Padraig and Una Fahy
Padraig and Una Fahy of Beechlawn Organic Farm have been 20 years in operation and run a successful organic horticulture farm near Ballinasloe County Galway. The farm is about 45 acres in total and the land ranges from good free draining land to some heavier land. They grow over 20 varieties of vegetables, from brassicas to salads, from leeks to tomatoes. They run a 4-year vegetable and cover crop rotation. As this is a stockless farm, fertility is bought in in the form of organic chicken manure pellets. Cover crops also play an important role in building soil fertility. They produce vegetables year-round and employ between 20-25 local people on the farm.
Padraig and Una have been strong advocates for organic, fresh and local food for many years. They are heavily involved in the organic community and believe strongly in the power of education. They take horticulture interns every year and run a variety of school tours on the farm. They work hard to create as much space for wildlife and biodiversity as possible on the farm – "There is about 1 hectare of land on the farm that is left purely for biodiversity and habitat." They have planted trees and hedges around the farm for years. They leave approx. 5m margin around the cultivated fields, allowing space for wildflowers and vegetation to grow. There are mature hedgerows and groves on the land, and Padraig and Una value these areas as important habitat for the birds and insects on the farm. Their produce is sold direct and in stores countrywide.
Beechlawn Organic Farm have been growing organic vegetables for 20 years, they supply retailers, restaurants, local shops and sell direct to consumers via their box delivery and farm shop. They have been strong advocates for organic farming for many years and have integrated lots of nature friendly activities on their own land and also rented land. For Padraig and Una it has always been about nature and access to healthy food for all. Beechlawn grow almost 40 varieties of crops and employ almost 30 people on this farm all of whom are living in the local area. They also run educational events on the farm to inform the next generation about organic food production, biodiversity and local food supply. Padraig and Una starting out as environmental campaigners and then decided that they had to be proactive and started to look at reforming the family farm in Ballinalsoe which they have done over the years.
Nominator: Grace Maher, Development Officer, Irish Organic Association