Feeding Ourselves Festival in Cloughjordan. Come for the talks and tours. Stay for the food, drinks, music and dancing! #People4Soil

Published by Eric Maher on

3rd April 2017

Last week, we looked at the growth and success of Ireland’s first eco-village in Cloughjordan, Tipperary. On Saturday and Sunday, Cultivate will be hosting their annual Feeding Ourselves festival at the eco-village.

It promises to be a great weekend of good company, food and drink, interesting talks, along with music and dancing. (Cultivate have reassured me that dancing is entirely optional for the less than functional prima-ballerina)

Feeding Ourselves

Feeding Ourselves caters for an eclectic audience, from a gardening greenhorn to the horticulturalist aficionado. This year, they’re celebrating our soil; the food it provides for our communities, the agroecological farmers and growers who work the land.

Described as more of a gathering and pow wow than a conference, there are a variety of events planned for people of all background and age such as The Little Food Fair,  an Art Exhibit, the Spicebox of Earth and, the famous, SpeakEATsy.Image may contain: text

The talks themselves promise to be as interesting as they will be animated. Topics to be considered is the role of hemp in assisting small farms, forest gardens and poly-cultures and a feeding ourselves open session.

A farm walk and eco-village tour will give everyone, from rural and urbanite backgrounds, a better understanding and overview of what is happening at Cloughjordan. GROW, an EU wide initiative monitoring the quality of European soil, and People4Soil will be in attendance.


Unlike wind, air and nature, there are currently no specific laws in Europe dealing with soil protection. This has led to deterioration in the quality of soil across Europe. Soil is a precious resource that feeds the planet but is under constant threat from industry, over-farming, pesticides, urbanization and the loss of biodiversity. In Europe, an area of nearly 200,000 square kilometers (approximately, the size of Great Britain) has permanently lost its soil-related functions, 3 square kilometers of soil disappearing each day.

Land used for urbanization is one threat but it is only the tip of the iceberg, as soil in Europe faces many threats: Over 250.000 sites are chemically contaminated, almost half of the agricultural soils are threatened by the depletion of humus, millions hectares are damaged by wind and rain erosion.

Ireland has felt the effects of this. The quality of our food is under threat, flooding has become more common and damaging and the Irish agricultural economy is facing present and future financial difficulties if the situation continues.

Change is needed and, like a number of other EU countries, are demanding protection from its leaders. Our country needs 8,250 signatures for a directive on soil to be considered before it’s too late. 1,000,000 signatures are required across 7 EU member states.

Giulia Canevari & Martin Obst, NCAD Community Garden

Communities and businesses have already got behind the campaign,raising awareness of the issue through talks, events and screenings.

We have already seen how precarious the situation is with Soil4Gold setting up operations in Ireland

Members of Ireland’s People4Soil group will be on hand to share information, get people involved and to offer people the chance to sign the petition.

It can also be done quickly and easily online by clicking here.


SpeakEATsy has been heralded as a huge success and great craic by anybody who has attended the event in previous years. It’s like part of the Electric Picnic on tour. It’s 25 euro to attend this part of the event but that includes a community feast with workers, attendees and participants.

Once fed and sated, informal chin-wags, songs and music will guide you from the dimming sun of a retiring Saturday into a star speckled sight of the Tipperary sky.

Great local food 7.30-8.30 and then
Leisa and Andy (acoustic singer songwriters)
Aoife Reilly (poetry)
Martin McGuire (recital)
Fergus Costello (music and poetry)
Conversation with Clive Bright (mob grazer and artist) on soil, food and community

For more information and tickets on Feeding Ourselves and SpeakEATsy click here.

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Eric Maher

Eric Maher is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from UCD.