Our Fair Food Guide is your one stop source for news, information and more about Fair Food and the Fair Food producers of Ireland. Dig in and discover who’s leading the way in fixing our broken food-system. Explore stories from the field, read local profiles or dive into our book and movie reviews. Unearth the benefits of eating Fair Food for your health, planet and community. We tell the stories….you do the sharing!
Fair Food guide
Know the farmer behind the food you serve this Christmas
“Cooking creates a sense of well-being for yourself and the people you love and brings beauty and meaning to everyday life. And all it requires is common sense – the common sense to eat seasonally, to know where your food comes from, to support and buy from local farmers and producers who are good stewards of our natural resources” – Alice Waters Christmas is just around the corner. The adverts are out and everyone’s competing for our hard earned money. This year, spend your money with someone who has equally worked hard for it, a Fair Food Farmer. Supporting local this Christmas is great, supporting local and fair is better. The farmers you can find on foodture all produce food in harmony with nature. Whatsmore, they go above and beyond to bring nourishing food to the table. Food connects us all, this Christmas let’s connect direct with our farmers. Meet Una, Karl, Ashling, Daniel and Dawn from Annfield Farm in Kildare, raising free range, organic turkey. Tell us a little about you We pride ourselves in the care and attention our turkeys receive and the quality of live they enjoy. Our Bronze Turkeys are certified organic from our family farm. […]
Sustainable Environment as a Human Right
The 10th of December is Human Rights Day. This year marked a special anniversary: the universal declaration of human rights turned 70! The declaration is a key document in order to have a legal base to persecute crimes against humanity, designed to help bring peace and equality to the world. While we still have some way to go to accomplish that, a new threat is already on the horizon. Climate change is threatening human rights in an unprecedented way. This has brought up the necessity to update the human rights declaration to include the right to a healthy enviroment. Threats to environmental defenders In the last years, we could see a rise in the murder of activists who protect land, water and nature. One of the most famous cases was the murder of the indigenous leader and environmental activist Berta Cáceres in 2016. She was brutally assassinated in her home after years of being threatened. Those arrested for her murder are linked to large financial institutions. Still not all of them have been sentenced yet. This is not an isolated case. Around the world and especially Honduras corrupt governments and businesses threaten and murder activists defending their right for land […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 8
December 8th is here, meaning its offically Christmas in Ireland! In this food citizenship podcast episode, we spoke to Fair Food Farmers about Christmas dinner. This year you can source your local Fair Food Turkey in the East from Annfield Organic Turkeys, in the West, choose Westernshore Organic Farm for a naturally salted Turkey raised on the Wild Atlantic Way. Choose real, seasonal and fair vegetables from your local grower, we spoke with Seamus Bradley from Dublin CSA, Orla Burke from Savage Gardens and Deirdre and Christy from The Green Door Market, learning that Sprouts aren’t just for Christmas you know and that a vegetarian Christmas is also an option!! This Christmas, choose local, but more importantly choose Fair Food, because its how our food is produced that matters! Find your local Fair Food Farmer and support the farmers farming in harmony with nature to bring nourishing food to our tables.
Get stuck into soil!
Soil, that few inches thick layer that covers our Planet, often referred to as mud and dirt, is a living, breathing thing. They say one handful of soil contains more life then there are humans on the Earth. A healthy soil is vital for healthy food. Soil filters and stores water; hosts a quarters of Earth’s biodiversity and has a vital role to play in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Despite all that, soil in under threat. Under threat from intensive agriculture, industrialisation, and urbanisation. Experts predict that at this rate, we have less than 60 years of topsoil left. It takes 1000+ years to form 1 cm of soil…… It’s time to get our hands dirty. We’ve compiled a to do list to help you get stuck into soil; Watch These two short films are great for a quick overview of soil matters & soil solutions. 1. 2. Watch this fantastic, inspiring, night in by the fire kinda film – The Symphony of the Soil 3. Soil is vital to our food nutritional security. The farmers on our Fair Food Finder know this. Working to repair, conserve, protect and build soil for plant, animal and human health. Sit […]
The power of creating community around food
From community Gardening to Social and therapeutic Horticulture and Citizen Science. Dee Sewell is a leading activist in the environmental movement. We’re deeply inspired by her drive to connect communities to food and to create wellbeing in nature. Dee, how did you get involved in the environmental movement? I first became aware of global environmental problems over 40 years ago. I joined activist groups and constantly bombarded my MP with handwritten letters. I moved to Ireland 20 years ago with my husband and in 2009 started Greenside Up with the aim of helping people live more sustainable lifestyles. Gardening and building community are your passion and there’s a lot to say about the benefits of gardening. Please tell us more about how Social and Therapeutic Horticulture can benefit individuals and communities. Historically Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) has been quite evident throughout Ireland but in recent years, it has become much more so as we begin to understand the biophilia effect of experiencing nature. STH uses plants, gardens and nature to improve mental and physical health, as well as social skills as we mix with one another in community environments. When health and well-being are at the core of a […]
Consumers; Powerful & Powerless
The last 12 months of sales, special offers, all things red signage that’s been calling us all into the temples of consumption, culminates once more into one day of sales to end all sales, Black Friday! Are you ready? Have you attended the commercial church already; played your part as a good consumer? Did you discover the ‘means to happiness’ in there? Or will you wake up feeling likes it’s a Damp Squib Saturday wondering why life just isn’t all at once, perfect? No need to worry, our modern socio-economic world promises redemption, Cyber Monday. Seek again the ‘means to happiness’ from the comfort of your home. Busy Monday?! Fear not though, absolution can be sought throughout December, and for those of us who don’t practice consumerism enough, January Sales aren’t far behind. There are numerous opportunities to be a good consumer. I, the consumer In fact, we don’t have to do much to be good consumers. Josh Pasek, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, at the University of Michigan states we consumers need only act in ‘response to economic incentives’. Our life is about transactions and we good consumers merely hold the product or service provider responsible for ensuring that […]
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” Meet a Farmer
“I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything, But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do” – Edward Everett Hale. Meet Fair Food Farmer Kate from An Ghrian Glas Farm in Westmeath. An ecologist by trade and in heart, she did what many of us say when thinking about issues in food, farming and the Natural World; she decided to be the change she wanted to see in the world….. Tell us a little about you? We are a small 9 acre market garden. While we are not certified we do not use any synthetic chemicals, fertilisers or pesticides. We have only just begun, having started one year ago. Prior to farming, I am a trained ecologist and have worked in environmental education and advocacy. After ten years of teaching people about how to protect our environment, I wished to take action myself. Aside from producing healthy, local and chemical free food, the other main focus of our farm is encouraging biodiversity, protecting wildlife and food security in a changing climate. To this end we are creating wildflower meadows, […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 7
In this podcast episode we chat with Jason Horner of Leen Organics in Clare about his journey into farming, the Organic Growers of Ireland group, the Small Growers network and the Future Growers Internship. In Ireland, less then 2% of land under agri-production is organic and only 1% is used to cultivate vegetables. Add to this the staggering levels of imported fruit and vegetables and the fact only 6% of Irish farmers are under 35 years, means we find ourselves asking that same question again; who will grow our food and where? If you’d like to become a Future Grower, join the OGI, Foodture, Gorse Farm and others at the annual OGI Conference get your tickets available at NOTS.ie Follow the adventures of one of this years interns, Jermey in his Growers Diary Series Help us nurture a culture of food citizenship, share our content and tell us your thoughts in the comments section. Donation box:
“What you do makes a difference…..” Meet a Farmer
“What you do makes a difference….you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” – Jane Goodall. Meet the two women behind Gorse Farm. Jenny & Janet, driven by a passion for organic, health food took a leap of faith in 2015 and started their own market garden. They work in harmony with nature to produce fair food for their local community! Know your farmer,know your food. Tell us a little about Gorse Farm: Gorse Farm is a market garden, located in Bunclody on the border between the counties of Carlow and Wexford. The garden is run by us, Jenny Watkins and Janet Power, both Organic enthusiasts with a passion for healthy natural foods. The vegetable garden operates within the Organic standards and received full Organic Certification in February 2018. The idea for Gorse Farm came about when Jenny and I, both graduates of the Organic College in Dromcollogher Co. Limerick, decided to bring our skills together and establish an organic vegetable farm in the sunny south east. The farm is located in a very scenic spot looking out at Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs mountain range. The project began in the winter of 2015/2016 with the […]
Could you eat local for 30 days or more?
