“Our plans are ambitious, a blueprint of wishes…” wrote Prefab Sprout's Paddy McAloon on the band’s 1997 album, Andromeda Heights.
Paddy might just as easily have been writing about the plans by GIY – Grow It Yourself – to build their own headquarters on the outskirts of Waterford City - a plan, unbelieveably, that was only hatched in 2012. But today, GIY Grow HQ is on the outskirts of Waterford City, close to University Hospital. It’s a modest, elegant modern building which serves as the world headquarters for the ‘emerging movement’ that is GIY, providing them with teaching space, offices, a small shop, a café, and a small plot of land to grow their own produce, produce which is then used in the café.
The kitchen team at HQ is headed up by JB Dubois, and the café is open from 8am weekdays and 9am at the weekends, seven days a week. The menu features entirely seasonal produce, mostly grown on site, and changes every day depending on what is at its best. Typical dishes include quiche with garden broccoli, Cashel Blue cheese and a side of GIY organic leaves, or pumpkin prepared 5 ways: pumpkin soup; spiced savoury pumpkin pie; roast crown prince wedge; minted burger; and pumpkin and cinnamon soda bread.
The café is a double height space with a large glazed wall, so it’s flooded with light, the furniture has been made from scaffolding planks, and the staff exude a friendliness and passion that makes this a really positive place to be. Hardly surprising it’s been bustling with business since the day it opened. It’s a triumphant achievement for the GIY team to see their ‘blueprint of wishes’ made real, and there’s a sense that the best days are ahead for this great movement.
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