I had a fascinating day yesterday at the GIY HQ in Waterford. It was a long drive and an early start but I was invited as we made an application for help to start a Cottage Market here in Goleen. We have already started a GIY (Grow It Yourself) Community Garden and the Market seems like a great idea to enhance our small community and provide a new outlet and a new opportunity for our community to get together.
The HQ is a good looking building with a turf roof and you can see there has been a lot of clearing and preparation for growing. The food grown there supplies the Café and the food looks great. We had some lovely soup and a Waterford Blaa for lunch. A Blaa is a white bread roll and it is either called a Blaa because of the French word for white Blanc or the French word blé which is some kind of flour. Anyway it was brought to Waterford by the Huguenots, very tasty.
The day was pretty full on and as I left here at just after 5am and didn’t get home till midnight, tiring. However it was filled with really useful information about organising and setting up small markets and there were a few representatives from other markets that had been set up last year. I enjoyed getting to meet people from all over the country and they were a pretty social bunch.
The presentation co-ordinator was Karen O’Donoghue who set up her own Cottage Market a few years ago and is an enthusiastic advocate, with loads of energy and positive thinking. She is also co-presenter of a new RTE TV programme called Grow, Cook, Eat, I have managed to watch an episode which features a vegetable each week and takes it from seed to table with loads of interesting information along the way.
Many of my concerns about running a market were addressed and I do feel more empowered to get on with setting up a market in our village alongside our community garden, which I think could enhance our “Growing the Community” project and become a real and much needed social focus for our community.
With my interest in gardening and growing food getting to have a look round the place was great and the Head Gardener Richard Mee gave us a guided tour around the new fruit and veg garden and explained how they were trying to convert this 4 acre, urban site into a growing space.
It will take me a few days to process all the information gained, plenty of food for thought!