‘Radical transition’ to small-scale farming vital to protect farmers and nature

Source: Greennews.ie

March 20th, 2019

Two newly formed environmental groups will host a talk on small
scale farming, climate change and biodiversity decline at a sustainable farming
event at Cloughjordan Ecovillage this weekend.

Both Talamh Beo and
Extinction Rebellion will hold a group conversation on the Saturday evening of
the weekend-long Feeding
Ourselves 2019
event in Co Tipperary.

Talamh Beo, formed this month in Galway, is a grassroots farmers
movement aimed at exploring how ecosystems and people can live alongside each

Speaking to The Irish Examiner last month, Talamh Beo’s Fergal Anderson said that as we are facing a “multitude of crises” from climate change to species extinction and need a “radical transition” away from intensive to smaller-scale farming.

Extinction Rebellion, a civil disobedience environmental
movement founded in the UK last October, formed in response to the threat of
biodiversity loss and climate breakdown.

The Irish branch of the grassroots group has started to take shape around the country. At the beginning of the month, they held mock memorial services in countries Dublin and Galway to bring attention to the extinction crisis the planet currently faces.

Cloughjordan Eco-village Photo: Eoin Campbell / JustMultiMedia

While Saturday evening’s programme will emphasize these two
movements, the main focus of the Feeding Ourselves 2019 conference is on food
hubs, digitization, and regenerative farming practices, according to
Cultivate’s Davie Philip.

He said that a core theme of the event will be to explore
methods of farming that “regenerate rather than exploit the soil” and work with
land, water, and the broader environment.

Issues around Ireland’s high agricultural emissions – 30 per
cent of total national emissions – other forms of agri-pollution and farmer
debt will also be discussed, Mr Philip said.

Dr Oliver Moore of ARC2020, a pan-European agri-food policy platform,
added that the event will also explore the multi-fold problems that farmers
face and how “policymakers and the farming community [can] respond”.

“Farming, in particular, is facing numerous challenges –
we’ve seen a beef calf price collapse, there’s the Brexit threat and numerous
environmental challenges, said Dr Moore.

A Conference in Croke Park next month will also examine the
challenges and enabling factors to to small-scale food producers both and home
and further afield.

The Sustainable Ireland, Sustainable
conference will also examine how we can ensure that food
production is economically viable, environmentally sustainable and community
supported in line Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs, or global goals, seek to achieve over 150 targets aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all people by 2030.

About the Author

Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.

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