Feeding Ourselves 2023 – Another Rural is Possible!

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th March 2023, all roads lead to Cloughjordan, Ireland, where ARC2020 and friends come together to work on making another rural Ireland possible! Held in the WeCreate Workspace in Cloughjordan Ecovillage with Irish partners Cultivate, Cloughjordan Community Farm the Environmental Pillar and Talamh Beo (a farmer and farm worker organisation affiliated with the Land Workers Alliance and la Via Campesina) this gathering is designed to facilitate community learning and movement building. It will be an opportunity to celebrate and connect to farming, food, our ecology and community, to learn more about practicing food sovereignty, seed sovereignty, agroecology, high nature value farming, best policy and practice, the solidarity economy, rural inclusivity and diversity, and community-supported local food systems. 

New – Feeding Ourselves Programme out now!

Book here on Cultivate’s website

SATURDAY 25th March 

10.00 – Voices from the field:  Breakfast session sharing stories of where we are at and a facilitated discussion on emerging practice. 

11.30 – Feeding Ourselves. Growing a stronger movement   
Where are we at?  Where do we want to go?  How do we get there?
Strengthening the solidarity food movement on the island and supporting a regenerative and more resilient way to nourish the land and feed ourselves

14.00 – Break out sessions

  • Community Supported Agriculture 
  • Diversity in Agriculture  
  • Policy Weaving – agri-food rural, environmental
  • Textiles from seed to fibre
  • Digitalisation – OFN Platform  
  • Soil and Biodiversity – findings from research

15.30 – Connecting with Europe – 
A blended session held with Forum Synergies, with online participants joining from across Europe. With Short Stories from the book ‘Rural Europe Takes Action – No More Business as Usual’. 
Balkan Seeds Network – The story of a network of scientists and seed savers’ organisations tapping into the rich biodiversity and agricultural heritage of South Eastern Europe to stimulate resilient food systems
Plessé – Faced with the urgent threat of encroaching mega farms, the municipality of Plessé in France decided to take agricultural affairs into their own hands
Food Hubs – Food hubs have emerged as a successful model to promote the aggregation, value addition, distribution, and marketing of local food. 
Women in Agriculture – Envisioning what gender equality looks like in agriculture and how inequality prevents women bringing their perspective and experience to the discussion, design and implementation of all things food, farming and rural living.

16.45 – Plenary / Keynote Reflections 
Rural Ireland takes Action – 4 north Tipperary farmers diversifying, driven by environmental care
Sean O Farrell (beef, poultry, pork, biodiversity, education, social farming) 
Mimi Crawford (dairy, poultry, pork; regenerative agriculture and dairy direct selling)
Ailbhe Gerard (sheep, forestry, honey, education/climate action)
Maurice Deacy (cereals, heritage grains, on-farm brewery) 

Sharing insights and reflections from the first day with ARC2020

Saturday Evening  

20.00 – SpeakEATsy – Join us for the evening extravaganza that is the one and only SpeakEATsy, a unique evening of live music, poetry, amazing food, a compelling conversation and DJs to finish.

SUNDAY 26th March 

Four strands of activity over the day, all starting and ending together. 
10.00 – Breakfast Check In

11.15 – 4 Options 
STRAND 1 – Just Transition Deep listening to farmers and their concerns, in a context of targets for GHG emissions reductions and other environmental legislation.   
STRAND 2 – Food Hubs in the Rural Economy and their role in the Just Transition
STRAND 3 – Seeds and natural dyes workshop and photo exhibition with Seeds4all and Irish partners
STRAND 4 – Intro to syntropic agroforestry 

13.00 – Lunch

14.00 – 4 Options 
STRAND 1 – Another Rural Is Possible. Policy check-in – Talamh Beo, Environmental Pillar and others present policy ideas for feedback
STRAND 2 – What is next for the Feeding Ourselves Network.
STRAND 3 – Community Seed Banks with Kevin Dudley
STRAND 4 – A RED Gardens Experience with Bruce Darrell 
15.30 – Feeding Ourselves Final Session – Weaving it all together 
16.30 – Farm Visits – Options on the way home 

What is Feeding Ourselves

For 12 years agroecological farmers and workers, community food and environmental advocates, and organisations and people involved in food cooperatives, fair food systems, environmental advocacy and rural revitalisation have come together in Cloughjordan to explore a regenerative and more resilient way to nourish the land and feed ourselves.

