Creating a Restaurant Kitchen Garden

At a time when all restaurants have to work hard to attract and retain customers, could putting your own fresh, seasonal produce on the menu be what you need to thrive in the recession?

Consumers are becoming increasingly health concious and interested in the sustainability and environmental impact of the food chain. They are becoming more and more interested in the provenance of their food and demanding more fresh, local and seasonal produce. An increasing number of restaurants (including Rathmullen House, Global Village, The Cliff House, The Tannery and Harrys) are creating kitchen gardens to provide fresh herbs and vegetables to the kitchen and finding that GIYing delivers major benefits such as:

  • Saves money on produce at a time when food costs are spiralling upwards
  • Taste – nothing beats the flavour of GIY grub
  • Ready and easy access to the freshest seasonal, “0foodkm” food
  • Access organic produce – no insecticides, pesticides or fertilisers needed
  • Offer customers something unique
  • Tell a story about the food on your menu

GIY invites chefs and restauranteurs to join us for a very practical session called “Creating a Restaurant Kitchen Garden” at the GIY Gathering in Waterford on 10th of September. This event is part of the “GIY in the Community” panel discussions which take place at the Gathering on Saturday.

Three restaurants that have created successful kitchen gardens will talk about their experience – why they started, what they grew, how they went about it, what the pitfalls and benefits were. There will be a Q&A to allow the audience to ask lots of questions and GIY horticulturalists will be on hand with advice. A dedicated, short guide for restaurants on “Creating a Kitchen Garden” will be available at the event. For restaurants that may not have the time or the space to GIY, there may be an opportunity to access the freshest local and seasonal produce by partnering with local GIY groups (of which there are 100 nationwide) – all GIYers have gluts of produce at different times of the year and many would be delighted to make a few bob supplying local restaurants. GIY can facilitate an introduction to your local GIY group at the Gathering.

What is GIY (Grow it Yourself) Gathering?

The GIY Gathering is the largest-ever get-together of GIYers held in Ireland. We are inviting veg-growers from all over Ireland to come and celebrate the harvest with us and be inspired, informed and entertained. The GIY Gathering takes place September 10th and 11th 2011 and is part of the Waterford Harvest Festival which takes place in the city that weekend.

GIY is a national organization, and this is a once-a-year opportunity to celebrate and meet people from across the country who are united in the single goal of growing more food. Bring with you your tales of GIYing triumphs and (and those occasional mishaps which made you cry ☹), your recipes for chutneys, your prize vegetables to show off, your sunblock and your umbrella! The GIY Gathering is like a supersized GIY meeting with more to learn, see and do.

Speakers include Ireland’s top horticulturalists, chefs, broadcasters and food writers such as Darina Allen, Michael Kelly, Philip Boucher-Hayes, Tom Doorley, John McKenna, Ella McSweeney, Klaus Laitenberger, Hans Wieland and Duncan Stewart.

Who can come?

Everyone and anyone. Come and join us, whether you are an old hand or a raw novice, a city slicker or a rural settler, have achieved complete self sufficiency or just like growing herbs on the balcony – there will be an activity to suit you!!

Why do we want GIYers to gather?

  • Vegetable growing can be a solitary activity – the GIY Gathering is a chance to come together to reflect, celebrate, reconnect and recharge
  • GIY is national – each GIYer and group is part of a larger movement, a ‘food revolution’, which is creating profound social change one GIYer at a time
  • GIY is local – with nearly 100 groups and approximately 10,000 GIYers across the country, every GIYer has their own story. We want to know yours!
  • GIY is a community – it’s good to talk. No GIYer or GIY group is an island. Let’s come together to support each other.
  • GIY HQ wants GIYers to know what we are doing and help us to do it better – Share in the future of GIY

When and where is the GIY Gathering?

