Smallholders of Ireland

Apr 4, 2016 by

Smallholders of Ireland

Back a couple of years ago I curated the Smallholders UK Twitter account. At the time I had no pigs as they had gone to slaughter but I had a few chickens and ducks, a vegetable patch and a bit of creative photography. I chatted about rearing my own animals, growing my own food and cooking and baking. I think I got away with it. It was great fun. Loads of interaction, loads of discussion and loads of questions. I curated it again towards the end of last year 2015. This time I had plenty of pigs and didn’t have to be quite so creative. Still loads of fun and got to “meet” lots of other smallholders who I consider friends and would love to meet in reality.

When the week was over I felt a bit bereft. My own account seemed stagnant in comparison. I suddenly thought it would be a good time to start a Smallholder Ireland account and mooted it on my Twitter account. There was lots of positivity and plenty of encouragement so one day when I was down the fields fixing fencing I set an account up on my phone.

The account began in earnest at the beginning of January this year. As you can see we have over 700 followers and are on our 13th curator. I think it is safe to say it’s been a success. We have had organic small farmers, real pig farmers (not intensive/factory farming), a female butcher who rears her own organic pigs, cider makers, jam makers, an artisan food and craft market, smallholders growing and rearing their own food and a small business making syrups and concoctions from foraged ingredients.

There is not as big a culture of smallholding here in Ireland as there is in the UK so I figured we needed to include small artisan food businesses as well. Maybe the account will encourage more to take the plunge. After all what is better than knowing where the food on your plate came from. With all the furore over “fake farms” from the big multiple supermarkets such as Tesco, Aldi and Lidl it is more pertinent than ever.

There are loads of curated farming accounts with “real” farmers tweeting about the daily activities and lifestyle. But unless you have access to a lot of land, the average person is unlikely to become a farmer. However, many people have a large garden or even an acre around their home. Believe it or not this can be more than enough to produce your own food or at least make a significant contribution.

Some of the photos posted would make anyone yearn for a lifestyle away from the rat race, traffic jams, crowded streets and stagnant air.

The account is curated from 8 am on Monday morning to 7 pm the following Sunday. Catherina Cunnane from That’s Farming – an online farming publication interviews the curator weekly and publishes a short piece about them. It has been a great incentive encouraging many to take the plunge I feel. Some of the tweeters have been a bit nervous about what is involved but judging from the feedback I think this dissipates pretty quickly as the week progresses. It is like anything, you get out of it what you put into it.

So how about it? If you would like to get involved and fancy curating for a week. Shout. You never know what might come out of it.

From small acorns……….

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