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Future Proof Kilkenny

I don’t watch much television but was glued to the recent RTE production “Corrigan’s City Farm”. Quite simply it was amazing. In the space of a few months 2 brown field sites were transformed into productive, abundant and beautiful city farms. Not content with veg alone the volunteer growers raised chickens and pigs as well. By the end of the program these were slaughtered and cleaned out, ready for the bar-b-que – all this, live on RTE – astonishing.

Throughout the series Corrigan gently pushed the issues of factory farming, misleading Bord Bia packaging, supporting Irish food producers and GM. A dedicated website gives guidelines on how to set up and start allotments as well plenty of tips on how to grow your own and information on how to source and keep backyard animals.

What struck me most about the series, though, is that Corrigan is generating the kinds of responses that transition town groups hope to achieve but without bashing people over the head about issues. By engaging people in a very positive and practical way he is encouraging, whether he knows it or not, the type of urban food systems that we will need in a post-fossil fuel world. There is much that transition town groups can learn from this approach and it is a question that we continually come up against in future proof meetings. Should we keep raising awareness about peak oil and climate change or should we instead just focus on the solutions? Clearly there is a balance to be struck but the lesson from Corrigans program for me is that leaning very very heavily on the solution side of the equation works.

You can watch the last episode of the series here.

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