Co. Clare-based Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA) has been announced as the June Farming For Nature ambassador. 

It was commended for making a major contribution to the protection and enhancement of nature on farms and gardens across the country for over 30 years.

Conserving and protecting Ireland’s food crop heritage for future generations, Irish Seed Savers maintains the country’s only public seed bank of over 600 varieties of seed, and conserves and protects the Irish national heritage apple tree collection. This consists of over 180 varieties of apple trees, recognised by Euriso as a living gene bank.

Irish Seed Savers preserves heirloom and heritage food crop varieties that are suitable for national and local growing conditions, contributing to the country’s food security.

From its work, a unique service is provided to the nation in the supply of organic heirloom seeds and Irish heritage apple trees.

The Farm

The 20ac farm, gardens and visitor trail at Capparoe, Scarriff, Co. Clare, demonstrate best practice in organic farming.

Seed savers

It supplies seeds of vegetables, grains, herbs and edible flowers, as well as Irish heritage apple trees, the progeny of which, thanks to ISSA, adorn many orchards across the country today.

The farm is funded by a range of sources including private membership and government finance.

Farming for Nature judge James Moran, said that Seed Savers has an excellent story to tell in terms of local seed production, maintaining genetic diversity and heritage varieties, adding:

“This is a key part of the food chain that is often not considered in wider farming circles.”

Seed Savers

“We are incredibly honoured to be chosen as a Farming For Nature ambassador for June 2021,” said Jeremy Turkington, Irish Seed Savers orchard curator.

“We have huge admiration for their work and the impact they’re having by initiating the important discussions and asking the simple question: Is this right?

“In this, our 30th anniversary year, we have developed an international reputation as a leader in sustainability and organic farming practices.

“In partnering with Farming for Nature, we look forward to demonstrating best practice in intelligent land management by farming with nature at the very heart of what we do.

“We do this alongside a highly motivated and dynamic team at Irish Seed Savers, who always go the extra mile, inspiring a new generation of farmers to identify with and nurture the happy marriages of plants and place, that make our rural communities lively, resilient and deeply meaningful,” Jeremy concluded.