Welcome to the website of Michael Kelly - freelance journalist, broadcaster, author and founder of GIY (Grow it Yourself). GIY is a not for profit organisation which aims to make growing your own food the norm - inspiring people to grow their own and giving them the skills they need to grow successfully. On this site you can find out more about growing your own, his books (Trading Paces, Tales from the Home Farm), read his Irish Times articles about food issues and self-sufficiency, and access his blog Tales from the Home Farm.
The Home Farm is a cottage on a windswept acre in Co. Waterford - it is where fruit and vegetables are grown; hens, chickens and pigs are reared and life is sweet...usually.
Please click on the video link below for an introduction.view video close
Latest Blog - Weekly Blog
In this week’s blog - propagating rhubarb, spinach and lentil soup and the weekly to-do listread more
Latest Event- Latest News and Events:
New Columns - Jan 8th 2011
Have new columns starting today in The Evening Echo and Food & Wine Magazine.
Image Magazine, Jan 2011
There’s a lovely piece in this month’s Image magazine about the rise of community groups including a section on GIY and an interview with Michael.
Bridgestone Guide Award - New Year’s Eve 2010
Get the bubbly out! A lovely way to finish off 2010. The Bridgestone Guide recently awarded Michael Kelly one of its end-of-year Megabyte Awards as “Inspiration of the Year”:
“GIY Ireland has massed 6,000 members in just over 18 months, making Michael Kelly’s achievement something of an agricultural Facebook in terms of success. This brilliant not-for-profit organisation is exactly the right idea at exactly the right time, and groups now range all over the country, from Abbeyleix to Youghal, with even a couple in Northern Ireland. “Together We Grow!” is their slogan. Together we grow better, it should be!”
RTE Morning Ireland November 2010
Michael was on Morning Ireland in early November talking about the upsurge in back-yard pig rearing. Check out the report here.
Terra Madre Turin, October
Gave a talk on GIY to the Irish Delegation meeting at Terra Madre, Slow Food’s bi-annual festival. Over 5000 people attended the event and over 200,000 people attended the food exhibition (Salone del Gusta) which ran parallel. An incredible 4 days. Read my blog post about the event here.
Elected Ashoka Fellow
Delighted to announce that I have been elected an Ashoka Fellow. Ashoka is a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, men and women with system changing solutions for the worlds most urgent social problems. Since 1981, Ashoka has elected over 2,000 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with financial investment, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in more than 60 countries. Ashoka launched in Ireland in 2006. Current Irish fellows include Caroline Casey (Kanchi and the O2 Ability Awards), Steve Collins (Valid Nutrition), Mary Nally (Third Age Foundation), David Egan (Red Branch) and Tara Cunningham (Release). Visit http://www.ashoka.ie. Very much looking forward to working with them in the coming years as GIY scales up around the world!
Media April 2010
Michael was a guest on Matt Cooper’s Last Word on Today FM on Tuesday 20th to discuss GIYing and GIY Ireland. Check out this month’s Image magazine for a feature about GIY Ireland by Kate Butler. Diarmuid Gavin gave GIY a good plug on The Late Late Show on the 9th April.
Arthur Guinness Fund
20th April 2010. GIY Ireland, of which Michael is founder and CEO, has been announced by Guinness Ireland as one of the 2010 Arthur Guinness Fund awardees at a special awards ceremony in the Guinness Storehouse. In total, the Arthur Guinness Fund is investing 2.5m euro in social entrepreneurs over the next two years. At yesterday’s event EU1m was distributed among ten social entrepreneurs with diverse projects from across the country, with each project receiving EU100,000. Pictured above from L-R are Sean Coughlan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Michael Kelly, John Kennedy, Managing Director Diageo Ireland and Batt O’Keefe, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.
John Kennedy, Managing Director, Diageo Ireland said: “The Arthur Guinness Fund proactively seeks to identify Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs and is designed as a springboard to enable them to take their initiatives to the next level. Today, we are backing people with a business head and a social heart. This is what we mean by social entrepreneurship.”
Michael Kelly, founder of GIY Ireland said: “We want to create a generation of people for whom home-grown food is a reality and make the meitheal mentality a central component of Irish life. This award is hugely important for us. It represents a much-needed injection of funds at a crucial stage of our development, and also provides us with access to expertise and support from Diageo and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. GIY has a large nationwide team of passionate volunteers who help run the organisation and our groups - this award is a fitting recognition of their efforts.”
RTE 1 Eco Eye
Michael will be featured on RTE 1’s Eco Eye tomorrow evening Tuesday March 9th 2010 at 7pm. The programme covers the launch of the GIY group in Glenealy and features interviews with Michael and with Suzie Cahn, the local champion in Glenealy.
Michael is nominated for the 2010 Irish Blog Awards in the “Best Food/Drink Blog” which is sponsored by Bord Bia.
