The Farming for Nature (FFN) project has welcomed Galway-based farming duo Fergal Anderson and Emanuela Russo to its growing Ambassador network.
This year’s ambassadors include beef, sheep, forestry, dairy, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of valuable habitats across Ireland.
The FFN ambassador network is made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
Fergal Anderson and Emanuela Russo of Leaf and Root Farm run a market garden in Loughrea. The farm is comprised of 30 acres in total, 25 of which is mixed forestry.
The remaining 5 acres are used to produce a vast range of agroecologically produced vegetables and fruits, including but not limited to, beets, chard, kale, radish, blackcurrants, gooseberries, loganberries, apples, plums, pears and a range of medicinal herbs.
They sell their produce direct to customers and supply restaurants in Galway.
Fergal and Emanuela have been working on the land for eight years, gradually building the soil and transforming the land into a productive farm that is economically and ecologically sustainable.
Bees are kept on the farm and they plan to reintroduce chickens and include them in their vegetable rotation system.
They use a diverse range of green manures on the farm to increase the fertility of the soil as well as enhancing the soil biology and structure. They grow summer green manure crops to provide food for insects.
The farm is full of biodiversity – there is a stream in the woodland which has crayfish and otter in it. There are two small ponds on the farm with frogs and newts. There are red squirrel and pine marten, foxes, hares, bats and sparrowhawks.
They have planted ‘natural edges’ around the land with hazel, hawthorn and other native trees. They leave ‘wild spaces’ around as much of the land as possible to further increase biodiversity on the farm.
FFN is featuring their Ambassadors on a bi-monthly basis until August 2022.
FFN will work with these inspiring ambassadors to produce farm videos, podcasts, ‘Ask the Farmer’ sessions, farm walks and more.