Charles Carr and Shannon Copeland
Charles and Shannon Copeland are regenerative farmers who have spent the past 5 years building their farm the ‘Bullaun Ark’. The land which had been conventionally farmed for years, is gradually recovering and regenerating under the watchful eye of Shannon and Charles.
True to its name, the farm hosts a range of animals from turkeys, ducks, chickens and geese to sheep, goats, pigs and a donkey. The animals are incorporated into the vegetable growing rotation where they play an important role in fertilizing the land and consuming pests like snails and slugs. The commercial section of the farm is a 1.25-acre market garden, where Shannon and Charles are currently growing over 150 different plants ranging from vegetables to exotic berries to edible flowers. They focus on perennial crops as much as possible. All the produce is sold directly to Galway-based restaurants. No chemicals are used on the land and external inputs on the farm consist only of mushroom compost and occasional liquid seaweed fertilizer.
Since they arrived on the land, Shannon and Charles have witnessed a significant return of birds and insects to the farm. They have dug ponds to create water habitats. They have planted wildflowers and trees to create shelter and habitat for wildlife. The couple have put huge effort into regenerating the soil biology. They also keep native Irish bees on the land. This farm is a wonderful example of championing diversification over specialisation.
Charles and Shannon have turned an unassuming field in East Galway into a treasure trove of annual and perennial plants, with a huge amount of diversity concentrated in a compact site. Charles and Shannon also keep pigs and poultry as well as some goats. They are constantly experimenting and growing new and unusual varieties of edible plants, flowers and tubers. They supply their produce directly into local markets and to restaurants, and are demonstrating the potential for what we can grow in Ireland. Their farm - the “Bullaun Ark” is a great example of small scale production aimed at local markets while providing a space for wildlife, pollinators and biodiversity.
Nominator: Emanuela Russo, FFN Ambassador