Each month we will be highlighting a Positive Vibe Warrior, whose strong spirit, or valuable actions in their community have inspired others to overcome adversity in their own unique way. This month we are taking a look at Ireland's Fergal Smith, whose mission to create a community garden and inspire friends and family about the benefits of camaraderie and local farming are inspiring. Positive energy is like the seeds we plant, when cultivated with love from the community, it has a resonating effect. We hope you enjoy his insights into his amazing passion for providing a healthy option for the future and bringing people together in a very organic way...
"I grew up on a little one acre organic farm four miles from a town called Westport in co Mayo, Ireland. My Mum is originally from Belfast and my dad from near London, but after their honey moon around Westport they knew that this was where they wanted to live and raise their family. They had never been growers before and my dad was an engineer at the time, but there was no work for him in the west of Ireland so they started planting seeds. Looking back I am so happy and lucky to have grown up where we did. It is very rural Ireland where everyone knows there neighbours and we all help each other. I always have loved the farming life ever since I was a kid, I never liked going to town and didn't want to go to school even when I was four I new that! I just wanted to be out in fields. Looking back, the environment I grew up in has shaped me in every way. I just love being outside. When we started surfing that was just another way to be in nature. I am so grateful to my parents for showing the simple things that matter because it has always kept me on the right track. Thanks mum and dad!
I decided a few year back that I needed to get back to growing food, but I also wanted to show my friends how to do it. So many people love the idea of gardening but don't know where to start or they may not have the time, so I thought I will start a community garden and anyone can come and help out and learn if they want. It's amazing because one of the most simple things in the world, planting a seed, has become foreign to lot of people now. But we have so many families using the garden now, my age group coming to learn and get there hands dirty and also the older generation who have a great respect and love for gardening. All these age groups enjoying a healthy space, passing on information and just getting to know each other. I have noticed that we need more healthy social spaces and I think a garden is a great space for all. I would highly recommend getting involved in a community garden and if there is none near you start one! Its that simple and the ripple effect of what it creates within the community is what makes it so special.
There is a UK Land Workers Alliance (check it out) and we now are going about setting up an Irish branch. It's all about supporting the small farmer rather than trying to encourage bigger is better. I won't go too into it cause its a big topic but please check it out and help promote the kind of farming we would like to see in the future. This is what my dream is for creating a happy healthy environmentally friendly viable small farm. I feel like farming is the healthiest, most fun job you can do, but it does not get rewarded for its importance. We need heathy farms, thats how we stay alive through people creating nourishing food to share with others. We need to start valuing food properly and on a scale of whats local and grown naturally. When we start to value those principles the food industry will have to quickly change. I really believe surfers have a big role to play in all of this, as we are a healthy open minded group in society and it only takes 11 percent of the (passionate) population to create a movement. So get out there guys and support your local farms, and if there is none around, I'd encourage you to start your own community garden and enjoy all the amazing benefits!"
To keep up on Fergal's journey, follow his blog here at fergalsmith.com/blog and watch episodes of his web series titled GROWING!
Watch episode 13 here
and episode 14 here