All roads lead to Moneygall once again as the town hosts the region’s main National Organic Week event on Saturday 15th September. The picturesque venue is Sean O’ Farrell’s organic farm in Cloncannon, on the western slopes of the Devils’ Bit, just outside Moneygall.
The farm walk begins at 3PM on Saturday 15th September. After the walk, there is a presentation in the Obama Cafe, Moneygall, by Dr. Oliver Moore of the Irish Examiner and the Centre for Co-operative Studies in UCC.
After the short presentation, The Obama Cafe will also serve up some tasty organic treats, showcasing an incredible array of the region’s finest organic food, supplied by the Organic Store in Birr and organic beef farmer Michael Seymour of Borrisokane.
National Organic Week, organised by Bord Bia and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine takes place from 10th – 16th September 2012.
National Organic Week celebrates the work being done by thousands of food producers all over Ireland who are committed to farming organically.
Throughout the week organic producers, retailers and farmers markets nationwide will host events including organic farm walks, cookery demonstrations, BBQs, harvest feasts, complimentary in store tastings and talks.
Organic produce is made using farming methods which are environmentally friendly and incorporate sustainable production practices, respectful use of the countryside and concern for animal welfare.
Sean O’ Farrell’s farm should be of interest to farmers and nature lovers alike, as it has a grass sward quite rare in the region.
According to Sean, its “a good mix of traditional grasses, clovers and herbs in the sward. This variety of plant species will have differing rooting depths to access different minerals. I believe that the diversity of species also provides resilience to extremes in weather conditions.”
He elaborates:“My choice of grass species would be meadow fescue, meadow foxtail, smooth meadow grass, annual meadow grass and crested dog’s tail. I find meadow fescue, meadow foxtail and smooth meadow grass valuable grasses for early spring growth. Crested dog’s tail seems to have good nutritional value and comes into its best in the autumn.”
“These grass varieties have considerable associated biodiversity which are very important to the nature value of the farm” he says, citing John Feehan’s recent book, the Grasses of Ireland and the example of smooth meadow grass: “there are fifteen fly species, including leaf miners, gall midges and fruit flies; one specie of parasitic mite and one leaf beetle, together with 28 bug species, including frog, leaf and plant-hoppers, stilt, capsid and shield bugs and aphids. It also hosts at least four species of sawfly species, a micro-moth and butterfly species, including the common ringlet and the meadow brown. Now that is quite an amount to be observed from one grass variety.”
Teresa Brophy, Ireland Market Manager, Bord Bia said “National Organic Week celebrates the work being done by over a thousand food producers all over Ireland who are committed to farming organically. For a small country we produce an amazing selection of organic food and drink and this week-long campaign provides a platform for organic producers and retailers to promote their products while encouraging consumers to learn how to recognise organic food and identify where it can be purchased”.