Feel free to use this page to say hi and tell other folk about what you do!
Hi, I'm Bea and I used to work on an experimental farm (the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge), in the genetics department, many years ago. What I saw made me want to work with nature rather than fight against it. I have had an interest in sustainability and community farming ever since. Have just moved to the Dee from a small holding in Cornwall. Looking for agricultural land, preferably near me.
Hi Bea, welcome to GrowIN 😁
Source Grow looks amazing!
If you ever have surplus that we can supply to chefs let me know, we pick up and deliver for you.
@Helen Keys experimenting with Bolivian Acocha this year, and wild tomatoes (pimperifolia type). They are supposed to be prolific so hopefully will be some kind of surplus. Love the site, and the concept. Best of luck with it!
Ah mostly the standard permaculture plants- oca, yacon, Jerusalem artichokes, comfrey, and an assortment of fruit bushes and trees - elder, blueberry, damson, apple, black and red currants, gooseberries and strawberries. Saving seed from Onions, Leeks, Tomatoes, Broad Bean, French Bean, Cucumber, Turnip and Lettuce.
Conor - amazing - have you any produce for sale? I run Source Grow and we have chefs mad looking for produce - especially things like yacon.
hi Helen! Literally got rid of the last load of Yacon tubers there on Wednesday to a chef in Donegal - it's really an October to April/May crop - new season ones growing now, but I'm really about bulking up the crowns to get to a small commercial supply scale in a year or two. Aim is a smallholding that captures lots of carbon and makes enough compost not to require external inputs. A bit of a way off that yet!
Hi folks, Conor O'Kane, developing a micro-farm in the Sperrins focussing on perennial crops and seed saving. Experience in community supported agriculture schemes and protected cropping.
Hi Conor, welcome aboard! What perennial crops do you grow?
Hi, I hadn't really said about me :) I'm a townie with a roving interest in parts of science, engineering, and design, and the way the waves broke, I was obsessed with butterflies and moths when UCAS came round. I got a degree in biology from St Andrews and thanks to @Michael Meharg and other lovely people I've been working in ecological consultancy for the four and a half years since. I've found a niche in designing survey and mapping projects and am hoping to keep developing those skills and putting them to use in farming and land management. I'm sure we've a lot we can all learn from each other and I hope we can make GrowIN fertile ground for that!
Hi I’m Bronagh, returned to NI after 12yrs in RAF as aircraft engineer, ran my own business for 7 yrs and then ended up on an Angus farm with a onsite butchery and abattoir. Moved back home a few years ago and now in succession to take over the family farm. I want to regenerate our soils, change over to native breeds, lower our inputs and emission outputs and if all goes right see a big increase in wildlife! I run a suckler farm with small flock of sheep and some rare breed pigs. Dream to someday sell my own pasture fed meat products. Oh and I’m an absolute soil biome geek!!!
Charlie Cole, Broughgammon Farm, Specialise in farm to fork production of meat and vegetables. Focus on shortening supply chains (On-site Butchery and farmshop) whilst integrating regenerative practices (mob-grazing, reducing tillage, building soil biology, agroforestry, herbal leys)
We have stopped ploughing Use a min till system with power harrow. Hope it releases less carbon.
Hi, I'm a new entrant to both farming and Northern Ireland (after many years away). Working on regenerating 150 acre lowland grass farm after many years of conacre. Interested in soil health, regenerative grazing, silvopasture, green infrastructure and horticulture. Keen to hear about different approaches to improving pasture diversity and productivity without one eliminating the other...
William are you using herbal leys?
Hi Rhona, we had a go with 5 acres last summer. Unfortunately we got the timing badly wrong and it didn't rain for 6 weeks so we grew a mighty crop of docks instead. It has taught us two things. 1) We have a huge weed burden in our soils so any tillage is going to kickstart them big time. We either need to work at getting a better stale seed bed or grow a cereal crop first then into MSS 2) Given this pasture regeneration via aeration and overseeding is probably preferable rather than full reset with MSS. Our plan is to focus on regeneration via mob grazing + overseeding for the time being and get some clover out in the slurry on the silage ground.
I'm a Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology at the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen's University Belfast doing research on biodiversity and farming including: agri-environment scheme efficacy, badgers and bovine tuberculosis, farmland insects, birds and mammals.
Hi there. I'm Rhona. I work as a Rural Surveyor with around 100 farmers who farm land owned by National Trust. Interested in joining your discussions and getting involved.
Thanks for joining the conversation Rhona. We'll be adding some more topics to the forum, if you have any suggestions or would like a separate channel/group for your farmers let us know and we can set it up.
@Helen Keys I'm interested in the appetite for farmers to move away from the conacre system to longer term agricultural lease options and also anyone's thoughts on the kind of things they would like to see brought in with the new Agricultural Policy
Hi, I'm Helen