Christmas 2021 – Letter from the Chairperson



OGI, internship 2021

As another year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members for their continued support. Much like 2020 this year has once again been affected with the Covid pandemic which has caused disruptions to all sectors. Farm walks and workshops for both the Internship programme and the Small Growers Network had to be rearranged or cancelled and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved for the patience and understanding over the last two years.

A very big thank you to Jennifer Byrne who, in taking on the role as coordinator for the Internship Programme, has had a very successful first year despite the disruptions. 11 interns completed the programme this year and then Jennifer put together a fantastic line up for the Future Growers Conference (see below!) which made a welcome return in an online setting after last years hiatus.

A huge thank you must be given to Jason Horner who is stepping down from his role as coordinator of the Small Growers Network. Jason was a founding member of the OGI and continued to be a driving force of organisation through helping to set up and coordinate both the Internship and SGN programmes. His passion and enthusiasm in providing education and training to new entrants and knowledge transfers between existing growers has been an invaluable asset to the Organic sector as a whole and has helped cement the OGI at the forefront of providing these services in the future. So, thank you Jason, good luck with the growing and expanding seed saving operations and we are delighted to still have you on the steering committee for the Internship Programme for the coming year.

2021 was not all doom and disruptions and I am happy to announce that the OGI became a Limited Company! Whilst this will not change anything about the structure or ethos of the organisation we hope that it will assist us in becoming more organised and better equipped to provide some of the services and events which will be of benefit to our members. The early part of 2022 looks to be as unsettled as the previous 2 years but hopefully we will be able to organise some events towards the middle part of the year and possibly put on some online content at regular intervals. Watch this space!!

To be the DAFM we would like to express our sincere gratitude for their continued support in funding the Internship and SGN programmes which continue to be an asset to the growing organic sector.

Lastly a big thanks to the board members of the OGI for giving up their time and energy to help keep the organistation moving forward. Whilst Zoom meetings don’t offer the chance for a proper catch up, they do allow people from across the country to meet more often to get stuff done!

A special thanks to Catherine Hayes who stepped down as Chairperson this year and has been extremely helpful (and patient due to my questions!) to me in my first year. Catherine was also the driving force behind getting the OGI incorporated, setting up the new website and the monthly newsletter which she still takes it upon herself to do each month despite working abroad at present. So thank you Catherine from everyone involved with the OGI for all the time and effort in getting us to where we are today. If any of our members has any articles, blogs or tips on methods of growing they find useful please feel free to share them with us through the newsletter. We are always looking for content and see the newsletter as means to share ideas and information with each other. For anyone seeking employment or looking for workers also feel free to contact us and we can put your request on the newsletter.

So, from all of us here at the OGI we would like to extend our most heartfelt Seasons Greetings and hope that you all have a lovely break and some well-earned rest over the festive period. We will be back with another Newsletter in January with all the hope and excitement for another fantastic year of muddy boots and dirty nails!!

Noel Clinton (Chairperson)

Orla Burke (Secretary)

Catherine Hayes

Colm O’Driscoll

Una Wycherley