Irish ‘Farming for Nature’ project is runner-up in global award

A small Irish project, which aims to identify, promote and support farming practices that improve farmland biodiversity, has been announced as a prize winner in the competition – the ‘Act for Biodiversity Challenge’.

From over 200 projects across the world, Farming for Nature was awarded second place, receiving a cash prize of €40,000.

Organisers of the competition commented on current biodiversity challenges, saying: “This year the United Nations reported that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. We are facing an existential threat.

“The Act for Biodiversity Challenge aimed to identify ‘bold social innovators’ who are bringing people together to take on this extensive, complex and urgent issue.

“We wanted them to identify ways to collaborate on preserving and restoring biodiversity – through solutions designed for agriculture, urban environments and forests.”

‘A huge resource’

One of the founders of the project Brendan Dunford said: “We feel strongly that farmers are a potentially huge resource in responding to our climate and biodiversity crisis.

To mobilise this resource, we need to acknowledge and celebrate those farmers who already do great things for nature, then share their enthusiasm and practical knowledge with their farming peers.

“We also must recognise that farming is a business and so we strongly advocate paying farmers who deliver ecosystem services on their land, and supporting them with the research and advice to do so.”

Farming for Nature co-ordinator, Brigid Barry, welcomed the award.

“This amazing award recognises the innovation and impact of ‘Farming for Nature’ at a global level and will enable us to build an effective European network with farmers at its heart,” she stated.

She also thanked Bord Bia, which funded the ‘Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards’ in Ireland, for its support along with the Department of Agriculture and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).