The Burren Winterage School (26th-28th October, 2017) is a unique event which brings together a truly diverse range of stakeholders – farmers, scientists, public servants and others – to break down ‘silos’ and share perspectives and ideas on sustainable pastoral land management. The School takes place every year in a community setting in the beautiful Burren.
This year’s Burren Winterage School will focus on the theme of Community-inspired innovation for sustainable farming systems. The Burren, like many of Europe’s Natura 2000 and other High Nature Value (HNV) farmed landscapes, is a challenging place to farm, but conversely is extremely rich in values around heritage, culture and landscape. The importance of sustaining what are often bespoke farming systems – adapted the unique geography of these areas – in order to sustain endangered farmland habitats and species, designated or otherwise, is now widely recognised. Farmers in such areas, if adequately motivated and supported, represent a huge potential conservation resource, holding the key to sustaining or improving the conservation status of these sites, while reducing costs and conflicts. It is also fair to say that farmers may come to depend more and more on capitalising on the natural and cultural values of these landscapes in order to improve declining farm incomes and to sustain dwindling rural communities.
This year’s Winterage School, now in its fifth year, will focus on innovative approaches – in terms of policy, research and practice – to sustaining HNV farmed landscapes. It will feature a number of ‘stories from the land’ – case studies from farmers sharing the story of their farm and their place – as well as a range of speakers from across Europe with wide experience on themes relating to conservation and farming on HNV farmland.
The School will also offer a unique insight into the innovative approach to conservation farming taking place in the Burren (www.burrenprogramme.com) including field trips to Burren farms and presentations from the scientists, authorities and NGOs involved. Delegates to the Winterage School will also be welcome to partake in a gathering organised by the local community, as well as the prestigious annual ‘Origin Green Farming for Conservation Awards 2017’ sponsored by Bord Bia.
The Burren Winterage School 2017 will begin on the evening of Thursday October 26th in the Community Hall of the picturesque village of Ballyvaughan on the northern edge of the Burren and conclude with site visits to Burren farms on Saturday October 28th. Friday 27th will be a day-long series of presentations and workshops in the village. Booking for the Burren Winterage School is essential and places are limited. A delegate fee of €75 will apply to cover costs for this non-profit event with a discounted rate of €45 for farmers, students and Burrenbeo Trust members.
To go directly to booking the event, please visit https://burrenwinterage.eventbrite.ie
For more information on the draft programme, speakers etc, please visit www.burrenwinterage.com
The Burren Winterage Festival is co-ordinated by the Burrenbeo Trust (www.burrenbeo.com) on behalf of the Burren community.