Could you eat a diet consisting of only local food? Im not talking about the food you buy in a local store. I mean truly local, seasonal food direct from a farm or food producer? Well that’s what Lisa Fingleton asked herself and set about doing over 3 years ago…… Tell us a little about you: I am an artist, writer and grower. I live with my partner Rena Blake on an organic farm near the sea in Ballybunion. I am passionate about eating local food and the power of communities to live sustainably in harmony with nature. How did the 30 day local food project come about? One day I bought a BLT sandwich in a petrol station and I couldn’t believe that there were over 40 listed ingredients from all over the world including such things as Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, xanthan gum, emulsifier and stabilisers. I started to think about the journey of a sandwich and where all these ingredients come from. It felt like this sandwich connected me to so many places, people, plants and animals from all over the planet. I started to think about the energy needed to bring this sandwich to me; all […]
What is Bioregionalism?
Bioregionalism is a cultural, political, and environmental movement that promotes the recognition and use of naturally occuring bioregions as the basis for culturally and economically defined areas. These bioregions consist of areas which share physical and environmental features, such as topographical characteristics, soil type, watershed boundaries, climate, wildlife, and growing seasons. These environmental components directly influence the way in which humans living in the region interact among themselves and with the environment, and serve as the basis for the designation of their unique ecological region. Because these human, animal, and plant communities can only thrive when they work in tandem, this movement stress the importance of good environmental stewardship and sustainability farming practices that allow all lifeforms in the bioregion to live in balance. Bioregionalism and Environmentalism Similar in many regards to traditional environmental or ecological ideologies, bioregionalist practices differ in that they are proactive in nature and generally seek to promote a balanced, harmonious, and mutually beneficial relationship between human communities and their environment. Unlike more conventional environmental movements, bioregionalism does not portray human culture and industry as quintessentially destructive and harmful to their local environments, nor does it insist that nature is inherently victimized by human activity. Instead, […]
A Grower’s Diary; orchard thieves & hungry ladybirds
Dive into the adventures & musings of Future Grower, Jeremy on the OGI Intenship at Moyleabbey Farm Tuesday September 18th Ladybirds clamber everywhere: apples, scallion stalks, the overgrown grass. Today they turn up in the washroom, clinging to freshly-harvested vegetables, busy in pursuit of their next meal. Some years ago, I spent a J1 summer on Long Island, slumming it in the kitchen of a seaside restaurant called the Surfside Inn. On July 4th, while I was busy cleaning the grimy underside of a fridge, the rest of the staff tuned in to watch Joey Chestnut chow down 66 hotdogs and buns in 12 minutes. It was a new world record. He was subsequently crowned a Major League Eating champion. The common ladybird is a voracious eater too. On average, a ladybird will eat its way through 50 aphids or more in a day. Almost twice its own bodyweight. Joey Chestnut has nothing on these spotted juggernauts. Tuesday October 2nd The air is crisp, the sky is lead. Everywhere, leaves peel to drift down in confetti shades of gold and red. I clamber up a ladder and pluck sunburst globules of fruit in my hand, until the carry-bag on […]
Responsible living and seaweed
It’s always nice to come across other blogs where people share insights on their own food citizenship journey. One of these is the blog of Isabel. Her blog is for people who care (about others, about the environment, about themselves). We really like what she does and decided to ask her a few questions. Isabel please tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been involved in sustainability activities. I live in Dublin & have always lived in the city. When I was a child my parents used to have an allotment, so I’ve been used to eat seasonal fruit and veg from a young age. I also spent a lot of time with relatives in rural France, with large fruit and wine farms nearby. Seeing the chemicals sprayed onto the fields and the fact that the farmers themselves often had separate gardens/ trees for their own needs which they didn’t treat certainly made an impression on me. You write a blog (sustainableresponsibleliving.com) which was finalist in this years Irish blog awards. Why did you start the blog and what are the topics you focus on? Yes, being a finalist was bit of a surprise, I started the […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 6
Pádraic Fogarty’s highly acclaimed book “Whittled away – Ireland’s vanishing nature” gives a shocking overview of the current state of biodiversity in Ireland. In this episode, we met with Pádraic to discuss the reasons behind the decline, loss of species and most importantly, to shed light on what can be done to halt it! Get his book here and follow Pádraic on Twitter: @whittledaway Check out the Irish Wildlife Trust and the work they do here If you like our podcast please do support our work through our patreon page or by joining foodture as a supporting member here. Every little helps……. Do you produce Fair Food? Get involved, be found, be heard, be seen – tell all your story, join us! Email us at email@example.com for a chat.
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient & most worthy” Meet a Farmer
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope” – Wendell Berry Meet trailblazers Mimi & Owen from Crawford’s Farm in Tipperary. Driven by a passion for authentic, seasonal, local food and using regenerative practices, Crawford’s are bringing wholesome, raw, nourishing foods to the table. Mimi shared with us what makes them Fair Food Farmers. When you choose to support farmers like Mimi & Owen, you are taking the first steps towards building a sustainable, fairer food system. In a world where industrialisation and specialisation in agriculture is referred to as modern and efficient, Crawford’s show us otherwise. They challenge that assumption and show us that with some hard work, a love of the land, respect for your animals and soil that not only can you make a living from a small patch of land, you can feed a community, holistically and sustainably Tell us a little about Crawford’s Farm American girl meets Irish farmer and five years later, Crawford’s Farm is born! We are small, artisan farmers undertaking the production of wholesome, organic, craft […]
Shifting Diets; What is the substitution effect?
Many of us have seen, read or heard that to save the world we must all follow a vegan diet. In response you’ve most likely seen, read or heard that veganism isn’t the answer. Headlines are there to grab our attention, to entice us to open the link, buy the paper, watch the documentary. Any mention of this topic online can bring out the worst in us. Conversations end up stifled by strong points of view (on both sides). There is very little space left for balance or discussion around what is a sustainable diet. Life is busy and choosing what to eat for yours and the planet’s health can be confusing. Too often we fall fowl of simple narratives. They work in our busy, noisy world. And so we find ourself battling over ‘shifting diets’ one way or the other. Everyone has an opinion on the matter. But I’m not here to give you mine. I hope instead to broaden the conversation enough that instead of having to choose between two polar ends, we can find a middle that’s fair, to people and place. SHEP’s sub’s bench SHEP is shorthand for sustainable, healthy eating patterns. We have some definitions […]
Building Common Ground in Bray
The power of grassroots movements cannot be overemphasized. When people sharing a common vision get together, wonderful things can come into creation; benefitting not only the people but also the planet. Common Ground in Bray is one of these examples. We asked Ciara Brehony to tell us more about the roots and shoots of the project. What is Common Ground and how did it start? Common Ground began in January 2013 with a group of friends in the Bray area getting together with the idea to bulk buy wholefoods. The conversation about how to feed our families wholesome, affordable food had been a recurring theme for years and, inspired by the Dublin Food Co-op, we finally decided to do something about it. In the beginning, we would meet in local cafes and bars around the town every week, to discuss ideas about living more sustainably, our impact on the planet, and what we could do about it. Our monthly food order would be unloaded out of the back of a truck down ally ways! At that point it was really just about creating a space for these conversations to happen – it was very exciting though, that feeling of taking […]
What Do We Exactly Mean When We Say Food is Ethical?
