Jim Cronin

Jim Cronin has a 16-acres organic market garden farm in Co.Clare where he has been adopting biological agriculture principles for the last 30 years without loosing many of the traditional methods of farming. Jim’s entire farming ethos is seamlessly entwined with nature conservation. Not only does he create a habitat for pollinators and wildlife but also for all the unseen worms and micro-organisms which are fundamental to growing crops and sustaining life above ground. Jim has both a small suckler herd and 2 working horses that both help work the land and provide essential manure for soil fertility. Jim is both a teacher and a commercial grower of fruit and vegetables. Jim both combines the old traditions with new knowledge and methods based on sound principals as well as proves that one can make a good commercial yield from a small area without compromising nature. “Listen to your heart, yes you have to make money, but every farmer I know is a custodian of the land and intrinsically knows what is best for nature”. HIs knowledge is second to none when it comes to growing horticulture crops and traditional farming practices, such as the use of the horse and plough. He has distilled his farm knowledge down to an exact science and created a bank of wisdom. For example, not only does Jim grow large crops of cosmos and sweet pea to attract pollinators but he is actively encouraging aphid eating insects by growing marigolds through his potatoes. Everything Jim does is a deliberate move to try to harness the resources that nature already offers us in terms of soil health, pest control and crop growth. Most importantly there is the unquestioning fact that he loves what he does and what he does is a truly beautiful way of farming for nature.

NOMINATION DESCRIPTION
Jim Cronin has been adopting biological agriculture on his 5 acre Clare organic market garden farm with a strong commercial focus of supplying a range of retail and food service outlets. Jim is a renowned organic vegetable grower who trains people to become growers themselves.

Jim is one of our most treasured trainers at National Organic Training Skillnet and his Organic Market Gardening and Intro to Market Gardening courses sell out in double quick time every year. Jim also hosts numerous 1-day workshops each year for us, and these are all well attended. Participants are drawn to Jim's warm character, his encyclopaedic knowledge of his craft, and his incredibly impressive farm operation in Co Clare.

The best way to learn is from those that are involved every day and are able to combine the old traditions with new knowledge and methods based on sound principals – Jim does exactly that on his farm in Bridgetown, Co Clare. Originally from Ennistymon, Jim has been gardening from his early childhood. He never lost the passion and excitement of practicing and exploring Organic Gardening and is now known to many as a leading expert in organic horticulture and is a mine of information and advice on all aspects of growing organically, with a lifetime of experience and a deep love of working in cooperation with nature. Jim is also an advocate of local, sustainable agriculture and was a founding member of the thriving Killaloe Farmers Market where he sells his garden fresh produce all year round.
Nominator: Kevin Fagan, Communications Manager, National Organic Training Skillset

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