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Surge to grow our own food

April 28th, 2020 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The eponymous Two Green Shoots, Kloe and Adam.

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A Glengarriff-based couple who run their own horticulture enterprise are helping people to grow their own food – and they are doing it virtually

IT seems, today, as if everything is being viewed through the prism of Covid-19. But there’s a couple, living in Glengarriff, who are offering a fresh perspective.

‘If you have horticulture as part of your life, it's not a massive change,’ according to Kloe Wood, who believes growing food for the table brings with it the additional benefit of being able to focus the mind on the great outdoors.

Covid-19 has, of course, altered their lives in the same way that it has altered everyone else’s: her partner, Adam, for example, is no longer busy with the gardens at Bantry House because the family there have, responsibly, closed the gates for social distancing and insurance reasons.

But both Adam and Kloe are, however, busier than ever with their own private project, their business, “Two Green Shoots”.

They are the eponymous two green shoots – a couple who, for the last three years, have been working on their two-acre parcel of land in Glengarriff with a view to creating a place where people can come and learn how to grow edibles.

Kloe (31) – whose background is pretty diverse and takes in zoology, conservation, sustainable development and permaculture design – is not new to this.

She grew up in West Cork and values its clean, green landscape.

It also helps that she is blessed with having two incredibly talented parents –  Kurt Lyndorff and Sheena Wood – the creators behind the mind-boggling brilliant The Ewe Experience, which is just a few kilometres out of town on the Kenmare road.

Adam Carveth (34) comes from Cornwall, but he has an unabashed appreciation of West Cork, and what he can create in its soil.

Their business has grown exponentially over the last two months, and a quick look online confirms that there is already a great deal of interest in their three virtual packages they are offering to support people who want to start growing their own food.

One of the packages includes a garden advice session – a one-hour one-to-one Q&A with Adam that is designed to address specific issues or garden problems.

The second – the Gardening with Adam Workshop Series – offers three virtual sessions with Adam gardening 'alongside' them on a weekly or monthly basis.

Adam said: ‘Video is best because I can see the garden and the plants, but we can still do it over the phone.

'All of this is a new departure for us, but there is clearly a demand because so many people are housebound and are turning to their gardens for their health and wellbeing.’

‘For some,’ Kloe said, ‘it’s all about growing food that they can harvest right throughout the year, for others it's simply about attracting more wildlife into their garden.

‘It's our job to help people create a space in which they feel nourished and isn’t that what a garden is supposed to be about?’

Kloe described how she first met Adam at a community garden she was running in Cornwall.

Kloe said she knew of his existence before he walked in because he featured prominently as a gardening columnist in their local newspaper.

Totally unabashed, Kloe admitted she created an event that required another expert gardener as ‘the perfect excuse to invite him along.’

Soon after, it was Adam who invited Kloe on their first date – a bicycle-ride and blackberry picking in the Ruan estuary in Cornwall – and five years later they decided to move back to Ireland and put down roots.

Keeping with the planting metaphors, Kloe said it was her mother who ‘planted the seed’ when she told them they were going to sell a two-acre plot. It helped the couple focus their minds and commit to a future in West Cork.

‘Getting here was one thing, said Adam, ‘but we wouldn’t have been able to make a go of it without the support of local people and all our customers.’

Kloe said: ‘The Local Enterprise Office in West Cork also provided us with an incredible amount of training, mentoring and support.’

Two Green Shoots – a registered company – started out as a visitor experience, a place where people could come and enjoy an edible experience in their garden, as well as a stay in their botanical B&B. All of that, however, has been put on hold on account of the pandemic.

Adam and Kloe find themselves in lockdown in a beautiful, natural and bountiful place, but they are happy to share that virtually with others.

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