Join us next Tuesday at 8pm online for our next Ask the Farmer Q&A with Cork farmer Madeline McKeever on Growing open pollinated seeds, beef and trees on a mixed organic farm
Madeline McKeever runs an organic 30-acre mixed farm in west Cork along with her daughter Holly Cairns. There is 15 acres of broadleaf forestry on the land, containing oak, alder, ash and nut trees. There is 10 acres of permanent mixed pasture and the remaining land is used for seed production and nature corridors. Madeline keeps a small herd of cattle, producing beef for the home and for a few local customers. The cattle are grazed using Voisin’s rational grazing system, meaning the grass is rested for approximately 30 days before being grazed again. A small amount of silage is cut off the land to provide winter feeding for the animals and the animal manure is used to fertilize the land. External inputs on the farm are extremely low.
Founder of Brown Envelope Seeds, Madeline is one of only two farms in the country producing vegetable seeds. They produce over 100 varieties of organically certified, open pollinated seed which is sold to Irish growers and gardeners around the country.
A wildlife enthusiast all her life, Madeline enjoys seeing an array of birds coming and going to farm, such as choughs, thrushes, chiffchaffs, redwings, fieldfares and lots of other songbirds. The family have planted a diverse range of trees, hedges and fruit bushes on the farm which attract insects like solitary bees, wild honeybees, bumble bees, hoverflies and wasps, all of whom play a crucial role in pollinating the seed crops. Madeleines love of nature is reflected in the low impact, regenerative farming system she runs.
The ‘Ask the Farmer’ series runs this Winter and Spring where a number of our amazing Ambassadors will be on-line to tell us a little more about their farm and farming system and to answer your questions about farming for nature. More informationhere