Sean Gilligan and Rob Kennedy
Sean Gilligan and Rob Kenedy are two friends from Co. Sligo who have recently taken on a joint farming venture in Strandhill. Having started this project in 2020, they now have a productive mixed farm producing vegetables, eggs, beef and pork. There is a 1-acre market garden on the farm, and the lads are growing 21 different vegetable crops this year. They keep 400 layers in a moveable egg mobile, meaning the hens are moved to fresh pasture every day. Fresh, chemical-free eggs and veg are sold on-site in their farm shop and at the local farmer's market. This year they have brought a small number of cattle and pigs on to the farm and the plan is to start a meat box scheme with their pasture raised stock. The majority of the land is in grassland, most of which is permanent pasture, and the cattle are mob grazed. There is about 1/3 of an acre of old woodland on the farm which is an important habitat for birds and other wildlife. This is a highly productive farm and the farming model being implemented by Sean and Rob is one that is not only environmentally friendly but also economically viable as well.
These are two friends working in partnership, they have set up a beautiful farm operation (not unlike Cathal's from last year). They are currently selling eggs and veg. Their first season has been a fantastic success, and they are expanding their enterprises to include pigs and cattle this year. They are selling their products through a CSA and a self-service farm shop that works on an honesty box system. They have a great story, especially the speed at which they turned the farm around from conventional beef and established a profitable business at a very low cost. They are not certified organic but follow organic principles in growing their veg and feeding their animals. It is a fantastic model of how an ecologic farming system can be highly productive and profitable.
Nominator: Clive Bright, FFN Ambassador