Food Harvest 2020

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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

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

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!"

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

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

Willow archways at Bealtaine cottage

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is Simon Coveney TD.

Water that is drinkable!

Water that is drinkable!

Minister Coveney  held a meeting on the 17th of April.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

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

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

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

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.”

(https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2014/april/title,74954,en.html)

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

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

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

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

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...

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

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

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!

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

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!

Bealtaine Angel

Bealtaine Angel

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!

Under Occupation…Mother Earth needs a Lawyer!

The Earth is in desperate need of protection.

Mother Earth is in desperate need of people with integrity to look after her interests…for her interests are our interests.

So, what constitutes integrity?

Do any of our leaders possess this quality?

How often do we say, “there goes a person of integrity…”?

Integrity is the “quality or state of being complete”, of being in an “unbroken condition” or state of “wholeness”… entireness, wholeness; the unimpaired state of anything: uprightness: honesty: purity.

The problem with many politicians, who make decisions on our behalf, is that they seem not to possess any of the last three qualities.

I am very concerned about our seed security.

Seed gives us our food…all of our food.

I have spoken about this before and the little I have to say about it resonates deeply with many of you.

Now, the reason that I mention politicians is that all decisions relating to our environment and food security are taken at governmental level and it is at governmental level that the big corporations employ many of their people…to lobby!

There is no integrity in lobbying politicians on behalf of a corporation…that is all about money and back-scratching.

So, back to Mother Earth and who lobbies for her…successfully?

Well, one of my all-time heroes, Tim DeChristopher is in prison for taking direct action to help her.

That is a story worth googling!

There are many organizations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who represent us on the front-line.

There are also many people who genuinely care and are concerned and I count myself as one.

The problem is that politicians are very adept at being sly.

Take for example the issue of GMO’s.

Recently, the government here in Ireland allowed this abomination into our country via, “GM Potato Trials!”

Now, who, I ask, would have lobbied for that?

Then there’s the case of Order 81 in Iraq.

Who was behind that?

Do people even know anything about Order 81, imposed by the US government in 2004.

Yes, imposed!

What a break for U.S. corporations, such as Monsanto!

The U.S. imposed 100 Orders on Iraq.

Order 81  was designed to have a major impact on the way farming is done in Iraq.

This order prohibits Iraqi farmers from using saving seeds from one year to the next.

Order 81 prohibits the farmers from using their own seeds, on their own farms, to grow their own crops.

So who supplies the seeds…?

Well, join the dots and look at what’s going on.

Prior to the U.S. invasion, agriculture in Iraq was flourishing.

The Fertile Crescent in Iraq, the cradle of civilization and where farming actually began, had developed a system of farming that was the envy of the world.

There was immense biodiversity and within that was food security.

GMO’s depletes biodiversity, leaving us all tied to the corporations supplying the seeds.

Alarm bells ringing?

Under Occupation, centuries of progress have been destroyed, almost overnight, due to the bombing of the Iraq Seed Bank…how convenient for Monsanto to get a foothold.

How much of this did you know?

As I suspected, the Earth needs a damn good lawyer and fast!

 

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