Paul McCormick & Jacinta French
Paul and Jacinta run a 30-acre mixed farm near Skibbereen County Cork. There is about 16 acres of grassland and 14 acres of mixed woodland on the farm. Some of the woodland is mature with old native trees and other parts were planted by Paul and Jacinta over the years. Having previously run a tree nursery, they experiment with different trees such as cobnut, chestnut, walnut and heartnut trees. They breed a small herd of Droimeann cattle, producing high quality beef that is sold direct to neighbours and friends. Interested in agroforestry, Paul has spent a number of years converting parts of the woodland to a pasture-based wood. Meaning the animals graze the woodland during the summer and autumn season, but in the spring the woodland is left to give spring flowers the opportunity to bloom. Paul and Jacinta are also working hard to re-diversify the grassland as much as possible. One way they are doing this is by feeding a specifically selected multi-species hay to the cattle over the summer months, in the hope that the cattle will help to reintroduce these different grass species back into the seedbank of the soil.
Paul and Jacinta take deep consideration for biodiversity and wildlife with every decision they make on the land. There are a few ponds on the land and a river also flows through the farm. Other valuable habitats include the permanent pasture, woodland, a riparian zone along the riverfront and areas of rewilded land. They are delighted to witness the return of bird species like the tree creeper, the red pole, the goldcrest and buzzards to the farm. Nomination Description:
They farm Droimeann beef and use to run a fruit and nut nursery called Woodkerne nursery. They run a farm for nature while experimenting with new ways to farm including rewilding and growing unusual fruit and nut species throughout the farm. They are both very knowledgeable and always thinking of ways to improve biodiversity on their farm for example cutting into healthy trees to create habitat for fungi and insects and create light for wildflowers to grow. The cows can roam in mature woodland and feed on a variety of plants keeping them healthy and away for chemicals and any reliance on antibiotics etc. They are surrounded be the green dairy desert so theirs is an oasis of diversity and should be commended for the work they do.
Nominator: Donal Chambers, Course Coodinator, Kinsale Permaculture College