Will cows be replaced by soil-replenishing cover crops? Join the conversation and explore the complexities of what, why and how we use our land and designate it to specific farming activities.

According to reports on climate change agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) is responsible for 24% of all greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 14% from fuel burned for transportation. Unsustainable use of land can affect our health, decrease biodiversity, and impact water, air and soil quality.

A panel of experts from a broad range of disciplines, including chef and restaurant owner Denis Cotter, sustainable farming expert Oliver Moore, and Agriculture Inspector from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, John Muldowney and ecologist Yvonne Buckley will try to predict what Ireland will look like in 2040. Each speaker will discuss food production and farming practices that are popular today and try to predict what proportion of land will be designated to activities such as grassland, crop agriculture, and forestry in 2040. We will delve into this complex and controversial topic to create new and interesting perspectives on whether the future is a sustainable one.

Have your say and make your own predictions about what the future of farming will look like.

Image taken from www.gigabytesol.com

Denis Cotter is chef and owner of Cafe Paradiso.  His frustration with the limitations of the vegetarian industry in Ireland sparked the opening of the restaurant in 1993, to create an environment where he could evolve a personal style of cooking focused on the pleasure of food rather than the perceived negativity of vegetarianism.  Among the many awards bestowed on Cafe Paradiso, Denis Cotter was voted ‘Chef of the Year ’ by Food & Wine (Ireland) magazine in 2005.  Denis Cotter is also the author of four books winning numerous awards between them.  Café Paradiso has built up a close working relationship with Gortnanain Farm, owned and operated by Ultan Walsh and Lucy Stewart.   For a restaurant where the dishes are based on fresh vegetables, the ingredients grown on this farm are the main reason that Café Paradiso has been able to develop its focus on local produce.

John Muldowney MAgrSc, is an Agricultural Inspector with the Climate Change and Bio-Energy Policy Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).  A graduate of the Faculty of Agricultural of UCD, he has been working on a range of agri-environmental issues since 2001.  Since 2012, he has been involved in Climate Change and Bio-energy division contributing to the development of sustainable agricultural policy, strategies and programmes at national, EU and international level by providing specialist analysis, advice and information on issues related to climate change and transboundary gases.  At EU level he participates in expert groups related to agricultural sustainability and climate change, and he also actively represents DAFM at international meetings and conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

Dr. Oliver Moore has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, specialising in organics, direct selling and consumer-producer relations. He is published in consumer studies, agri-food and more general sociological journals and books, while he has presented his research at conferences all over Europe. Presently, he lectures with the Centre for Cooperative Studies in UCC, part of the Department of Food Business and Development. He is a contributor to the Irish Examiner where he writes a weekly column on organic food and farming. A member of the Irish Food Writers Guild, Oliver has done radio and TV work in his speciality areas. He’s a board member and active organiser for Cloughjordan Community Farm and Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Oliver has embarked on study trips to solidarity economy locations around Europe, and also with Trocaire and Fair Trade, to El Salvador, Kenya and India. In 2015 he participated in the La Via Campesina Forum for Agroecology in Nyéléni Mali. He is Communications Manager with ARC2020, an EU agri-food and rural NGO based in Paris.

Yvonne Buckley is the Chair of Zoology in TCD, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland. She gained her PhD from Imperial College London and previously held an Associate Professor position at the University of Queensland. Her research seeks to understand the fundamental drivers of animal and plant population processes in a rapidly changing world, and how this information can be used to support effective environmental decision making.  Her primary expertise is in comparative plant population dynamics, invasive plant management and predicting responses of populations to global change.

Image: Created from NASA derivative work by Materialscientist, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Where: Paccar Theatre
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