Future Growers Conference 2018

Future Growers Seminar 2018 – In conjunction with the National Organic Training Skillnet, Organic Growers of Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Venue: The Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

Date: 27th of November 2018 (Tuesday)

Time: 09.00 – 10. 00 Registration – 4.30pm closing (Scroll down to see full timetable agenda)

Cost: The cost of this event is a part funded rate of €25.00 per delegate, this includes access to the conference, free car parking, refreshments and a light lunch.

Register here.


Main Speakers on the day will include the following:

Chris Walsh: Kindling Trust, UK.

See below the background about Chris Walsh:

Chris comes from a long line of farmers and farm labourers and spent much of his childhood in the fields of Northamptonshire. The first of his family to attend University, he studied Physics in Manchester. Since graduating he has focused on building a sustainable food economy for the City.

Co-founder of Bridge 5 Mill and Fairfield Recycling, Chris spends the majority of his time as a director and staff member of The Kindling Trust, helping to establish Manchester Veg People and Veg Box People.

He is an active member of Feeding Greater Manchester and their work to write a Sustainable Food Vision for Greater Manchester, launched in late 2017.

In 2018 he became a Trustee of the Real Farming Trust, which oversees the fantastic work of the Fund for Enlightened Agriculture and the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

Introduction to talk.

Chris will introduce the work of the Kindling Trust and its partners in building a sustainable food economy in the Northwest of England. Explore the challenges and errors they have made over the last decade and highlighting the potential and benefits of their unique approach to collaboration: bringing growers and buyers together.

In the second part of his talk, he will engage the audience in a conversation about the practicalities of supply chain co-operation, both through public sector procurement and the growing food artisan sector in building sustainable and resilient markets.

Gorse Farm:

Gorse Farm is a market garden, located in Bunclody on the border between of Carlow and Wexford. The garden is run by Jenny Watkins and Janet Power, both Organic horticulturists with a passion for a healthy environment and food system. The market garden operates within the Organic standards and received full Organic Certification in February 2018.

Gorse Farm came about when Jenny and Janet, both graduates of the Organic College in Dromcollogher Co. Limerick, decided to bring their skills together and establish an organic vegetable farm in the sunny southeast. The farm is located in a very scenic spot looking out at Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs mountain range. The project began in the winter of 2015/2016 with the planting of more than 400 trees as a shelterbelt. By summer 2016 two 50ft polytunnels were constructed and a few months later Gorse Farm produce was on the shelves in local Supervalu’s in Wexford. A further two 50ft polytunnels went up in summer 2017 and today the total cultivated acreage stands at approximately 1/2acre.

Organic farming represents a return to pre-industrial farming methods, where natural rhythms and biology restore their place over agro-chemicals. It is this ethos which is at the core of Gorse Farm as it encompasses a holistic approach to healthy food production, land management and care of the environment.

Gorse Farm furthermore prides itself as being a viable model of small-farm production. A model which also runs anathema to industrial-farming, as well as wider economic models centred around exponential growth.

This discussion will provide attendees with

–  a timeline of the farms’ development.

–  successes and failures since start-up

–  switching to no-dig

–  a discussion on our market: supermarkets, restaurants and direct sales.

–  future projections


Foodture is a non for profit social enterprise co-founded by food activist Nathalie Markiefka and farmer Sinéad Moran. Foodture creates content to nurture a culture of food citizenship so that citizens can participate in creating a fairer food system through sustainable food choices and more. Our goal is to reconnecting citizens with their local, fair food farmer.

Foodture will discuss its objectives are, why it exists, insights into what readers, citizens are looking for and how farmers and citizens can get involved to help grow the movement.

Other speakers will be from the 2018 Internship Programme and the Small Growers Network.


9.00-10.00:     Registration

10.00-10.10:    Opening address

10.10-10-40:    2018 Intern Presentation

10.40-11.00:     Small Growers Network Presentation

11.00-11.30:     Gorse Farm: Timeline of a successful small farm.

11.30-1.00:       Chris Walsh: bringing growers and buyers together

1.00-2.00          Lunch

2.00-3.15           Chris Walsh: Conversation on Collaboration and Co-Operative Markets

3.15-4.00           Foodture: How farmers and citizens can get involved to help grow the movement in Ireland.

4.00-4.30          Closing discussion with the OGI Steering Group