Gary Graham, AKA ‘Simon Trowel’ from RTE’s Super Garden series, is the creator and manager of Bloom. He is employed by Bord Bia to increase the production and exports of plants, Christmas trees, cut foliage and bulbs.
As a teenager, his grandfather Joe taught him how to grow vegetables in their long back garden in Bluebell Inchicore and after a summer in Caulfields gardening shop on Dame Street he was hooked on hort!
He trained in the Bots in Glasnevin and after an internship in Chicago Botanic Gardens he came home and worked in both interior and exterior landscaping, before realising that it was “too much like hard work”.
Gary recognises the pivotal role that GIY can play in reconnecting the old and introducing the young to the joys and benefits of growing. He believes that time spent working in the garden benefits the mind, the body and the soul. “I garden therefore I am”
Feargal has been interested in back garden self-sufficiency for many years but he took up the shovel seriously in the new millennium when he moved to Waterford. Apart from using the GIY community and website Feargal gets most of his best gardening ideas from his father, Hugh. Hugh developed his wide range of gardening lore working with his father, Billy, in their back garden in Donegal. A garden of medium proportions which supported a very large family at the time. That’s a trail of soil soaked wisdom that goes back to the start of the 20th century.
Feargal is an enthusiastic supporter of the GIY community with its emphasis on sharing knowledge, seeds, plants, time and effort. He is particularly fond of the meitheal concept which he sees as a wonderful way to get jobs done and help fellow GIYers out in their endeavours to do the projects that we often put off for various reasons. He links this key GIY community concept to the Native American idea of the Circle whereby people helped each other out (and passed possessions around) and got helped out in return. Needless to say many Europeans who came across this idea were very keen on being helped out and gaining possessions but not so keen on returning the compliment.
A psychologist by profession Feargal recommends the therapeutic joys of hoeing after a hard day in the office.
Paul runs and owns his own business in Kildare and his relatively new to the wonderful world of GIYing. His wife having purchased a “how to rear hens” course got him to cross paths with Michael Kelly and the rest is history. Paul went on to set up the Bray GIY Group which won Group of the Year in 2011 which is still today one of the biggest and most active groups.
Living in Wicklow with his wife, the twins, dog and a few hens he uses his GIYing as an escape from the hectic world of running your own business. He admits to being a bit OCD when it comes to his sowing … straight lines, measuring tape and always by the book! Outside of that Paul is tasked with helping us increase our impact through growing our various avenues of funding.
Tim has been growing vegetables, fruit and herbs since he was a child, learning skills from his grandfather and father. His gardening philosophy is based on growing the things you can’t buy in the shops. Tim has been involved in several other gardens in recent years for community groups and is part of a team that designed and built a school garden, where his input is on fruit and vegetable growing.
Tim began his career with Guinness plc (prior to Diageo being formed) in 1989, as a graduate trainee in the brewing production operations. Since then, he has held a number of production, environment and quality management roles in breweries around Ireland. Presently Tim is Head of Technical, Europe Beer Supply for Diageo and is responsible for the Quality, Environmental, Risk and Regulatory agendas for the European Beer Supply operations in Ireland and the UK.
Sarah Furno is co-owner, cheese maturer and Director of Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers on her family farm, Beechmount, in rural Tipperary. She is responsible for managing one of Ireland's most internationally recognised speciality foods, Cashel Blue, ensuring it's continued development in a manner that underpins the family businesses core values of Community, Openness, Personability and Excellence.
Sarah is involved in many Artisan food groups including Irish Cheese Direct, a producer group of which she is a founding member and The Taste Council of Ireland. Sarah's approach to management is to put quality of product and people at the centre of all decisions.
Aileen O’Malley hasn’t spent too much time sowing in the garden since her carrot growing attempts as a child. But she enjoys eating food produced by her husband and children from their small garden. She is a strong believer in the myriad of benefits that can be realised from growing and enjoying your own produce.
Aileen co-runs a small boutique executive recruiting firm supporting high growth entrepreneurial organisations find the leaders they require. Aileen has also spent a significant part of her career helping organisations plan and navigate their growth journeys. Aileen has supported a broad range of private sector organisations in Ireland and internationally. Since 2009, Aileen has been fortunate to have been exposed to the emerging social entrepreneurship sector in Ireland and has invested some of her time supporting different social entrepreneurs in realising their growth ambitions.
Catherine McMullen has been growing some of her own food since the 70s when she lived on an organic farm in Canada. Then she went to university and gained a scientific background in Glacio-Fluvial Geomorphology and a degree in Science Writing with a specialty in Earth System Science. After years working on environmental and climate change issues for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Greenpeace International, and the United Nations Environment Programme, she consults through Allophilia Consultants. Catherine has lived in Canada, the US, Afghanistan, Kenya, France, and now Ireland. She believes that growing your own food should be a universal life skill and hopes that working with GIY will help promote that idea.
Ciarán Walsh originally from Midleton Co Cork, graduated in '98 with a Degree in Business Studies from Waterford Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Irish Taxation Institute. Ciarán has been involved with GIY since the first meeting in September 2008. Ciarán is former chairman of Ferrybank Community Development Group, a member of the Ferrybank Socio Economic Development Committee and is the Founder of the Ferrybank Community Allotment Project. He lives in Waterford with his wife Collette.