Small farms in Ireland are in a steady decline and have been for several decades now.
Violets growing all over the woodland at Bealtaine Cottage
In fact farming is now referred to as an “industry”…a most illuminating use of language!
Buddha in the gardens
The pressure on small farmers to produce more and more, (mostly meat), is driving many off the land, as they find it difficult to compete with the bigger landowners and thus meat growers!
Sammy-Bear says “Hello!”
The countryside is fast losing vital habitat, as hedgerows are pulled out, trees felled and field size increased.
Apple blossom and Honesty flowers in bloom at Bealtaine Cottage
There is a government initiative behind this, of course…”Food Harvest 2020!”
Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.
Water that is drinkable!
Minister Coveney held a meeting on the 17th of April.
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Invitations were issued to key stakeholders, including farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies to a round table discussion on the future development of the Beef Sector, as it is referred to!
Mixed planting in the very productive Potager Beds
Participants at this meeting were invited to discuss the government initiative, Food Harvest 2020.
Photinia and Kerria
This scheme was introduced by the Irish government to increase production of beef! (Ironic naming it “Food Harvest 2020!)
Golden Euphorbia in the early morning sunshine
Now, read this statement from the Minister of Agriculture…using language of industry, markets and sport!
Commenting today on the initiative, Minister Coveney said
“By some measures the beef sector is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, involving more than 100,000 farm families, and 8,000 jobs in processing, sales and marketing, with exports valued of more than €2 billion in 2013. Food Harvest 2020 set an initial target of a 20% increase in the value of output for the beef sector. The target for beef exports has already been exceeded.
The time is now right to sit down with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the strategic approach needed to support its development, using the best available market intelligence, and the newest technology and research to improve performance at all levels of the supply chain. The beef sector makes a vital contribution to Irish agri food and to employment and the economy generally. I am convinced that with the right strategic approach and positive collaboration from all of the players, the beef sector in Ireland has a bright future.”
Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage
All the while, loss of habitat is causing devastation!
Ferns and Spurge cover the floor of the Fairy Wood
Friends of the Earth, (FOE), have called on the Government to do a full Strategic Environmental Assessment of Food Harvest 2020.
Buddha wears a crown of moss in the Bog Garden
Other groups raising concerns with Food Harvest 2020 include:
The Irish Climate Justice Group
The Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.
Friends of the Irish Environment and Allies
Buddha at Bealtaine
The European Commission has announced it is launching an investigation of whether proper procedures were followed.
The lower pond at Bealtaine Cottage, teeming with Newts, Frogs…
Each and every photograph I post here on this website is taken at Bealtaine Cottage.
Stream flowing from the Spring Well through both ponds
These three acres of abundance exist because I took the cattle off the land.
The Bog Garden at Bealtaine Cottage
I would like to invite Minister Simon Coveney to Bealtaine Cottage to see what happens to land when it is allowed and nurtured to re-generate!
The Lower Pond filled with clean Spring water that flows out into the River Shannon and on into the Atlantic Ocean!
We need, as a nation, to cherish our land and protect it for future generations.
Sammy by the pond
We need to produce more Organic Food for our people rather than importing it…that means fruit and vegetables and grains!
Oh, by the way Minister…you may call it Food Harvest 2020, but, I and many like me, do not eat beef…not much food there then!