By definition, the word “ethics” has a pretty straight-forward meaning. Essentially, it is a series of moral principles that govern an individual’s behaviors and actions. It acts as a dividing line between what’s considered “right” and “wrong.” Ethics applies to many areas of life. But one of its more recent applications is in the food industry. Combining the words “ethics” and “food” seems like it should be simple, but it’s in fact a complex topic that’s the subject of much debate. Ultimately, food ethics encompasses ethics in a variety of areas, including animal ethics, environmental ethics, and ethics related to food industry employment and food distribution. What is considered “right” and “wrong” in these areas varies widely based on personal beliefs, geographical location, and societal norms. Animal Ethics One area that influences the topic of food ethics is animal ethics. The term “animal ethics” is one that’s primarily used in academia to describe the relationship between humans and non-human animals. This relationship is an ideal model of how animals should be treated, which is with respect, kindness, and consideration. But the proper treatment for animals, especially animals designed for human consumption, is seen through many different lenses. Some people (and […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 5
This week we spoke to Sean O’Farrell from Cloncannon Biofarm. He shared with us the story of his journey from conventional to organic farming and told us more about the educational programs for primary, transition year and senior cycle students that he runs on his farm in Tipperary. You can vote for Sean to receive the farming for Nature Award here and you can find more details about how to find him on the Fair Food Finder
A growers diary; It always comes back to the ‘dirt’
Join us once more as we delve into the life of a future grower. Jeremy takes us yet again on a vivid and fantastic literary journey to discover that it all relies on ‘dirt’…… Friday August 17th All day long, wasps cluster on chunks of decaying fruit left out for the compost pile. Sometimes they fly up and buzz around the colours on our clothes. We tense up and brush at them with cautious hands. Inside the cold store, on a steel shelf, a wasp is dying. I step closer, until my eyes are no more than an inch from her’s. The details of her slender body snap into sharp focus: her heart-shaped face with its black-and-yellow warpaint; her powerful mandibles slowly opening and shutting in pained gasps; her probiscus licking air one last time. Seconds pass. I watch the life fizz out of her chitinous body until her nimble legs go still. I hesitate to lift the corpse, before gingerly pinching a wing. Avoiding the venomous needle protruding from her backside, I lift her feather-weight between thumb and forefinger and flick her into a copse of ragwort outside the door. For most of her life, this wasp was a ravenous […]
Weekend shopping at farmer’s markets
The weekend is approaching and as every week we’ll have to figure out with what to fill our fridge and pantry. Grocery shopping can be a fun and relaxing activity when visiting a farmer’s market or buying directly from a farm. A time to get inspired for your next recipes, to have a chat with your local farmer, your neighbour and strangers. Here you can meet real people, people passionate about the food they produce and eat. They are family friendly places far away from the neon-lighted labyrinths of supermarkets, where clever marketers lure us into buying more than we need and so-called food made by machines using questionable ingredients. Our own health, the well-being of our families and our planet are worth that we purchase food that was produced in harmony with nature in a chemical-free way. This food has usually one specific ingredient that industrial food is lacking – LOVE! Here’s a list of where you can find foodture’s fair food farmers. Each one of them who joined us and is on our fair food finder had to answer a bunch of questions about how they produce their food. If you want to know more about how they […]
Films to inform and inspire a food citizen journey
Our food system is broken. Most of us know everything is not ok, but what exactly is broken? How did we get here? Why do we produce enough food to feed the world and yet 800 million continue to go hungry every night, 2 billion people are obese or overweight and 2.1 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Modern day agriculture is the 2nd largest contributor to climate change. It both relies on and alters the environment and is the biggest user of our natural resources. We have ever efficient long food supply chains but it’s not resilient – remember Breadmageddon. Whatsmore, few farmers earn a living wage adding to our global woes whereby we now face a future of fewer farmers, so who will farm in the future? We’ve compiled a list of films to inform, outrage, educate and raise debate. No documentary is perfect or unbiased, but each shines a spotlight on our centralised, industrialised food system faults and leave you in no doubt that all is not well! Yet, all is not lost. We’ve split our list. Part Two intends to inspire! To inspire action in taking your first steps on your journey of food citizenship […]
Buying clubs vs. retail therapy
Ideally we’ll be all eating healthy sustainably produced products. While it’s easier to find your local fair food farmer (just use the fair food finder!) it’s far more difficult to source all the other products we use on a daily basis, that don’t grow locally, from sustainable producers. Supermarkets usually just have a small range of those products and we can’t be really sure that the producers get a fair price. But there’s an alternative that can cut costs and lets us enjoy fair food: bulk buying clubs. They’re not a new phenomenon but they don’t seem to be very visible in the public eye. Many people don’t even know they exist. That’s why we talked to the Dublin based pop-up wholefoods collective and asked them to tell us more about the benefits of joining or forming a buying club. What is the Pop-up Wholefoods Collective and how did it come into being? The group began in 2012 and, at that time, it simply brought together five people who wanted to save money and packaging waste by bulk buying organic wholefoods. We grew a little larger by word-of-mouth but, heading into this year, we decided that we wanted to […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 4
In this episode we spoke to Liam from Moyelabbey organic farm in Co. Kildare about his journey into growing food, the benefits of selling direct at farmers markets and how we can work together with farmers to become more sustainable. You can find more info about Moyleabbey farm on our Fair Food Finder here If you like our new podcast please do support our work through our patreon page or by joining foodture as a supporting member here. Do you produce Fair Food? Get involved, be found, be heard, be seen – tell all your story, join us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat.
Are we facing a potato crisis?
At my last CSA veg pickup, I overheard a conversation about the looming potato shortage due to the drought conditions during this summer. After digging a bit deeper it seems like the fears are founded on a real basis. Potato is a thirsty crop which needs large amounts of water during its growth phase. As we experienced a wonderful summer it hit the potato at a crucial time in its growth. With the consequence of reduced harvest quantities and smaller crops. I found various articles dealing with the problem, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, the UK and Ireland. Especially crisp and chips producers who rely on large potato sizes are already ringing the alarm bells. They now consider using smaller crops for their processed products. Which could result in shorter chips at higher prices. Retailers are also considering increasing the availability of “wonky potatoes”. This is good news when it comes to food waste. In times of shortage it seems we find back to our common sense that we should be less wasteful and more appreciative of what we have. We need more diverse diets This year’s drought and the long winter beforehand which shortened the growing season has […]
A Growers Diary; Future Farmers, Fair Food Futures
Venture down the road with Jermey’s in his latest growers diary installment. This time we get a sneak peek into the study side of the Future Growers internship and hear again about the shifting demographics of Irelands growers. With only % of Irish farmers under the age of 36years, its exciting to hear that already next years internship is in demand! Tuesday July 3rd I set off for the orchard, ready for battle. In the shade of the apple trees, nettles stand tall in endless regiments, armed with their countless stinging barbs. Ragwort clusters among the long blades of grass, peeping with piss-tinged eyes, eager to colonise. I am armed with a strimmer, topped to the brim with fuel. Rain-proof dungarees lend me an impermeable armour. I cut noisy swathes in the nettled grass, clearing wide circles around the base of every tree to protect them from the choking reach of the undergrowth. Under the heavy waterproofs and the relentless sun, I begin to swelter. The grass, in some places, is chest high. Felling it with my small strimmer begins to feel like a quixotic task. I toss my armour aside and press on in my shorts. Eventually the nettles […]
Simple ways to reduce your plastic waste footprint
Plastic waste represents one of the major pollution issues on earth today. Especially marine wildlife suffers from our over-consumption of disposable plastic items and packaging. Researchers estimate that 90% of seabirds around the world are eating plastic, this number is said to increase to 100% in the next decade. Many animals die dreadfully due to the consequences of plastic ingestion. Sharp plastic parts perforate their guts and young birds small stomachs can’t hold food as they are filled up with plastic pieces. But also other animals are affected, including humans. The fish on our plates is increasingly contaminated with plastic and it’s uncertain which effect it has on our health. By 2050 it’s said that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. Nonetheless, if this shocking figure will turn out to be true or not, we now need to act collectively to reduce the amount of plastic we use and dispose of. Foodture wants to help Food Citizens to make better food buying decisions and shows you 6 simple ways how you can start reducing plastic waste when grocery shopping. Of course our combined efforts can’t stop here, but if you’re thinking to change your habits […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 3
In Episode 3 of the foodture Food Citizenship podcast we travelled to Scarriff in Co. Clare to visit the beautiful grounds of the Irish Seed Savers. They are the keepers of the public Irish seed bank and preserve many apple and other fruit tree varieties in their orchard. Irish Seed Savers play a vital role in preserving vegetable seeds that are suitable for the Irish climate which becomes increasingly important in times of climate change. If you want to support their work, please visit their website here or join one of their many interesting workshops and events in Clare more info here. If you like our new podcast please do support our work through our patreon page or by joining foodture as a supporting member here. Do you produce Fair Food? Get involved, be found, be heard, be seen – tell all your story, join us! Email us at email@example.com for a chat.
