G.I.Y. Kits

  • Els Kenney

As an individual, I’m very enthusiastic about living green, and passionate about sustainability, especially around food. I’m actively against animal cruelty, and encourage a plant-based diet to all of those who can try it. From 2018-2020 I lived in student accommodation with no garden, balcony, or even a window that you could reach your hand out of (the windows were barred for safety—or to stop students throwing things out of, which many did anyway!). However, this didn’t stop me from being passionate about living green, and I was disgusted by the plastic packaging and long-distance journey of most produce available to buy from supermarkets. I started growing my own produce; chillies, tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, spring onions, pak choi, carrot tops, garlic, lemons and oranges. Some failed, some thrived; but I kept trying, because whatever I could grow, I didn’t have to buy from a supermarket, along with it’s carbon footprint and plastic wrap. I wanted others to try living greener, so I started putting together G.I.Y. kits—Grow It Yourself. The core idea was to educate and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds that they can grow their own produce at home, with or without a garden or balcony, and save money whilst reducing carbon emissions and plastic packaging. I designed and illustrated handouts to go with each kit, giving instructions on how to grow and maintain the produce, it’s benefits, and what it can be used for. I also used these handouts in a free workshop I ran at the Ladies, Wine & Design Southampton Makers Market. The kits also provide a recycled jar of soil, and a packet of my homegrown—or organically-sourced—seeds, or fresh produce ready to plant.