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!
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
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!
As well as the organisations mentioned, partners also include; the Solid Network, Open Food Network Ireland, CSA 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.
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.
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.
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
Reading to get ready for Feeding Ourselves 2023
Feeding Ourselves previous years