WATCH: Momo’s Flavours of home
“Food is not just about fuel, food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity….Serve the kind of food you know the story behind” – Michael Pollan Join Kamila of Momo’s restaurants September 8th from 8pm. As part of the Waterfood Harvest festival, Kamila will be bringing flavours of her home to the restaurant. Kamila, a true locavore and passionate advocate for local fair food from Waterfood, which is why she appeared in one of our Fair Food Ambassador film series; Discover more and book your tickets here:
A Chef’s Manifesto for a fairer food future
“Cooking is one of the oldest arts and one which has rendered us the most important service in civic life” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist argued that humans evolved to eat cooked foods. Cooking made food softer, easier to digest and as such paved our evolutionary path to being Homo erectus. Wrangham coined the term Cookivores – a walking, big brained, cooking and eating Human! His theory is debatable, but I like the idea that one random day, we set off a spark that led to us ‘heating’ our food, to where we are today with a Chef’s Manifesto to aid the Sustainable Development Goals! Conor Spacey, Executive Head Chef at FoodSpace Ireland tells us a little about the Chefs Manifesto. Tell us a little about you Chef Born in the Sunny South East coast of Ireland, I was raised from an early age to know where ingredients came from, what grew in the seasons and respect for food. With 27 years cooking in kitchens I have always focussed on seasonal, local and sustainable foods. Working within communities to help build a circular economy around our kitchens. Using local, seasonal and fresh foods as the bases […]
“Let the beauty we love be what we do”; Ireland’s Homesteaders
Rumi, the Famous Persian Poet is said to have written “Let the beauty we love be what we do – Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love, it will not lead you astray”. Figuring out what you really value in life, being true to yourself, focusing on this work, taking the plunge to live (and I don’t particularly like using this word!) ‘alternatively’, affords a certain sense of peace. Modern life is noisy, busy and pressure filled. At foodture we want to highlight the ‘alternatives’ to this, from choosing food, choosing rural life to choosing the agrarian life; we share the stories of those who have taken a step to living fair in more ways than one. In Ireland less than 6% or our farmers are under 35years of age. This begs the question, who will farm in the future? Whatsmore, with more and more ‘marginal land’ under pressure from Sitka Spruce, perhaps ‘Homesteaders’ will help rejuvenate rural areas and go on to become your local Fair Food Farmer….. Meet Biddy and Jimmy from Homestead Ériu Tell us a bit about yourself: We are Biddy & Jimmy, both originally from Navan county Meath […]
Eat your greens…..much more than a side dressing
Ever been served a salad found clinging to the side of a plate, looking a little limp perhaps, smothered in dressing or garnished with a quarter tomato, red onion and some cheese and onion crisps…… When not trying to make it look like you eat salad because you’re a healthy eater, it’s often pushed aside and and left to waste! Sure it’s only salad leaves…… Food citizenship is about awareness, reconnecting and making food choices that support the world you want to live in! If you knew the work that went into nourishing the soil that grows the salad and the labour of love in harvesting and preparing salad – would you just leave yours to one side? Salad Harvest by Shane McHale, OGI Future Grower As a farm that sells direct to restaurants it’s crucial that our produce is of the highest quality and reaches the chef’s kitchen and the customers plate as fresh as possible. As a result much of our produce must be harvested, packed and delivered on the same day. This creates challenges for our work, one of which is the 5am start time that has now become the norm for me on a Friday! It’s […]
Eating healthy, food affordability, a living wage for all
Sometimes it is difficult to “start the conversations that matter”. In our online world, a message can easily be taken on board incorrectly, or the context of the discussion gets losts. Farm fresh food and affordability is one of those conversations. Few days pass where we’re not asked; “what about those of us who can’t afford to buy fresh food, or organic food, or purchase at a farmers market?”. In discussions of this nature, it’s impossible not to come to the same conclusion everytime – there are few who earn whats known as a “living wage” whereby we can afford to spent more on food, shelter, healthcare… However, the same is true for the farmer, few earn the “living wage”. So how to we transition to a point where both food citizen and farmer earn a living wage? Perhaps the first step is to reconnect to the value of food, the role it plays in our daily lives, health, well-being and therefore the role the farmer plays in our lives? If farmers can’t afford to stay on the land – who will farm in the future? What will our food choices be in such a future? Will our globalised food […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 2
In Episode 2 of our Food Citizenship Podcast, together with Dave Beecher AKA The Soil Preacher, we explore what’s happening below our feet to discover a fascinating microcosm that tell us soil health is vital for our own health. Dave has an interesting story to tell on how he followed his call to become an expert in soil health. His engaging way of teaching makes it easy to understand the complexity of what happens in our soils; making it impossible not to be fascinated by it all. Listen in and explore why as food citizens we should choose food from farmers who nourish people and place through good soil practices! If you’d like to join one of Dave’s soil course you can contact and follow him here: facebook.com/daveybeech twitter: @davebeechersoil If you like our new podcast please do support our work through our patreon page or by joining foodture as a supporting member here. Do you produce Fair Food? Get involved, be found, be heard, be seen – tell all your story, join us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat.
Learning to love the land…
We live in an era where we really don’t know anymore who produces our food, how it was produced or what impact that food has on the environment and the farmers who supply it. Our disconnect to the agricultural world means we’ve succumbed to be directed in our buying and eating decisions. Everyone is competing for our attention. We are bombarded with marketing messages about food, food producers and diets. Modern life is noisy and food, choosing what to buy and what to eat is a deafening space. Labels scream local, sustainable, artisan, craft, healthy, real foods…these words are used so frequently that they often lose their meaning. foodture was founded with one objective in mind; to reconnect people with their food, where it comes from, who made it and how it was produced. But knowledge is one thing, access is another. And so we creating a map where you can find the farmers who nourish us, learn more about them and connect directly with them to purchase their food. Samantha, the author of Love the Land blog came across our work and mentioned us in a blog she wrote about finding farmers. Samantha writes through a food nutrition lense and […]
Falling Fruit & food waste
Did you know that 1/3 of all food produced in the world goes to waste? That’s a waste of labour, love, resources and more! In Ireland alone we waste over 1 million tonnes of food every year! On average every household wastes 1 ton of food, costing you from 400Eur to 1000Eur a year! Yet, the fruit growing on the backyard garden tree or the berries that grow along our hedges often slip through the cracks; both literally and when calculating food waste. However, there is an organisation in Ireland working with others to change that! Meet Bernie from Falling Fruit…. Tell us a bit about yourself; I am a mother and a grandmother, originally from Mayo but living in Dublin for most of my adult life. I qualified as a yoga instructor and holistic therapist in my 20s and worked in this field for several years. Now I focus on sustainability and eco-activism. My day job is assisting tourists who are victims of crime. What led you to where you are today working with Falling Fruit? My background in holistic therapies led to eco-spirituality and a deep care for environmental and climate change issues as well as the issue […]
Why should we buy food from fair food farmers?
Fair food fulfils our need for healthy, nutritious, affordable food without compromising the health of our planet or the livelihood of farmers; ensuring that future generations will be able to feed themselves in the same way. That’s why here at foodture we help you to find Fair Food farmers in Ireland! There are many reasons why we should buy food from farmers who farm in harmony with nature: 1. Shorter transport routes Transportation based on fossil fuel needs to be reduced as we transition to a low carbon future. Citizens can contribute to reduce green-house gases from this sector by buying local, sustainably produced food. Buying directly from a local fair food farmer means that the produce still has it’s full nutrients and flavour, which get lost through long transport routes and cooling chains. It also means that it’s not wrapped in harmful plastic packaging, reducing food and plastic waste. 2. Cooking in season Reducing the amount of processed food on our tables has tremendous benefits for our health and the environment. We learn to reconnect to the seasons and regain skills in cooking and preserving. Many would argue that there is no time for cooking but once we get […]
A Growers Diary……feeling hot, hot, hot!
