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Where i think the Irish Smallholders Association fits in

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Joined: 3 Apr 2012
Where i think the Irish Smallholders Association fits in

Hi everyone, just thought I'd kick off the new forum with a quick hello and my own opinion on the place that the Irish Smallholders Association fits into.  This is just off the top of my head, so I'm aware that my broad stroke generalisations below won't fit everyone.  

At one end of the scale we have gardening clubs, which are generally aimed at home growers.  People at this level can be beginners or very experienced, but their focus is generally on growing veg, sometimes keeping poultry as well.  They usually are growing in their own garden, an allotment or community garden, and could be in an urban or rural area.  The biggest organisation supporting this group is GIY Ireland, which has done great work getting hundreds of people growing their own for the first time, and supporting them.

At the other end of the scale we have commercial scale farmers, for whom farming is normally a fulltime occupation and livelihood.  Their land holdings are typically 50+ acres, and their techniques and equipment would be at a comparably larger scale. Typically they'd specialise in one or two types of farming.  The most commonly known organisation supporting and representing this group is the IFA, although there are other organisations for some sectors, including organic certification bodies and associations around specific types / breeds of livestock, etc.  

Between these two groups, we have people who are doing a range of activities and generating a variety of outputs from their land, from growing vegetables, keeping poultry, pigs, alpaca, or sheep, etc.  They're putting a lot of their time into their land, but aren't necessarily in it as a fulltime commercial businesses, although often they would be aiming at some level of self-sufficiency.  The size of their holdings would probably be more than an acre, and typically they'd be outside of urban or built up areas.  There are several regional groups or informal networks of people at this level, but until the Irish Smallholders Association, there hasn't been a national group to serve the interests, create a network and represent smallholders.  

Would like to hear other people's opinions on this.


Edited by: frost on 3 Apr 2012 - 7:45pm

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