Michael was invited to contribute to a “Civic Society: Resilience in Tough Times” forum at Aras an Uachtarain on Friday 29th January 2010. The forum is designed to encourage practical, positive solutions to the problems facing Irish society and was attended by over 100 representatives of community groups. The event was chaired by John Bowman. Michael was representing GIY Ireland. Pictured below L-R: Michael Kelly, GIY Ireland. Mary Nally, Third Age Foundation. John Bowman, Chairman of Forum. Shane O’Halloran, Aspire
Tales from the Home Farm is currently (Jan 2010) included in Eason’s Life Choices selection - a range of titles covering health, wealth, spirituality and wellbeing. If you were watching No Frontiers on RTE 1 television last night you will have noticed a poster promoting Michael’s book on the door of Ardmore Pottery which was featured in the show! There’s also a very positive review of the book in the current issue of Food and Wine magazine - “Calling all fans of The Good Life - this book should be your bible!”.
Michael was on The Inbox with Joan and Paul on Dublin’s 98 FM last night (16th December) discussing his new book Tales from the Home Farm and GIYing in general. On Monday night (14th December) he was in the salubrious surroundings of Dail Eireann (!) giving a talk about GIY Ireland at the Minister for Food and Horticulture Trevor Sargent’s Christmas event. There’s a feature about Michael in the first installment of Clodagh McKenna’s fab new foodie magazine Homemade which is in all good newsagents now.. http://www.rsvpmagazine.ie/homemade.shtml. There are also articles about GIY Ireland is current issues of Slow Food Ireland’s magazine Seilide and IOFGA’s magazine Organic Matters.
Michael will appear on tonight’s (December 17th) episode of Ear to the Ground (RTE 1, 7pm). Helen Carroll and crew filmed with us a few weeks back as we started a new GIY group in Bray, Co. Wicklow. The feature includes an interview with Michael, footage of a meitheal in action, and footage from the launch of GIY Bray at which Michael gave a talk. There’s also an interview with Diarmuid Gavin who was guest speaker at the launch of GIY Bray and has recently been announced as a patron of GIY Ireland. There are now nearly 40 GIY groups nationwide and thousands of people attending GIY meetings each month. For more information on GIY Ireland, please visit http://www.giyireland.com. Pictured below: L-R Ciaran Walsh (GIY Ireland), Diarmuid Gavin and Michael Kelly (GIY Ireland). Photo credit: Nicky Fortune.
Michael Kelly on BBC
Michael was interviewed on Gardeners Corner on BBC Radio Ulster last Saturday (5th Dec) about his book and the launch of GIY Armagh - the first GIY group in Northern Ireland which kicks off this Tuesday (8th Dec).
Tales from the Home Farm got a mention in Jane Power’s roundup of “must-buy” gardening books for 2009 in last Saturday’s (Nov 28th) Irish Times magazine.
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
Michael received a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award last night at a ceremony in The Exchange, the newly renovated former Labour Exchange on Dublin’s Gardiner Street. Guest of Honour was President McAleese. The award was in recognition of his work on GIY Ireland, which is encouraging people all over Ireland to grow their own vegetables and providing them with the practical help they need to do so. Established in 2004, the annual Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards are supported by NTR and have disbursed over 3.44 million to over 142 people and organisations who have brought their innovative ideas to drive social change in Ireland. Thirty one social entrepreneurs from throughout the country received awards this year - the 2009 Awardees ranged across a wide variety of social issues, community and active citizenship; young people and children; education and learning; mental and physical health; new communities and travellers; environment and sustainability; disability and older people.
Speaking at the Awards, Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, called on the Government to consider innovation in relation to society as well as business. “Over recent times innovation has emerged as a key driver of our growth and prosperity, with the Irish government believing it will be critical in helping Ireland develop as a smart economy. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland believes that not only does Ireland need a smart economy, it needs a just society. And, like the government, we agree innovation will play a key role in achieving this goal. However we believe it is essential that when looking at innovation we look at it not just in a commercial context but also in a broader societal context.” he said. “It is not enough to create a Smart Economy, the government also needs to focus on establishing a responsible and fair society in order to protect the vulnerable” he added.
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, established in 2004, is a privately funded, not-for-profit organisation that believes that innovation and social change in Ireland will be driven by exceptional people with exceptional ideas. They have developed a support model that helps these social entrepreneurs grow their ideas from
concept to reality. For more information about Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, visit http://www.socialentrepreneurs.ie. Photo: Michael Kelly with SEI’s Chief Executive Sean Coughlan.
The Tubridy Show
Michael was interviewed by Ryan Tubridy live from the Ploughing Championships in Athy about his new book Tales from the Home Farm on Tuesday 22nd of September.
Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, Today FM
Michael was interviewed by Ian Dempsey about the joys of growing your own and the GIY movement on September 3rd. A strange conversation about the feasibility of crossing a potato with a clove of garlic ensued! Ian gave out copies of Michael’s new book Tales from the Home Farm to four lucky listeners!
Photos from the Tales from the Home Farm Launch at Waterford City Library, 11th September 2009
Photos courtesy of Nicky Fortune
Publisher Michael O’Brien gives opening address
Clodagh McKenna starts her talk watched by Michael Kelly and Jane Cantwell (City Librarian)
A view of Clodagh McKenna and the audience at book launch
Michael Kelly reads from Tales from the Home Farm
Author Michael Kelly with Clodagh McKenna
Michael Kelly signs books