“We were appointed ambassadors for Nature in late 2021. Unexpectedly the ambassadorship has given us permission to proselytise on behalf of sustainable farming and farming for nature. We can also encourage farmers who are casting glances in the direction of a more benign way of approaching their farms.” Rod and Julie Calder-Potts
The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Kilkenny farmers, Rod and Julie Calder-Potts to their growing Ambassador network.
Located in county Kilkenny on land steeped in family history, Highbank Farm have been producing organic apples on the family farm since the 70s. Rod and Julie Calder-Potts are prime examples of farmers who have diversified their farm, creating an enterprise that is ecologically and economically viable. Their organic orchard supplies them with apples for artisan apple juice, apple syrup, apple cider, vinegars and much more, almost all of which are processed on the farm. They have more recently built a distillery on the farm and are now producing apple gin, apple brandy and apple vodka. Respect for and connection with nature is at the heart of the farm – “All of our production is to the strictest of organic standards. No chemicals are sprayed on the apples, neither are any herbicides or chemical fertilizers used.” They continuously work to enhance biodiversity on the farm. They have built two lakes, planted forestry all around the farm and sowed pollinator friendly flowers to encourage solitary bees amongst other insects. There is a wonderfully diverse range of wildlife on the farm, including a badger set, snipe, otters, kingfishers, raptors, buzzards, crows, rooks, jackdaws, ravens, magpies, jays, woodcock, as well as a wide range of insects and fungi. Rod and Julie are passionate about supporting small-scale Irish farmers and producers. They welcome visitors from near and far to their farm and run farm walks, talks, events and workshops throughout the year.
Now in its fourth 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. Rod and Julie are part of this year’s 23 ambassadors that come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, forestry, dairy, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of very valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows. The Farming For Nature ambassador network is made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
FFN is featuring their Ambassadors on a bi-monthly basis until August 2022. Keep an eye on FFN’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms to learn more about these wonderful farmers and the valuable work they are doing for nature on their land. FFN will work with these inspiring ambassadors to produce farm videos, podcasts, ‘Ask the Farmer’ sessions, farm walks and more. Go to www.farmingfornature.ie to learn about this incredible network of Ambassador farmers and to access further information, resources and tips.
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.
More information on the Calder-Potts’ farm here https://www.farmingfornature.ie/nominees/rod-julie-calder-potts/
Contact Brigid on [email protected] for photos.