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VIDEO: ‘I bought this 16-acre farm 32 years ago and we have reared a family here’

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Jim Cronin has a 16-acres organic market garden farm in Co. Clare where he has been adopting biological agriculture principles for the last 30 years without losing many of the traditional methods of farming.

His entire farming ethos is seamlessly entwined with nature conservation. Not only does he create a habitat for pollinators and wildlife but also for all the unseen worms and micro-organisms which are fundamental to growing crops and sustaining life above ground.

Jim has a small suckler herd and two working horses that both help work the land and provide essential manure for soil fertility.

Combining old traditions with new knowledge

He is both a teacher and a commercial grower of fruit and vegetables, who combines old traditions with new knowledge and methods based on sound principles. He is proof that one can make a good commercial yield from a small area without compromising nature.

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“Listen to your heart, yes you have to make money, but every farmer I know is a custodian of the land and intrinsically knows what is best for nature.”

His knowledge is second to none when it comes to growing horticulture crops and traditional farming practices, such as the use of the horse and plough.

He has distilled his farm knowledge down to an exact science and created a bank of wisdom. For example, not only does Jim grow large crops of cosmos and sweet pea to attract pollinators but he is actively encouraging aphid eating insects by growing marigolds through his potatoes.

Everything Jim does is a deliberate move to try to harness the resources that nature already offers us in terms of soil health, pest control and crop growth. 

Most importantly, there is the unquestioning fact that he loves what he does and what he does is a truly beautiful way of farming for nature.

Farming for Nature

Now in its third year, Farming For Nature was set up with an aim to source, share and celebrate the stories of farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature, while providing a livelihood for their family.

Nominations are sought annually from a broad panel of environmental experts and through a rigorous system of interviews, farm visits and assessments by a panel of judges, 16 of these farmers were selected as ambassadors in 2020.

Of these, 8 ambassadors have been chosen to represent a cross-section of the farming community during September and October.

They will be featured at the Burren Winterage Weekend at the end of October when the winner of the public vote will also be announced.

The Farming for Nature Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network.

Vote

The deadline for 2020 voting is midnight Friday, October 23rd, 2020 – To vote or to obtain any further information, click here.

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