It’s been a few years since Irish surf champion Fergal Smith transitioned from the high airmile life of a pro-surfer to working the land in West Ireland.
They have already expanded from the community garden into a fully-fledged csa farm further up the hill. They’re already producing food for over 50 families who buy into their vegetable box scheme, they run a community ‘cook up’ on Friday evenings and they’ve begun reforesting this part of Ireland, planting 12,000 saplings to date.
Now they’re taking things up another level. The crowdfunding campaign, launched ten days ago, aims to raise an ambitious €500,000 ($550,000) to buy 60 acres of land between their two sites. The plan is to plant native trees, to continue using trees in their food farming – a process known as agro-forestry – and to develop their social farming
It wasn’t easy to persuade everyone that it was possible to grow trees in this flat corner of Ireland, right on the blowy Atlantic coast. “Farmers would stop and have the craic with us, saying you can’t grow trees here, that it’s too windy, too salty, too this, too that,” says Moy Hill’s Matt Smith (no relation). “Then after another few months, they’d be like ‘oh I remember when there were trees in my back garden’. Then they started helping us.”