Environmental policy – Burren Free Range Pork January 2017
The ethos of Burren Free Range Pork farm is to produce healthy food -in a healthy environment- in a sustainable way. We believe a successful sustainable business can operate in a way that there are limited negative impacts on the local environment. We are very conscious we are living in the Burren which is a unique and fragile environment. Burren Free Rang Pork farm is committed to reducing its environmental impact and to monitoring and measuring its impacts with a view to continual improvement and to raising awareness about sustainability issues.
Water is life, and it is not an unlimited resource. It is necessary to monitor our consumption and to reduce it where possible. We continuously monitor our treated water use and harvest rain water for the gardens. Our waste water is treated in a reed bed which is both a natural and efficient treatment system.
In 2014 we were awarded a Waste Management Award by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark for our waste management system. We think we have brought our general waste to an absolute minimum. However we will continue to maintain high standards and keep looking for ways of reducing, recycling and up-cycling.
Our house which is well-insulated, is heated by a geothermal heating system. We are striving to increase our energy efficiency by adding even more insulation and finding other sources of sustainable energy for water heating. We have a dual tariff for our electricity. This means less expensive heating and less strain on the grid by using most of our electricity off peak. We keep the lights on to a minimum and switch off unnecessary lights. We are in the process of changing all the bulbs to energy saving ones.
As well as being a local food producer (pork, eggs and vegetables) we also like to support local producers by purchasing dairy, meat and fish products.
We are active members of the Burren Food Trail. We offer visitors a taste of our produce and in depth information about farming in the locality.
The second half of 2015 we introduced an opportunity for visitors to get first-hand experience of short term living on a small sustainable holding. We have converted a vintage horse truck by up-cycling and reusing materials into an accommodation unit (Glamping). It offers accommodation for a family of six.
To reduce our carbon footprint and that of our customers’ we have started to sell our produce from the farm, trying to keep food mileage to a minimum. We are encouraging our customers to use sustainable transport. In our everyday lives we car pool and avoid unnecessary trips trying to keep our CO2 emissions low. We have bicycles that can be used when weather permits.
Contribution to conservation
We are actively taking part in conservation and advocacy projects undertaken by the Burren Ecotourism Network. We are volunteers of a local community development group, Kilfenora Timeline, which is committed to enhancing the quality of life of the community.
As partners of Leave No Trace, we encourage our visitors to respect and only take photographs of our unique landscape here in the Burren. We provide full information about sustainable travel and Leave No Trace on our website www.burrenfreerangpork.com
We support The Irish Seedsavers by donating a monthly financial contribution. They have an important role in trying to save many native, endangered species. We have also been active in the local GYI (Grow it yourself) group and organised a ‘how to rear pigs’ demonstration on our farm.
The well-being of our animals is our first port of call. As regards our free range rare breed pigs, our ethos is to keep everything as natural as possible: no chemical fertilisers, pesticides, no tail docking, no teeth filing or crates for sows and most importantly no addition of medication to the feed.
In producing our free range pork produce, we are mindful of not having a negative impact on the water quality, soil fertility and biodiversity.
We planted over 400 trees a few years ago which has both a positive impact on the air quality and reducing CO2. We continue to plant more trees each year.
There is 2 acres of bog on the farm, but we choose to preserve the bog by not harvesting the turf since 2008.