The GIY Gathering is a two-day celebration held on the 10th, 11th of September 2011 in Waterford. GIY started in Waterford, so we are bringing GIYers back to the roots of the organisation. This year’s GIY Gathering is in partnership with the Waterford Harvest Festival, so GIYers will be able to enjoy all the craic of the Waterford Harvest Festival which takes place in the city that weekend – giant food markets, barbeques, picnics, feasts, cookery demonstrations, taste workshops, free outdoor gigs and street parties, craft villages, as well as lots of free fun activities for all the family.

What will be happening over the two days:


  • Over 30 GIY workshops, talks and demos including keynote speakers and special guests in the following strands:
    • The GIY Drilldown – in depth, focussed “how-to” sessions on growing vegetables led by some of Ireland’s leading vegetable growers
    • GIY in the Community – panel discussions on allotments/community gardens, restaurant kitchen gardens, care farming and GIYing in Schools
    • Talk Series -“Can GIY Save the World?”
    • Food Demos with leading celebrity chefs
    • GIY Trends – Expand your Mind and learn about new trends in GIYing
  • The GIY Street Feast in Association with the Waterford Harvest Festival – An unmissable event on Saturday night that will bring 750 people together on the streets of Waterford to eat, greet and have a celebratory Harvest hoedown!
  • GIY Annual Awards – GIYer of the Year, GIY Group of the Year
  • GIY Networking PODs – involving vegetables and meeting people – leave the rest to us!
  • GIY Local Champions Get-Together – sessions for the hard-working folk that run our groups around Ireland
  • Picnic in the Park
  • GIY ‘Demo’ Allotment in partnership with a local community group


  • The Great GIY Food Debate
  • Urban Potting Shed on the Quays
  • Photo Booth, Pictures with Your Plant
  • GIY ‘Demo’ Allotment in partnership with a local community group
  • GIY Food Tours, Historic Garden Walks
  • GIY Forage – Sea and Soil

How much are tickets and where can I get them?

  • Tickets for The Gathering (all events Saturday and Sunday, excluding the Street Feast) are €25 per person.
  • Tickets for The GIY Street Feast are €28.50 per person.
  • A combination ticket for The Gathering and the GIY Street Feast is €45.
  • Tickets available end July at

How to get there and where to stay?

Getting here is easy, and surprisingly swift, Waterford is now 1.5 hours from the M50 and is well connected by public transport. For more information, visit the Waterford city website

Also, talk to your GIY group, as there may be possibilities to car share, or rent a bus depending on numbers.

There are accommodation arrangements to suit all budgets, from hotels to camping. Accommodation options.

Where can we find out more about the GIY Gathering?

There’s a link to the GIY Gathering activities on the home page of the GIY website at

Tell us more about GIY?

GIY is a registered charity that inspires people to grow their own food and gives them the skills they need to grow successfully. We bring GIYers together in the community and online so they can have fun and learn from each other. GIY was founded by author and journalist Michael Kelly in 2009 and there are now nearly 100 GIY groups around Ireland and 10,000 people involved. The organisation started in Australia last year and will launch in the UK in 2011. GIY is proudly supported by Woodies DIY and Garden Centres, The Arthur Guinness Fund, Ashoka and AIB.

Tell us more about the Waterford Harvest Festival?

Waterford Harvest Festival runs from the 3rd to 11th September 2011, it is a fun filled festival celebrating the culinary heritage and culture of Waterford, the South East and Ireland as a whole. The festival aims to involve people in the appreciation of good, clean, fair food while showcasing all the gastronomic delights the region has to offer. 
2011 will be the fourth year for the Waterford Harvest Festival and plans are already underway to make it bigger and better than previous years. Confirmed attractions include the return of the very popular ‘Picnic and Play’ in the People’s Park and the hugely successful all-island farmers and country market which took on the South Quay in Waterford City in 2010. 

Visit the website at

Note: If you want a more detailed briefing on events or have any other queries contact GIY’s Marketing and Events Manager, Sarah Fleming on (086) 086 8770 or email