The Organic Growers of Ireland’s (OGI) mission is to represent, support, grow and educate the growers that contribute to the Irish organic horticultural sector. Our volunteer Board Members are busy throughout the year, ensuring the voice of Irish organic growers is heard. Here’s a glimpse of some of what they got up to in 2023.

In December of 2022 we made a submission in response to KPMG’s report on Opportunities for the Irish Horticulture Sector as part of the public consultation on the development of a National Horticulture Strategy to 2030.

In February and March 2023, we worked on a funding application for the Creative Climate Fund which would have seen us working on a documentary to promote organics. Unfortunately, we were not successful in our bid, but Dance Limerick were successful in a separate bid and the OGI are noted as collaborators on that project which will aim to tell the stories of local Limerick people who are trying to make a difference in their communities in the context of environmental and climate protection. In May of this year, we made a submission on the new National Strategy for Horticulture 2030.

In early July 2023, Lorcan Burke of Bord Bia and Emmett Doyle, Organic Sector Manager, Bord Bia, met with Padraig and Una Fahy of Beechlawn Organics, Talamh Beo’s Fergal Anderson and OGI’s Una Wycherley. The meeting was the first formal meeting with Emmett in his new role – in which he is responsible for building and executing Bord Bia’s strategy for the organic sector, working closely with Irish organic producers and stakeholders. We suggested and discussed potential Bord Bia initiatives that could support Organics in Ireland. Emmet spoke about his plans for an advertising campaign on organics which has recently been rolled out. We’re sure that you have all seen the “More-ganic” tagline that is being used to encourage consumers to add more organic produce to their shopping baskets. The meeting took place at Beechlawn Organic Farm and the two OGI interns on placement at Beechlawn, John and Bruna, gave a farm tour and explained the growing, harvesting and processing work at Beechlawn. Thank you to Padraig and Una Fahy for their warm welcome on the day.

In August of 2023, we made a submission as part of the public consultation on the Draft National Organic Strategy up to 2030. Along with Kitty Scully our OGI Network Coordinator, some of our Board members attended the Tullamore show in August and The Ploughing Championships in September where we spread the word about the OGI work and networked with stakeholders in the agricultural sector. An exciting development to emerge from the Ploughing Championships is a 2024 OGI European Farm Walk in The Netherlands (stay tuned for more info on this!)

We were also involved in the consultation process for the establishment of a MSc in Organic and Biological Horticulture. We attended two Horticulture Industry Forum meetings where we lobbied for financial supports for smaller growers, and as a follow up DAFM have promised to undertake a survey of the sector to get a better idea of the contribution we make. We provided a list of questions to DAFM as suggested material for the survey.

We welcomed a new Board member, Conor Foxton, who has taken on the role of Treasurer of the Board. Conor has completed the OGI Internship in Organic Horticulture and Jim Cronin’s Organic Market Gardening Course before establishing his own market gardening business, Redwood Market Garden, located in Lorrha, North Tipperary.

We are looking forward to a fruitful (and vegful) 2024!