Biodiversity recognised in Scariff Harbour Festival programme

Scariff Harbour Festival and Irish Seed Savers have come together to highlight the issue of biodiversity loss and to create an awareness of the need for sustainable and lasting change in the way people interact with the environment.

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Supporting and stabilising natural ecosystems are necessary now, so that future generations can have clean air and water, healthy food supplies and medicines and the essentials for survival in the decades to come.

‘Scariff is home to Irish Seed Savers and while our conservation work in support of biodiversity and sustainability is recognised nationally and internationally, we honour and cherish our local roots,’ said General Manager, Elaine Bradley. ‘During the popular harbour festival, we will be giving a tour of our 20 acre organic farm and a children’s treasure hunt at Capparoe, just north of the town, over the upcoming bank holiday week-end,’ she added.

Capparoe is a haven of  biodiversity through its regenerative farming practices where the land has been coaxed back into a state of great beauty, balanced with productivity. The orchards at Irish Seedsavers hold the National Heritage Apple Tree Collection, with over 180 varieties that are unique to Ireland and vegetables are grown in its seed gardens. Open-pollinated organic seed are then supplied nationally.

Understanding where our food comes from and how it is grown is a vital lesson for children, including the primary importance of pollinators and the need to create and protect habitats for them. ‘For the festival, we are offering a Children’s Biodiversity Treasure Hunt that takes in our meadows, wetland and woodland and where they will come into contact with a range of minibeasts, bees and butterflies. If they are lucky they might spot some of our resident pine martens, stoats, hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, and birds of prey,’ Elaine Bradley said.

Irish Seedsavers mitigate biodiversity loss by conserving and protecting Ireland’s genetic food crop heritage and making it available for widespread use. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation reports that  75% of food crop varieties were lost globally in the last century due mainly to agricultural practices. Once a variety is lost, it is gone forever.

Irish Seed Savers continue to find and save heritage varieties that yield great vegetables that can be grown on for seed to be saved and shared, thus adding to food security, community resilience and sustainability. Open-pollinated heritage seed is locally adapted and therefore not dependent on chemical fertilisers and pesticides to be its best.

In addition to the Irish Seedsavers tour and Children’s Treasure Hunt on Saturday 30th July, native woodland specialist and conservationist, Andrew St Ledger will take people through the Tuamgraney Community Native Woodland Restoration Project at Raheen and outlining the importance of woodland heritage in a local context.

Full details of the Scariff Harbour Festival programme are available here.

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