Photo Goska Smierzchalska

Grow It Yourself

GIY is an emerging global network of people who grow some of their own food.

With the rise of diet-related illness, there has never been a more urgent need for people to grow and eat healthy food. Research has shown that when people grow some of their own food, they gain a deeper understanding of food (“food empathy”), which leads to long term dietary changes and improved mental and physical wellbeing.

Founded in Ireland in 2009, the GIY movement is made up of over 50,000 food-growing people and community groups, supported by the GIY foundation (reg charity CHY 18920) which runs events and campaigns to build awareness and knowledge.

With your help, we aim to create a community of 1 million ‘GIYers’ in 20 countries in the next 5 years.

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Transition Town Kinsale

Transition Town Kinsale is a voluntary community initiative working to help make the transition from a dependency on fossil fuel to a low carbon future. Our Vision is a resilient, self-reliant and sustainable Town.

What began in Kinsale in 2005 has now become a global movement. Rob Hopkins, teacher of Permaculture at Kinsale Further Education College, produced the groundbreaking Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan with his students, exploring ways in which the community could prepare for Peak Oil. One of his students, Louise Rooney, set about developing the Transition Towns concept resulting in the historic decision by Kinsale Town Council to adopt the plan. Rob moved to the UK where he established the second Transition Town in Totnes which has become an inspiring focal point of the movement.



Kinsale College – Sustainable Horticulture / Permaculture Programme

Sustainable Horticulture / Permaculture (FETAC Level 5 & 6) is a science-based course offering a practical and wide-ranging learning experience in a unique and thriving college community. Kinsale has a strong tradition of food and farming, as well as providing a near-idyllic environment for exploring ecology and the natural environment. The course is a mixture of classroom-based talks, practical activities, site visits, master classes from a range of visiting specialists and group project work.

The practical aspects of the course include:

  • The development of the college grounds along permaculture design principles.
  • Working in the college herb and vegetable gardens.
  • Landscaping and practicing green building techniques.

The emphasis of the course is on practical skills that students can apply in their own lives and gain professional qualifications to access employment, developing their careers or continuing to 3rd level courses in horticulture, landscape design or related subjects.

The course is useful to anyone interested in landscape design, organic horticulture, community development, environmental education and sustainable resource management, and can lead to work or further training in these areas.  Continue reading about the programme on the college website…

… or read an in-depth blog post by tutor Graham Strouts that goes into more detail and includes feedback from students about their experiences.

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All Ireland Permaculture Gathering

The All Ireland Permaculture Gathering is about bringing people and ideas together who share a common interest in sustainable and ethical methods to building a better world.

First held in Co. Wicklow in 2011, between 200 and 300 people have attended the gathering each year since. It is a weekend camp in a private location that supports the development of Permaculture in Ireland by providing an opportunity to network, celebrate and learn together. It is not a passive event laid on by others, but rather an active participatory gathering which is co-created by the year’s core team and camp attendees. People come and host talks and workshops, share skills and information and participate in this dynamic community event. The gathering steering group formed from past gathering members works to provide continuity from year to year.



The Passive House Association of Ireland (PHAI)

The Passive House Association of Ireland (PHAI) is a catalyst for the increased awareness of the opportunities and benefits of low energy design based on the Passive House Principles, across the Irish construction industry as a whole. Passive House Design is seen as a specifically proven successful way of designing such buildings.

The Mission of the PHAI is to promote, educate and facilitate, so as to develop a strong identity, understanding and demand for the passive house concept.



Cloughjordan Ecovillage

Cloughjordan Ecovillage brings together a diverse group of people creating an innovative new community in North Tipperary. We’re doing this in a way that is democratic, healthy and socially enriching while minimising ecological impacts.

Our 67-acre site includes beautiful and fertile land where we grow our own food, and plants and trees to promote biodiversity. The ecovillage comprises:

  • More than 53 low energy homes and work units to date, with planning permission for a total of 132 units
  • A solar- and wood-powered district heating system
  • 50 acres of land designated for allotments, farming and woodland
  • A green Enterprise Centre
  • Hi-speed broadband
  • An eco-hostel for visitors: Django’s
  • One of Ireland’s only Community Supported farms



Climawin – Advanced Ventilation Window

Climawin is an integrated ventilation window system that uses heat normally lost through a window to bring in and preheat fresh air and save energy.  See video animation.

A typical house fitted with the Climawin system alone will reduce its annual energy bill by 20% to 24%. Climawin can recover 50% of the heat needed to make outside air comfortable on its way in, and on southern facades this rises to become a net heat gain.




The Living Building Challenge Ireland

The Living Building Challenge is the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.