The 2017 Oxford Real Farming Conference took place in early January and is a forum for discussing and developing approaches to agriculture and food that are based on ecological principles rather than the dictates of neoliberal economics. The opening plenary, touching on the topics of food democracy, politics and public health among others, was given by Olivier de Schutter and is well worth a listen. Although his focus in the talk is the UK, many of the points remain valid in the Irish context.
Here’s an interesting interview with Frederick Kirschenmann. Kirschenmann has been a leading figure in the US over the last several decades in the area of sustainable, organic farming. The interview ranges over a number of topics including the depletion of resources (particularly Phosphorus), biodynamic agriculture, bioregionalism and the emerging new economy.
Listen to the episode here: http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/2017/1703/
What are your thoughts on social media?
While having some misgivings and not wishing to add to the general crisis of attention brought on by the constant stream of information overload, we will be making some posts on Facebook in 2017. If you would like to be kept up to date with news of upcoming courses or other events and happenings here at An Gáirdín, please follow our page, and hopefully see you soon – in person.
We’re delighted to be participating in the network of locations screening the premiere of the new documentary An Enquiry into a New Story for Humanity on Saturday evening, April 30. The film will be screened at 7pm and followed by a live stream of a post-film discussion from the Findhorn Foundation. All are welcome.
You can read an introduction to the film here.
Our native trees and hedgerows are our national heritage and Tree Week offers us the opportunity to take the time to get to know and cherish the trees and hedgerows in our neighborhood.
Trees have always been our great companions and we have very intimate connections with them – we are dependent on them for the air we breathe! They are also the lifeline for so many other species, offering shelter and food. They play a large role in maintaining climate balance.
We have very rich folklore and traditions associated with our native trees. We find these narrated in Niall Mac Coitir’s interesting and beautiful book of ‘Irish Trees – Myths, Legends and Folklore.’
If you are planting trees or hedgerows this week we strongly advise planting only native varieties. That is because every habitat over centuries has developed its own delicately balanced sequences to suit soil, climate and geography. In nature everything does not evolve, it “co-evolves”. A native tree/plant will form leaves or flowers when its main pollinators are abundant. A non-native variety of the same tree will have different leafing and flowering time from the native variety.
Planting a non-native variety, even of the same species, upsets the natural sequence and disrupts the natural balance, thus leaving the indigenous pollinators without their food and habitat.
At An Gáirdín this week we will be planting another native hedgerow. You will be welcome to join us’
Gerry Cunningham MIAHP will again facilitate a day on Mindfulness at An Gárdín.
The cost is €30 and includes light lunch and tea break.
Booking: email@example.com or 0909741689.
Spring is in the air! The morning birdsong delights the heart and brings a broad smile. The snowdrops are coming into full bloom. The daffs and other spring bulbs are slowly burrowing their way into the open. There are signs of growth all around us.
At the same time we cannot ignore the fact that the growth which we saw yesterday is quite likely to be completely under water today. We may also have noticed that really there was no stoppage of growth, no really dormant period. Neither did the birds leave us – just a little less song for the past few months. We did not experience the ‘normal’ bitter cold days and nights. We missed the bright glistening frosty mornings and we missed the evening red skies telling us what the morn would bring. There wasn’t the opportunity to hear the crunching noise as we trudged through 3 or 4 inches of snow.
Where have all the – not flowers but- winters gone? Have we skipped a season? Have we a new season of just rainfall and mild humid temperatures. Not only have the boundaries between the seasons become more and more blurred but the seasons are becoming almost unrecognisable.
Isn’t there a sadness about this? Isn’t it a cause for greater sadness knowing that this situation is brought about to a great degree by the way we humans, particularly over the last century, have chosen to be and to live on this magnificent planet. See YouTube “Call to Earth – a Message from the World’s Astronauts to Cop21” – a short but beautiful inspiring film.
As national election hype begins we can be asking ourselves what the real issues are just now. Are we able to put the immediate issues we have into the bigger and larger context. The reality is that many of the life systems of the planet including the human species are under threat of survival. We have long been talking about climate change and it’s effects on poor countries. We somehow assumed that the effects for us locally were in a vague future. Climate change is here and at a rapid pace. We can plan to adapt to climate change but we know that is only a temporary measure. As the famous Thomas Berry once wrote, we are arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic and ignoring the fact that it is sinking. We need to address the causes of climate change. This is challenging. But as a species we do rise to challenge.
What will our questions to canvassers be when they knock on our doors over the coming weeks. The following are possible ideas under four relevant headings:
- REDUCING OUR HARMFUL EMISSIONS:
For example, present Government policy to increase the current herd of 7.1 million cattle by 300,000 over the next 10 years, surely is a contradiction of our commitment to climate change at COP21 in Paris. One third of our current emissions comes from agriculture.
Have you a robust policy that will support farmers in adapting from cattle production to producing more cereal and vegetable crops?
Our transport system is drastically unsustainable from many aspects but particularly from an emissions aspect. Lack of public transport in rural areas is a major disadvantage.
Have you a public Transport Policy? If so will it encourage people to choose public modes of travel in preference to using private modes? Have you a Public Transport Policy specific to rural areas as well as to urban settings?
- RURAL SUSTAINABILITY:
Rural life has suffered severely under the outgoing government. Towns and villages have been devastated. The removal of Garda Stations, Post Offices and other State services and offices have resulted in low morale.
Have you a policy for Rural Life? Does your policy include restoring the infrastructure and local services that have been removed from rural communities? Does it include support measures to promote and to ensure the viability of the smaller self-supporting organic holdings?
- RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY:
We are trailing way behind our European neighbours and many other parts of the world in our replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy.
Have you a policy for promoting Renewable Sources of Energy?
Do you have the conviction and therefore the policy to make sure that the provision of community-based co-operatives for producing Renewable Energy will replace the large corporations e.g Airtricity?
Will you ensure that the grant system is an adequate incentive for people to upgrade their houses to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. How will you ensure that the house owner receives his/her just portion of the grant along with the suppliers and fitters.
and what more mindful way of approaching the New Year than a
Mindfulness Retreat Day with Gerry Cunningham
Saturday 30th January 10am – 4.30pm
Gerry Cunningham MIAHP, The Mindfulness Clinic, Dublin, will be back to facilitate a ‘New Year, Wise Intention ‘ retreat day. The day will help us to enter mindfully into the new year and offer us some supports to continue on our mindfulness journey.
The cost for the day is €30 with deposit of €10, including light lunch.
Booking at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ph.0909741689
The first class, Gentle Yoga is from 6 – 7.15pm, costing €80 for 10 classes. The Continuation Class is from 7.30 – 9pm costing €90 for 10 classes. Ruth teaches Satyananda yoga which is suitable for everyone, and for men and women. It is a holistic system that brings balance between mind and body.
Book with Ruth at email@example.com Phone 0872434759