Feeding Ourselves has helped build this movement by providing a space of solidarity, a place to listen to each other, to be challenged, to understand and help amplify each other’s work, to contribute to the practices and policies needed to restore our fragile ecosystems and explore the mechanisms for a deep and genuine just transition in farming, food and land use. 

Our weekend together also includes amazing local agroecological food from the community farm, policy work, music, practical workshops, deep listening exercises, thematic tours, walks and talks, and an evening to celebrate it all via the immersive, creative speakEATsy banquet and celebration. This is all done with the most participatory of methods – everyone who comes, from Donegal to Kerry, eastern Europe to coastal France – is part of what’s happening! 


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As well as the organisations mentioned, partners also include; the Solid Network, Open Food Network IrelandCSA Network Ireland, UCC Centre for Cooperative Studies and from Europe Forum Synergies, the DESIRA Horizon 2020 Project on sustainable rural digitalisation (which Cultivate and the Open Food Network are a part of as Living Labs) and Seeds4All, who will bring a tactile, workshop-driven dimension incorporating natural dyes and seeds.

Apple fest Cloughjordan photo Eoin Campbell

Forum Synergies add a Saturday afternoon webinar dimension, with farmers involved in the innovative Plessé model of good local agri-food governance in France, and the emerging Balkan Seed Network, while connecting with Talamah Beo’s diversity work and Food Hubs here in Ireland. Digitalisation and how best to do it, via the living lab concept and practice, will be showcased.  

Book here on Cultivate’s website

This event, in a stunning real world location, is a place where the daily work of rural resilience is happening in situ. It features an intentional community (ecovillage) on 67 acres with an edible landscape, community forestry, energy, allotments, research and demonstration areas, community seed bank, an enterprise centre with fab lab, co-working spaces, classrooms, a weekly Tuesday farm lunchtime cafe, event spaces and more.

Aerial view Cloughjordan photo (c) Eoin Campbell

Book here on Cultivate’s website

With all that is happening in the world of food – food shortages and war, climate and biodiversity emergencies, cost of living crises, path dependency and intensification, with tensions over how to do a just transition, now is a critical time to connect up with each other again. This makes it all the more a time to amplify the agroecological approaches so many of us are a part of.  From seeds to soil, from community food facilities to local food economies, another rural Ireland is possible – and we’re building it, in all its diverse and agroecological beauty. So let’s meet, greet, learn, connect, celebrate our land and water, our plants and animals and planet, our people in all their diversity, from wherever they have come. Join us in helping bring it all together, building a fair, inclusive, ecologically humming, vibrant rural Ireland and Europe!

The Feeding Ourselves gathering is a space of solidarity, to listen to each other, to understand and help amplify each other’s work, to contribute to the practices and policies needed to restore our fragile ecosystems and explore the mechanisms for a deep and genuine just transition in farming, food and land use. 

More on Feeding Ourselves last year

Feeding Ourselves 2022 – Crises Compound, Food Sovereignty Movement Mobilises

Diversification in Rural Ireland – event report

Just Transition in Ireland – Next Steps

Rural Ireland on the Move – new report on Just Transition and Diversification launched.

Reading to get ready for Feeding Ourselves 2023 

Extrait de livre | La politique agricole et alimentaire communale – PAAC – de Plessé

Cultivating The Future Together – ARC’s Rural Resilience Gathering in France

Regional Rural Responses – Reimagined.

Rural Dialogues | The Three Conditions of Sustainable Rural Digitalisation

Ireland’s Our Rural Future – a rural digitisation gold standard?

Feeding Ourselves previous years

Feeding Ourselves 2021 – Policy Report Ireland

Rural Dialogues | What are the 3 A’s of Feeding Ourselves in Ireland?

Farm Specialisation or Diversification?


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About Oliver Moore 215 Articles

Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC.

A propos d'Oliver Moore
Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux. 

Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »). 

Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large.

Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web. 

À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.

Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.