The heat! From feeling hot in the tunnels, to hot debates in the farm shop, Jermey an OGI Future Grower of Ireland gives us the low-down from the farm Tuesday May 29th The country is abuzz with a heatwave. Everywhere the soil is dry and crumbly underfoot. Irrigation pipes snake the hollows between drills of sweetcorn and sprayers wet the thirsty brassicas. I work sluggishly, my mouth dry, blinking sweat from my eyes. I look up into the azure sky and, for the first time in my life, feel the twinge of anxiety familiar to farmers across the world. What if the rain never comes? Later, my mobile rings in my pocket. A Whatsapp message from a fellow OGI apprentice sums it up: The heat! It’s like farming in the heart of the sun. Thursday June 5th The polytunnel fills with the sound of breaking limbs and we are the green-fingered killers. Plucked leaves and side shoots litter the walkways. By the time we are finished, the shorn bodies twist around lines of blue twine that hang taut from the ceiling, strung up like so many captive hostages. The air is thick with the pong of tomato. In the neighbouring […]
Supermarkets are boring places
Nathalie one of the co-founders of foodture is also a fervent supporter of Community Supported Agriculture and tells us in this article why she’s so passionate about it. The first time somebody mentioned Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to me was at a permaculture course in Cloughjordan Eco-village. I inquired where I could buy sustainably produced food in Dublin and one of my fellow permaculturists told me about the Dublin CSA. The concept was completely new to me but I was hooked immediately. One farmer, 20 people, farm days, community, clean food and a lot of craic. I had been living in Ireland for 4 years at that point with minor success finding like-minded people. Mainly because I used to work for corporations where you don’t meet many people interested in sustainability, at least not where I worked. What made it even more perfect is that the weekly pickup point is located near where I live. The universe made it fairly easy for me to get into it! Since then I never looked back and am thankful about each delicious imperfectly shaped vegetable that ends up in my plate. Being part of a CSA is much more than ordering a veg-box. […]
Food Citizenship Podcast – Episode 1
We’re proud to present the first episode of our podcast series. We talked to Anna Cura from the Food Ethics Council in the UK about the fascinating research done on Food Citizenship. If you want to dive deeper into the topics we discussed, here are links to more material: Food Ethics Council The Food Citizenship Report New Citizenship Project Jon Alexander Podcast on BBC4 ‘Killing the Consumer’ If you like our new podcast please do support our work through our patreon page or by joining foodture as a supporting member here.
Dublin CSA in the season of extremes
Seamus from Dublin CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) gives us an insight on how he experienced the last few months, farming on his plot of land in Celbridge to provide the members of the CSA each week with seasonal produce. It’s been a funny old year weather wise so far. First we had the winter that would never end, now we’re in the middle of a severe drought. Despite the weather extremes Dublin CSA has been back in action a month and is getting into a rhythm again. The plot was covered in three to four foot of snow at the start of March but luckily there was no structural damage as a result. It just left the broad beans looking a bit worse for wear but they have recovered enough to feature in the share this week. Go beans! Interestingly, although the heatwave has proved a challenge for some crops, the heat lovers in the poly-tunnels are really sucking up the heat (48°C yesterday). The basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and gourd (thanks to Manuela from Sicily for the seeds) are all doing well. They are growing by the day and hopefully there’ll be tomatoes and cucumbers in the box soon. […]
The Green Door Market
One of our members Nurney Farm Organics is also one of the founders of the Green Door Market in Dublin. The market recently relocated to an exciting new venue in Bluebell and is now open every Tuesday to Sunday with a variety of fresh organic veg, meats, fish, breads and other tasty treats. Listen to some of the traders inviting you to visit the new venue. For more information on the Green Door Market, directions and opening hours click here Do you produce Fair Food? Want to join us, create your own profile and gain access to our HUB? Submit your interest or apply here Want to read, watch or hear more? Support our efforts. Contribute by clicking here
A Grower’s Diary…..Stage 2
Escape into the fields today. Get stuck into stage 2 of Jeremy’s refreshingly honest & funny Growers Diary You can read more about Jeremy here and catch up on his first diary update here also. Tuesday May 1st We begin the day hefting shovelfuls of chicken manure. It’s years old, desiccated to bone-dry dust. The drizzle paints it tar-black while Liam trundles along in his bright red Massey Ferguson 35, spilling mounds from the rear-end loader. The waiting piles are pocked with shrunken feathers and the odd withered egg. While we walk behind the tractor and shovel it over the surface of the freshly-tilled soil, the wind slings the stuff right back in our faces. In the evening, when my wife picks me up, she tells me I smell like a barn. Wednesday May 2nd When the rotating sprinkler is switched on inside the polytunnel, the swish of water against the plastic walls evokes the sound of crashing waves. The busy tick-tick-tick of the shutter mechanism mimics the rustling of cicadas. With the pong of humid earth in my nostrils, it all sounds positively Mediterranean. If I close my eyes and ignore the chill in my toes, I could be […]
Building pathways of transition….
Have you heard? Climate change needs behaviour change! Simple as changing your attitude, acting differently and you’ll save the world! Its true and yet it’s not that simple. Even when you decide to act differently, your environment may influence your ability to act out your action more than you simply deciding to make the action…..tongue twisting, head spinner I know! Many small individual actions can create a ripple of change but for real progressive, lasting systems change we need collaborative action that builds community. A renewed supporting environment that makes all those little actions easier for you and others! We need to work together, talk together, meet up, argue and listen, start conversations that matter! We need to change the dominant story that frames many of our actions…… we need to hear from everyday citizens doing small acts, collaboratively with others. We need stories of citizen action in real-time, stories of change! Meet Dermot from Monaghan Transitions Town; Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m from Monaghan Town, I’m married to Lynn and have two girls under 7. Traditional music, the Irish language, surfing and writing are passions of mine – I post my material at www.dermymcnally.com and have written […]
Plough like an Ox; Seasonal Update from Eamonn’s farm
Last year when we started sharing the stories of Fair Food Farmers, we were lucky enough to visit Eamonn & Geraldine’s farm in Mayo. Before we share their seasonal update, we thought it might be nice to revisit their short film and story. Eamonn spoke straight from the heart and wasn’t afraid to start a conversation that matters! Our food system is broken, we need to find a balanced approach to both feeding ourselves and the global population a diverse diets where the farmers are paid a fair price to farm in harmony with nature. If you produce Fair Food, get in touch email@example.com – We’d love to have a chat with you and share your story. Seasonal update; We had a very long winter, meaning Spring was very slow to start this year. That said, there were still enough dry days for Eamonn to get the ploughing and harrowing done. He has started to use our house cow to do the tillage. Her first job was harrowing and she took to it like a duck to water!. He also made up the drills and planted the potatoes using cow power. His job at the moment is weed control and […]
Working for a purpose: why choose the farm life
The notion of returning to the land is beginning to gain more traction among us ‘millennials’. It’s not because the hours are better or the work is easier, try standing straight after weeding for a couple of hours or the heartache when an animal falls ill or worse. It’s most definitely not the pay-package or chance of pension benefits that attracts people. It’s because we feel a deep connection to the land & nature……. Or is that the old way of thinking? There is no doubt you must love being outdoors, appreciate nature, working the soil and having people give you funny looks when you refer to your cows as ‘the ladies’ or hear you singing to your tomatoes. I feel it’s all that and more. More of us are being to see that there is an opportunity to carve out a lifestyle that we actually want to live. Not one dictated by modern social norms and values, where the pressure is on to hit them ‘success’ milestones, house by 30, big car, promotions, moving up the property ladder again, wearing the latest designer attire.…. I feel (and please correct me otherwise in the comments) more and more of us […]
Music and activism for a harmonious future
Can singing change the world? It can definitely change something inside of ourselves and bring us nearer together as communities. Our next food citizen is an activist and singer and she will explain how these two activities fit together in her own life. Hi my name is Rachel. I’m 45 and grew up in Glenageary in South County Dublin. I first got involved in sustainability activities when I was in secondary school when my geography teacher set up a school green group. You’re working as an educator in LYCS. Can you tell us a bit more about your work there and how it relates to food citizenship? In LYCS we provide training for leaders to start educating about the big local/global issues that matter, with people in their own local communities across Ireland. Sometimes big issues such as inequality, globalisation and sustainability feel to intangible to some, so we provide ideas about interactive methodologies and help to make it more feasible. One of of the themes we’ve been working on for several years is food and food citizenship. Food links us to people all over the world, and by understanding our food system, we can get to grips with this […]
World Environment Day: Beating plastic pollution & the food supply chain
Since it began in 1974, World Environment Day is an UN initiative that encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. This year’s theme is beating plastic pollution. Plastic is everywhere. The keyboard I’m typing on, the tea bag used to make my tea, the carton that contained the milk, the cover on my phone, the polyester in my t-shirt, the pen I used to take notes, most likely in the fish I’ll eat this evening, even in the air I breathe! We are undoubtedly, wallowing in our own waste. Plastic is killing our environment and in turn us. No doubt you’ve seen photos circling online of whales washing up on beaches with stomachs full of plastics. Earlier this year, researchers from NUI Galway found that over 70% of deep water fish have ingested plastics. When fish eat plastics, it enters our food chains and eventually us. Worryingly, plastics contain endocrine disruptors, which can be carcinogenic. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” fits well here. What does not end up in the ocean, goes to landfill, or another country for them to deal with or incinerated. As one of our Food Citizens said “rubbish […]
Meet a Farmer; Nurney Farm
Have you met Deirdre and Co at Nurney farm in Kildare? We visited the farm for the OGI’s internship induction day and Deirdre was good enough to bring us around the farm and feed us some excellent Fair Food For those of you in and around the capital, perhaps you’ve been to the Green Door Market in Dublin 8? Did you know that the market, along wth four other markets have to move! We’ll be chatting with the Green Door Market stall holders and the citizens who support them this Sunday (June 3rd). Sign up to our newsletter to hear whats happening and what the next steps for market are. For now though, enjoy Nurney Farm’s story and what Deirdre & Co have been up to in their seasonal update. Our Story We are organic farmers for 28 years with a 40 acre farm in North Kildare. We import and grow our own range of Fruit and vegetables. We sell in Trim farmers market , in our own farm shop and in The Green Door Market in Dublin. We are a small farm and we employ 4 full time staff on decent wages. We’d also have part time college students […]
A Grower’s Diary…..
