Business Profiles

Starting a New Conversation; the Grow Circle Challenge

Lots of people want to grow their own these days; they also want to cook with that produce and eat well. Those three things will be tied up together in a new National Food Education Centre called Grow HQ which is due to open in Waterford in September.

It is the brainchild of GIY (Grow it Yourself) – a not-for-profit global social enterprise. Founder Michael Kelly says they are nearly there with the fundraising. They need two hundred thousand euro and to raise this, they launched a crowdfunding initiative called the Grow Circle Challenge. So far, fifteen companies have signed up.

team selfie with veg

“The response has been phenomenal,” says Michael. “We have representatives from the food sector, obviously, but also pharmaceutical companies and the motor industry. We have Renault and Applegreen on board as well as many smaller companies.”

“We want start this new conversation about food and health. Our goal is to inspire as many people as possible to grow some of their own food at home, at work, at school and in the community as a lever to a healthier life.

Grow HQ is in the middle of an urban centre. 30,000 cars will pass by every day. It is opposite one of the biggest teaching hospitals in the country. It’s a really prominent location.”

[pull_quote_center]Grow HQ will be the home of the GIY movement and a place where people come together to grow, cook and eat home-grown food.[/pull_quote_center]

There are big plans for the facility. Michael says it will house a grow school, a cookery school, a home grown food café, an orchard, a farm shop and training gardens.  It will be a place “where people can immerse themselves in the whole GIY lifestyle”.

“Grow HQ will be a self-sustaining Social Enterprise that will create 22 jobs and help GIY to impact the lives of more than 500,000 people in its first 5 years. We want to tear down the barriers between where food is grown and eaten”.

For more information on Grow HQ, visit


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