Thursday, 31 January 2013

5th February Green Drinks - Urban Farm

This month the Irish Wildlife Trust Dublin Branch heard Andrew Douglas ( & Paddy O'Kearney ( chatting about the Urban Farm project. This is Dublin's first urban farm initiative,which attempts to convert a negative space into a tangible benefit for the community. The farm is growing food on a Dublin city center rooftop with indoor aquaponic allotments to enable all season year round growing. With a 400sqm rooftop space and indoor studios, the farm will attempt to grow as much food as possible over the following year.

The farm is run on the principle of CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. How it works is that members contribute to the farm, either financially or through labour, and in return receive a share of the farm's produce. They can choose which way of receiving their share they prefer. This can take the form of collecting the fresh produce weekly, or even having it delivered, or they can call in to pick their own choice and speak to the growers themselves. Members also receive a newsletter and recipes, and can attend workshops and picnics.

The farm is going from strength to strength, with a great demand for its services. The meeting was exceptionally well attended, and Andrew and Paddy were subject to a barrage of interested and engaged (if exhausting!) questions. Andrew and Paddy also talked about their vision of the farm's future, the needs of urban agriculture in Ireland, explaining the farm's growing systems & their methods and inspirations for building Ireland's first roof top urban farm. The crowd were very impressed with their down to earth attitude, mixing business acumen with enthusiasm and idealism.

Monday, 28 January 2013

20th January Bull Island birdwatch

About forty people braved the cold and snow showers on Sunday Jan 20th to attend the IWT Dublin Branch's birdwatching event at Bull Island's causeway. The event was lead by Niall Keogh and Sean Kelly, who brought along a few telescopes for everyone to get a really good look at the wintering birds feeding on the mudflats.  Our persistence was rewarded with a view of some really beautiful birds, including ducks such a group of shelduck, and lots of teal and wigeon. Plenty of waders were in evidence too, such as redshank, sanderlings and godwits. Lapwings, plovers and oystercatchers were on show as well. Also in attendance was a hooded crow/ carrion (black) crow hybrid, which apparently is a regular visitor to that spot over the last few years. Ornithologists are divided on whether the hooded crow and carrion crow are different species or just variations of the same species, and our crow wasn't telling!

But the highlight of the day came near the end, when the cold was beginning to bite. Just by moving a hundred metres up the coast, the group were rewarded by the sight of a flock of pintails, amazing looking birds in their striking black/dark brown and white striped markings. All in all, well worth venturing out into the chill of January!