A few weeks back, Jeremy a Future Grower Intern shared his story with us. Since he began his horticulture internship he has keeping a growers diary about the trails, tales and tribulations of life on an Irish organic farm! Remember, ‘to eat is an agriculture act’ (thanks Wendal!) So delve into the everyday happenings of a future grower of our food! Tuesday March 6th After four months of kitting out a home with farmyard salvage, it seems only right that I start with some DIY. My first task on the apprenticeship involves installing a line of piping for two new power hoses. Liam hands me a tool box. I spend the day with drill and screws in-hand. I am soon to learn how vital water is for every aspect of life on the farm. Hydrating the polytunnels; cleaning the freshly-harvested veg; washing the soil from the hard-worked tools. The whole farm would grind to a halt without it. Wednesday March 7th I cut my teeth in the carrot patch, spattered by falling rain and kneeling in wet mud. As I work, I decide the carrot will do nicely as an illustration for an address I’ve to deliver at my sister […]
Biodiversity & the ‘cow’ question; Gleann Buí Farm
It’s National Biodiversity Week and I thought I might share a little about our farm with you! We ventured back to the land only in the last couple of years and are still finding our feet! We don’t have it all figured out yet, but the one thing we both agreed on from the very start was we had to protect, conserve and manage this patch of land gifted to us! We’re lucky the land was never farm intensively and we take a holistic approach to managing it, so we can conserve & enhance this diverse meadow. Our cows are better for it also! My studies focused on geography, climate change, agriculture and the intersections between them. My work experience since I returned to university has been in policy and research. So how did I end up farming and managing cows of all things! Well in short it wasnt that I woke up one day and decided I’d farm, it’s kind of evolved and been a journey that I now find myself farming with my partner (It’s a two person operation here in Mayo!). I feel that my perspectives around farming and environmental degradation has shifted, for the better I […]
Why Recycling Matters
The new recycling guidelines have left many people confused about what goes towards recycling and what ends up in a landfill. Our next Food citizen is a Recycling Ambassador and helps people to have a better awareness of what happens to their waste and how to reduce their impact. In her interview she gave us an insight on how this awareness transcends into other areas of her life, impacting her buying decisions and her lifestyle. Hi, I’m Sundara. I’m from Galway originally in the west of Ireland and I’m in my mid 30’s. My journey towards sustainability has basically been slowly unfolding for a long time but I have only been active in the whole environmental side of things for about a year. Previously I worked in the area of health and nutrition and have been using natural and organic products for body/skincare/cleaning etc for about 15 years. I’ve been eating mainly local and organic food for about the same length of time. You’re a VOICE Ireland Recycling Ambassador. What led you to volunteer with them? I applied for the VOICE recycling ambassador program as I was gaining an increased awareness around the issues of plastic pollution, disposable single use […]
Managing livestock starts with managing the soil; Rare Ruminare Seasonal Update
Food is the bigger utilizer of our natural resources impacting climate change. In turn climate change impacts our ability to farm and this year farmers have felt it. This past few months you may have heard of the fodder crisis or the impact this winter has had on our farms. Growers have had to hold back on planting and livestock farmers have had to keep animals in for longer because the ground is still very wet. As our seasonal updates suggest, nature is never static and neither is farming so all farmers must ‘carry on’ regardless. Back on the land; Rare Ruminare Seasonal Update After a challenging winter, spring grazing the herd is pretty tricky. We are doing our best to graze carefully – aiming not to damage the ground or over-graze the fresh new growth while keeping the cattle well fed. Over the winter I planted approx 700 trees about half of which were hedging. When digging the planting holes, I continually discovered compaction and “iron-pans”. This discovery spurred me on to dig many more inspection holes throughout the fields. Despite my efforts to farm biologically and spread composted farmyard manure the soil, for the most part, has severe […]
Future Growers, free-range life and true triumphs!
Meet Noel, the coordinator of the OGI’s Future Grower horticulture internship. Noel is a part time farmer himself, managing free range pigs, chicken and growing vegetables on a half acre plot in Monaghan. The Organic Gowers Ireland (OGI), Future Grower internship is one of a kind! Interns gain invaluable insights to the sector, direct farm experience and can build lasting relationships with growers ‘new & old’. This year we’ll be introducing you to some of the future growers (see last weeks post here) who will be sharing their growers journey with us all. Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m 38 years old, from Co. Monaghan but currently living in Dublin while part time farming with a friend in Monaghan. We keep some free range pigs, hens and broilers and have a small 0.5 ac veg garden. We are experimenting with different fodder crops this years for winter feed. What led you to where you are today as an OGI co-ordinator? I had worked in the landscaping and horticulture sector for approx 12 years both at home and abroad and when I returned home permanently started working on an organic farm in Monaghan. I then attended the MSc course in […]
To save it, we must use it; Irish Seed Savers seasonal update
Did you know Irish Seed Savers is a working farm? They grow, nurture and save the heritage seeds of Ireland. Their work is vital for agro-biodiversity. Particularly under a changing climate. For millennia farmers have bred thousands of varieties of thousands of species of seed for food! Today, our seeds genetic diversity is threatened by the increasing homogenization in agricultural and food systems. Carrots weren’t always orange, most corn was multi-coloured and Ireland has rich history in apple varieties, a lot more then the two or three that have come to dominate the shelves today. From vegetables to grass, if “we want to save it – we must use more of it“. That’s what Irish Seed Savers do….. Over reliance on mono-crops will further exacerbate the vulnerabilities of farmers under threat from climate change. As identified by Biodiversity International, the key to strengthening the use of genetic resources and making it more sustainable is local seed saving systems. Irish Seed Savers not only identify underutilized genetic resources. They tests them by growing them. The also have farmers who grow seeds for them. Farmers like Eamonn McDonagh (watch more here). This allows for growing tests to be carried out in different […]
Future Growers; Going rural and the pull of the soil
Meet Jeremy, an OGI Future Grower intern. We met Jeremy at Nurneys Farm on his induction day. He is an intern at Moyelabbey Farm and will be sharing his journey with us over the next few months. Jeremy and his family, feeling the lure of the land left the capital city behind them and ventured back to the land and rural life. This is his story; My name is Jeremy Haworth. I am originally from Bray, Co. Wicklow. I am 32 years of age and married to Claire from Co. Laois. We have a two and a half year old daughter named Olwyn. What led you to where you are today as an OGI intern? I have always been interested in gardening and growing. My wife, Claire, grew up on a farm in Co. Laois. Roughly 40 acres of land has been given over to forestry. Assisting with the cultivation and management of the trees gave me a taste of hands-on outdoor work. Obeying the pull towards the soil, I began to search out opportunities to learn the craft of organic horticulture. One day, I decided to google the words, ‘organic horticulture apprenticeship’ and was utterly amazed (and delighted) to […]
Know your farmer, know how they farm; a seasonal update
