It’s that time of the year again, the harvest season.

Traditionally the harvest festival is a celebration of a successful yield for farmers. There are many events held across Ireland to acknowledge local produce during this time of the year, one of which is the Waterford Harvest Festival (8-10 September).

The Waterford Harvest Festival was started over 10 years ago by a committee. It was then taken over by the Waterford city council. Last year, however, GIY [Grow it Yourself] was asked to take over the running of the event.

“GIY is a social enterprise and our aim is to get people to grow some of their own foods, and to think about the food that they’re eating and buying,” Rosie Bent, head of operations at GIY, tells Irish Country Living.

It makes sense then that sustainability is the anchor of this year’s festival. Rosie explains that a highlight will be talks from the country’s most esteemed chefs on this topic.

“The talks are in a tent in the middle of the city and they’re free, so anyone can pop in and listen to what’s going on,” she says.

There is also a market spread across the city centre with over 65 vendors covering a wide range of food from various different cultures and from all over the country.

“It really is for the people of Waterford and that is our core audience. Our kitchen stage is all local chefs who showcase the best of Waterford producers and Waterford’s food scene because we have some great chefs and restaurants in Waterford,” says Rosie.

Feebee Foran

photo credit: Katy Kav

Feebee Foran

Forager, herbalist and business owner of

Also known as the “Green Witch”, Feebee started making potions in her kitchen during COVID-19. “Forager [her business] was kind of born by accident, it’s now become a really lovely skincare brand that focuses on healing, feeling and connecting with nature,” says Feebee.

As well as foraging wild plants around the Dublin area, Feebee has an allotment in Dublin and grows a lot of plants there. Feebee also operates foraging tours and is a regular nature contributor on Ireland am.

As part of the Waterford Harvest Festival, Feebee will be giving attendees insights into different plants and their medicinal purposes.

“It’s that idea of here’s a few very simple plants that if I can find in an urban setting in Dublin, you better believe you will find them no matter where they are in the country,” says Feebee.

“If you can start identifying a few different plants when you’re out on a daily walk, it really enriches your walk.”

Donal Lehane

Chair of the local East Waterford Beekeepers’ Association

Originally from Cork, Donal came to Waterford to start the production of cheddar in the Kilmeadan cheese factory. Working for Glanbia for many years in various positions around the world, Donal retired over 15 years ago.

His interest in honey came from learning about beekeeping at the age of ten when his aunt got arthritis and needed someone to help lift boxes. Donal now has six hives and after being out of beekeeping for 40 years, he went back into it as a hobby.

Currently, Donal is treasurer and board member of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations (FIBKA) which traces its history back to 1881, serving the needs of beekeepers.

As part of the Waterford Harvest Festival, the Waterford Beekeepers’ Association is running events throughout the weekend.

For instance, the “People’s Choice Honey Tasting Competition” is taking place in the Waterford City Square Centre, where shoppers get to taste honey from many countries and to vote for the flavour that they like best.

Entrants come from Poland, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Sweden, USA, Ukraine, England, Scotland, Wales etc. Entries are welcome in the Waterford City Hall, up to the morning of 9 September in the numerous classes.

JB Dubois Grow HQ

JB Dubois

Head of Food at Grow it Yourself

Originally from Luneville in the northeast of France, JB followed a traditional chef’s training in France before arriving in Ireland in 2001. He worked in many prestigious five-star hotels before joining GIY in 2016 to open GROW HQ: an award-winning café and garden in Waterford city.

“I was always very passionate about food and local food. I realised Ireland had so much to offer on quality and wanted to push those boundaries as far as we could,” emphasises JB.

JB is passionate about bringing a modern flair and dedication to traditional techniques to preserve food and manage a zero-waste kitchen. He has a strong focus on fresh, local, seasonal products of impeccable quality.

“The harvest festival to us, it’s a big showcase of what food could be and should be as very local and sustainably as it can. I will be doing a demo on the cooking stage to showcase local food and zero waste. The festival is a big celebration of harvest: harvest is when we get loads of food from our gardens,” says JB.

MORE INFO To learn more about Waterford Harvest Festival free events, visit

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