Who we are and what we do
Food For Humans farm was born in 2014 from our passion for regenerative farming systems, it is split primarily into two parts, a french intensive market garden and a newly planted pick-your-own polyculture orchard. At Food For Humans farm we practice a blend of permaculture, biological farming and french intensive farming. This combination of approaches blends ,what we consider to be, the best from each of these systems into an abundant ecosystem which produces food of high nutrient density and exceptional flavour.
So what is french intensive market gardening?
French intensive market gardening was developed by parisian market gardeners between 1850 and 1900, these masters of horticulture fed the whole of paris and exported food to england and they achieved all this on just 6% of the land in paris, this hugely impressive feat was made possible by their development of intensive growing practices and season extension they also used so much aged manure and compost in their gardens that they were said to build their own soil, multiple crops were grown in the same area one after the other with no break between and glass was used extensively to protect tender plants and stretch the growing system . This is a very simplified version of their practices but it gives an idea of the bounty these masters produced.
And a polyculture orchard is….?
In its simplest terms a polyculture orchard is an orchard that has many different types of trees vines or bushes, a conventional orchard consisting of ,for example, apples is prone to pests and disease because once they get into your orchard they can move from tree to tree wreaking havoc, in our polyculture orchard we avoid placing trees of the same type next to each other and instead we have planted in rows but each row contains only fruit which is ripe within a 7 day period for ease of picking and the pests are confused by the apparently random planting pattern, what better way than to mimic nature.
This orchard will, as far as we are aware, be the first of its kind in ireland, however it is in its infancy and it is not producing fruit just yet.
There are some underlying principles that we use throughout our farm, we know that the life in the soil is there to perform beneficial tasks and that if we help them they will help us, an example of this is fungal organisms dissolving cobalt and bringing it to an apple tree in exchange for sugars, this allows the apple tree to use the cobalt to maintain a healthy immune system and keep itself free from apple scab. Nature has got these systems all figured out and here at Food For Humans farm we do everything we can to assist it.
Food for humans farm is run by Stephen Sinnott and his wife Brigid, he trained and worked as a plumber in cork until 2012 when he became fascinated with sustainable agriculture. His interests and objectives have evolved since then and Food for humans farm was born in 2014 from a desire to make a real difference in his local community by providing high quality food transparently and regeneratively.
Food for humans farm is in its early stages of development and the future looks bright, 2016 was a very formative and educational year as the farm built infrastructure and developing production systems.
The decision regarding organic certification was carefully considered and after research and discussions with experienced farmers we decided that the amount of paperwork and expense involved were not in keeping with our aim on the farm so we simply call ourselves chemical free.
Using chemicals to produce food has never been something we have considered and we leave it up to our customers to come to the farm and see how their food is produced, that is all the approval we need.
We are what some would call a microfarm, our vegetable production site is only 3.5 acres and less than half of that is actively being used but it means we have room to grow with our customer base, the biologically intensive methods which we use allow us to produce an enormous quantity of vegetables on our small land base without resorting to high mechanization.
Our Farm Objectives
Our aim at the farm is to provide healthy, tasty and affordable local food to as many people as possible while regenerating our farmland and having a lot of fun in the process.
That certainly sounds like a challenge and we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love this stuff but we believe that small intensive farms are the way forward for fruit and vegetable production.
Making all this happen is a challenge but being efficient and embracing the use of appropriate techniques and technology has proven it is possible if the farmer is diligent and creative.
We will continue to research the most flavorful and nutrient dense vegetable and fruit varieties to serve the food lovers of Cork. We are continuing to build our infrastructure, customer base and finding the best ways to make our produce available. We would love to receive feedback and advice from customers and the general public, this will help us to improve consistently.