Food Citizenship is defined as the practice of engaging in food-related behaviors that support, rather then threaten, the development of a democratic, socio-economically just and environmentally sustainable, fair food system. Put another way; Food citizenship refers to us citizens engaging with our food producers and how our food was produced so that we can make food choices that support the world we wish to live in! With this in mind; the goal of the stories we share is to awaken the food citizen in us all, to reconnect us with the agricultural world and how food is produced so that we can build strong community support for Fair Food and its producers for a new food-future With a change in the seasons (approaching?!) over the next weeks foodture’s Fair Food farmers will share with us the lastest goings on down on the farms. Nature is never static, so those who interact with her in the fields have to constantly change, adapt and ‘CARRY ON’. Update this week is from Glasraí farm in Mayo – you can learn more and connect with them here; Fair Food Glasrai Spring news from Glasraí farm….. Let me think…..where to start. We have a new […]
Living a zero-waste lifestyle
Zero-Waste is a buzzword that we keep on hearing more and more. Some Irish shops now offer plastic free bulk buying options or cafés offer discounts for people bringing their reusable coffee cups. It seems like living a plastic free life is slowly becoming a goal for many citizens; taking responsibility for the future of our planet. We talked to a Zero-Waste practitioner and got really excited about her practical tips on how to join the Zero-Waste movement. Hi, I’m Celia. I am Hungarian but I have been living all over Europe in the last 8 years. I am 32 now and aiming to get a PhD in Environmental Engineering, though nothing ‘zero-waste’ related. I have been involved in sustainability activities for only for a year now. You’re helping to organize the Zero Waste Festival. Please tell us a bit more what it is about can you define what zero-waste means and why you got involved. We are a non-profit and volunteer-based initiative organising events with stalls, info stands, workshops, talks and swap shops with the aim to educate and encourage people to reduce their waste and impact on the global environment. ‘Zero Waste’ seems to be a trendy term these […]
Growing new food futures in Community Gardens
After 4 years of building up an abandoned site beside the NCAD to an urban oasis, the Oliver Bond Street community garden group in Dublin 8 found a lock on their gate. We wanted to hear their story and met with Amanda McKnight, an engaged volunteer, and Tony Lowth who enchanted us with the tale of how the garden came to be. Engaged local citizens, horse keepers and café owners agreed to bring their organic waste to the site for composting. Through their combined efforts they created a mountain of fertile compost. The garden is now a pilot plot to show how to compost and grow food organically in no-dig beds by using local resources . No dig is a system where organic matter like manure, coffee grounds and food scraps are buried under a heap of compost. The decomposition process creates heat which kills off weeds and leaves a very fertile growing medium. The garden has produced tons of compost (Literally!) and grows up to 19 pounds of vegetables per square meter. This abundant harvest supplied community projects and the volunteers with healthy local food. A real urban farm to fork short circuit model. The future of the garden […]
The Sitka squeezed middle; who will farm and where in the future?
THE LONG READ: This past week we’ve seen concerns resurface on the continued expansion of commercial Sitka forests in Ireland. We’ve heard many talk of the pressures felt and placed on farmers of “marginal ground” to plant forestry. Non-native Sitka spruce continues to dominate and in most cases at the expense of what is referred to as HNV (high-nature-value) Farmland. A unique landscape, one underlying factor in its creation is how it has been farmed and grazed over generations. Mick’s farm is one of these extensive farms. The scramble continues Firstly, let’s be clear, no-one is against afforestation. We believe/ similar to other environmental, farming and community groups; it’s about creating a policy of afforestation that sees the right trees, in the right places. That could mean native trees in all places, incorporated into farmland. Serving the needs of both food production and carbon sequestration. It doesn’t have to be farming to the east, forestry to the west. Nature is diverse; our farm landscapes should be too. We need diverse, species rich, landscapes that aid not hinder biodiversity. Wide expansive mono-ryegrass fields, with overly-trimmed ‘hedges’ and blanket commercial forestry do not aid farming, the environment or what it’s all about, […]
The beast from the east has blown it wide open…
Often when we hear or think of food security we think of food shortages, rising populations, political instability, natural disasters, the inability to farm under extreme weather conditions all in some far flung place. A shortage of food on Irish shelves? Never! A run on the basics in case we can’t get to the supermarket? Looting on the streets?! Not at all! How mistaken were we…. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link… For some time now, a few have raised the issue of food security on the island of Ireland. It often falls on deaf ears. How could Ireland, with the agri-food sector the back-bone of its economy fall victim to issues of food security? An extended snow-day or two has shown us it can. Ironic, given only last September Ireland topped the list of most food secure nations. Today, our food system has never produced so much food, traveled so far and been so efficient at it. Until there’s a break in the chain. The last few days have highlighted yet another major flaw in our food-system, its inability to respond effectively in a crisis. We have succumbed to being at the mercy of long, […]
Meet a Fair Food Farmer
The Fair Food Finder is about discovering the food producers who nourish us and the planet so that we can support them directly, affording them the opportunity to do so into the future. When it comes to sustainability in food, its vital to know how food is produced. We want to peel back labels like local and organic, and get to know the people who go grow food, tend to food, manage food and how they do this in balance with nature. Discover Moyleabbey Farm 1. Tell us why you’re a Fair Food Farmer? We are a family run organic vegetable and fruit farm owned by Liam Ryan and Yuki Kobayashi. We started converting the 13.5 acre farm to certified organic production in August 2003 and achieved full organic status in August 2006. The farm is managed by me, Liam with the support of Louise Rankin, who completed the OGI Future Growers Apprenticeship in 2016. The land is based in the townland of Moyleabbey, near the historic Quaker village of Ballitore in County Kildare. It lies halfway between Naas and Carlow just off the N9. It is ideal land for organic vegetable production, it has a gentle slope and is […]
Is your bacon and egg sandwich ethical, fair?
Earlier this year, RTE gave us a sneak peak into How Ireland Eats. What it didn’t ask was, how Ireland sources what it eats? So we eat 1 million rashers a day? Despite RTE showing the wonderful, caring Peter Whelan from The Whole Hogg, this is not how the bulk of those 1 million rashers were produced. Nor is the life of the hens who produce the 2 millions eggs a day we eat much better. When it comes to thinking about the environmental, health and ethical impacts of food, how it was produced is key. We tend to get sucked into believing that if its local, its good. But the word or label local on food actually tells us very little about the production method. Food is local when its produced within 50km of you. However, in many cases, local has just come to mean Irish, or at least in some way produced here. Quality refers to traceability, water, feed, welfare and post production health/safety standards. But it still doesn’t tell us fully, HOW the animal was raised. Farm or Factory? So, that bacon and egg sandwich you ate, was it ethically raised? Did the pig and chicken get […]
Food-Futures: Farm to Table Sourcing
Every month we decide on a topic to cover in depth, this being our first month in our new home at the Fair Food Finder site, we were going to cover the issues in agriculture and food – where do we start…. Swamped by the issues we face ?!? And then we came across a word (one for the glossary folks!) ‘solutionaries’ and that reminded us of once reading about “fair food solutionaries” (thanks Oran B. Hesterman). So we thought why not post a short piece about our overarching goal at foodture – Rejuvenating Farm to Table Sourcing What does that mean? As food citizens (we don’t use the word consumers around here, we are so much more than mere consumers!) and as a ‘farmer’ (that would be I, Sinéad, not by myself mind you, we’re a duo at Roc na Seamair Farm) – we have experienced both ends of the same problem; where do you get the best food at a price that’s accessible but also supports the livelihoods of the best food producers so we can continue to get their produce into the future? Its complicated! You see food, farming, the environment, climate change and farming livelihoods is […]
SAQ’s: What is local food?
