY’s principals of food empathy, which instils a better understanding and appreciation of where food comes from.“

The Grow Circle offers organisations, businesses and companies the opportunity to sponsor a GIY initiative that benefits their employees, their community, schools in their area, or a social cause close to their heart.


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