SAQ’s; otherwise known as should ask questions, help to inform our buying choices choices. We believe in starting a conversation that matters and we want you to continue that conversation. So here are our suggested SAQ’s about local food – what does local food mean to you, whats important about local food? 21 Questions.. An Irish flag on a product must mean its local? Not exactly…look closer at the label – locally produced or locally packaged? What about the name? Egan’s potatoes, that being the French Egans? What about the product that’s produced by a local food producer, locally made, locally baked, locally cooked. But where did they get the ingredients? Direct from the one source or from a place that sources from numerous ‘local’ producers? How then does each local producer source and the supplier they use source and so on and on and on…. Do we place equal value on the local ‘free range’ ethically raised chicken (a label issue for another article, but in this instance we mean the birds that see the light of day & get more than a mere extra square foot!) and the local factory born, fed-fast, bred-fast and slaughtered chicken? The carrot […]
Supporting the ‘small but mighty’ farmers
We’ve often heard that if it wasn’t for the ‘Green Revolution’ of the 1960’s that we couldn’t sustain the global population. International institutions like CGIAR helped develop and streamline high yielding varieties of maize, wheat and rice. Along with the applications of synthetic fertilizers, irrigation and pesticides, yields between 1960 – 2000 increased from 30% for some to 200%. Real food prices declined by 35% to 65%. These yields prevented hunger for many and the conversion of 1000’s of hectares of land for agri-purposes. Since the food price hikes in 2008 the ‘wicked problem’ in agriculture, have come to the forefront of debates. A ‘wicked problem’ is one that seems unsolvable. In this case its the need to produce more food for more people, without converting more land. All under a changing climate and degraded environment. While also in competition with other sectors for resources, Solutions to feeding a growing population tend to focus on production efficiencies. These include technological fixes in the use of inputs, plant and animal genetics and closing the yield gap. Demand side efficiencies such as dietary change are beginning to get some traction. Yet the message is confused, often oversimplified and “way to much of a […]
The scramble for ‘marginal’ land
Under Food Wise 2025, the government’s strategy for the agri-food sector, forested land is set to increase from 10% land cover to 17%. Despite consistent criticisms of Food Wise 2025. It’s backers (the government, lobby interests and industry experts who helped draft it) push the point that increasing forested land can be used as a tool for climate change mitigation. Forestry and global food security have become the two greatest ‘go-to-buzzwords/tools’ to use in response to any questioning of the current centralised market power, export orientated, commodity specialisation focus of Irish agriculture. An agri-business regime that’s creating bigger farms – less farmers, environmental damage, declining farm incomes, larger herd numbers, less diversity in farming and as such the food we produce. Leaving us overwhelmingly reliant on imports and ignoring the fact that we need to produce better, but less beef & dairy into the future if we are stay within the global carbon budget. A scramble aided by policy… The neoliberal expansionist agenda in Irish agriculture places immense pressure on small ‘marginal land’ farms like Mick’s (referred to as ‘marginal’ because it’s deemed unsuitable for industrialisation). Under a globalised, industrialised ‘world farm’, smaller holdings find themselves struggling to get by. […]
Can food be ‘fair’?
Our meeting with activist chef Aoife Allen at the Fumbally was truly inspiring and reminded us of the implications of our food choices beyond our health and the environment. Today, food has also become an issue of social justice, human rights violations and uncovering global inequalities. The globalization of food on the one side enables us to enjoy food that grows in different climates but, on the other side is associated with various externalities impacting farmers and workers in the global south. It can lead to countries over-concentrating on producing only ‘the high value’ goods that we crave in the developed world. The end result being an economy overly dependent on a few commodities, vulnerable to price fluctuations and an environment dominated by mono-crops, lacking in biodiversity, consequently less resilient to climate change and in many cases gambling with long-term food security. So why over focus on producing one food ‘commodity’? Trading in high value commodities such as coffee, cacao, sugar, bananas, avocados, certain seafood and other products that are “trending”, is for many developing economies a pathway out of poverty. Unfortunately, food markets are often controlled by few commodity traders who control the prices. What’s more, small farmers lack […]
Of Snipes and Sitka Spruce: Agriculture’s Impact on Ireland’s Biodiversity
Biodiversity: it’s become something of a buzz word in recent times. In simplest terms, it refers to the variety of life. Biodiversity is important because the more diverse a system or population is, the more resilient it will be to potential disruptions. And the resilience of species populations and ecosystems is vital for their survival as our planet begins to feel the vast and destructive power of global climate change. Biodiversity is important for humans too: the more diverse an ecosystem is, the more ecosystem services it can provide, which include: regulating air and water quality, erosion control, pollination, the provisioning of food, raw materials, and medicinal resources, as well as improving our mental and physical health. But around the world, biodiversity is being threatened. In Europe, only 23% of species and 16% of habitats under EU directives are in good health. In Ireland, the situation is even more dire. As a country with a long history of land use change, primarily due to agriculture, only 1% of Ireland’s native forest cover was left at the turn of the 20th century. This means that Ireland’s native species were squeezed into smaller and smaller areas, if they survived at all, leading to […]
WWOOFing, farm incomes and the true price of food
WWOOF: World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms is a non-profit organization connecting volunteer workers to organic farms around the globe. Volunteers receive accommodation and food in return for 4-6 hours of work per day. The idea was born in 1971 when Sue Coppard started a small initiative to bring London city dwellers to help out on farms on weekends helping them to reconnect to the natural world. It slowly evolved into the large worldwide movement it is today, with the majority of host farms being located in Australia (2600 hosts) accounting for 39.9% of the world’s organic farmland. Worldwide only 1% of arable land is currently in organic use. In Ireland (489 hosts) we use 1.76% of our arable land for growing organics. WWOOF is dedicated to supporting the organic movement. Many of the volunteers that participate in exchanges gain valuable skills and a newfound understanding of the work required to produce healthy food. Above all, volunteers take home memorable experiences of working together and building lasting relationships with like minded people from around the globe. WWOOFing can also be understood as a form of sustainable or transformational tourism, where the visitor plays an active role in engaging with the […]
What is a sustainable diet?
According to the FAO (Food & Agriculture of the United Nations), a sustainable diet are those “diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations; are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources” Defining a sustainable diet remains a complex and contentious issue. Should equal weight be given to economic, nutrition and environmental concerns? Should the diet be defined by nutritional needs first and environmental second? Given current levels of environmental degradation, should the sustainable diet be framed by environmental concerns firstly; without a healthy environment can nutritious food be grown? The term sustainable itself continues to be interpreted differently depending on one’s perspective. Nevertheless, sustainability is understood to encompass three dimensions, environment, society and economic; the three pillars of sustainability. In the context of sustainable diets, nutritional quality, cultural acceptance and affordability/accessibility must also be considered. A widely understood concept of sustainability is the need to protect and use resources in a way now that will not impact the ability of future generations to live sufficiently. In the context of […]
Irish agriculture and carbon neutrality
In Ireland, agriculture accounts for 32% of all GHG emissions. The sector is dominated by livestock production with enteric fermentation accounting for 47% of this, manure management at 27% and nitrogen application to agricultural soils accounts for a further 22%. A further 5% of agriculture’s emissions is attributed to fossil fuel combustion. The EPA has stated that Ireland is unlikely to meet its emission targets in the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Sector, reaching only 6-11% of the 20% target. Agriculture is projected to rise by 6-7%, accounting for almost half (47%) of all non-ETS sector emissions by 2020. Negotiations are underway to set GHG reduction target for the 2021-2030 period, with suggestions ranging from 30% to 40% reductions on 2005 levels. With Irish agriculture already failing to meet GHG reduction targets, the future prospects of these targets increasing, creating a bigger emissions gap, 200million to 600milion annual fine estimates for non-compliance on GHG reduction, all under a national framework to increase agriculture production… means the focus for government is in achieving carbon neutrality in Irish agriculture. The concept of carbon neutral agriculture is often interchangeable with zero-net emissions and decarbonisation within an economy or economic sector. Carbon neutrality, […]
The interconnections between agriculture, food and climate change
“to eat is an agricultural act” – Wendell Berry Concerns around climate change, agriculture and food nutritional security are interlinked and issues in one cannot be resolved without considering the others. Climate change impacts agriculture and consequently food nutritional security. Moreover, agriculture impacts climate change, contributing 35% of anthropogenic CO2 thereby constraining the ability of agriculture to meet projected demand to 2050. Agricultural production finds itself under increasing pressure to meet the food demands of a growing population as well as to reduce its impact on the landscape, environment and climate. The convergence of a rising world population, expected to surpass 9 billion by 2050, and the onset of climate change means humanity is facing perhaps its greatest challenge. Food production both relies on and alters the very biological and material world on which it relies. Agriculture is responsible for 47% of total anthropogenic methane emissions and 58% of nitrous oxide. Moreover, livestock production is the largest contributor to agriculture’s carbon footprint, estimated to account for 14.5% of anthropogenic emissions, with animal feed production/processing and enteric fermentation accounting for 45% and 39% respectively. Of all the land used for agriculture, 80% is given over to livestock production and is linked […]