At Middlethird, we are re-imagining life in rural Ireland. Our vision is to create a farm enterprise based on sound environmental, social and economic principles. To this end, we are focused on four principal areas of activity – plant-based food production, social farming, ecological building and green energy production. We believe these activities will support current and future development on our farm, in our community and inspire others across rural Galway.
Plant-Based Food Production
At Middlethird Farm, our focus is on growing vegetables, maintaining fruit and vegetable gardens and engaging in various activities that bring value to the produce, the farm and the community. The farm is chemical free and has been since 2010. Last year, we switched from a traditional dry stock farm to a plant-based and stock free farm with the exceptions of Dominic and Polo, our donkeys who were adopted from the Donkey Sanctuary in 2015. As we are currently participating in an EU environmental scheme (GLAS – Green Low carbon Agri-environmental Scheme), most of the farm is dedicated to low input pastures.
Middlethird Farm is particularly well suited to Social Farming activities. Social farming offers access to activities on the family farm as a form of social support. Our mission is to promote social farming as an alternative option to improve the quality of life for people who use health and social services through exposure to the everyday skills of farming in an environmentally conscious way and by offering opportunities for social inclusion through the farm and the local community. We also wish to highlight this activity as an alternative enterprise and possibility for other farmers in the Galway region and beyond. Social Farming is certainly not new and has been well established as a therapy and an enterprise across Europe. Middlethird Farm is currently working in cooperation with and under the guidance of SOFAB Leitrim and the (SWMDG) to pilot SF activities on the farm in summer 2017. The results will be used in a research study conducted by UCD. We ask that the Galway County Council support social farming in Galway and believe that in doing so, Galway can establish itself as one of the pioneers of this activity in Ireland.
The family home, a contemporary Irish farmhouse, inspired by architect Andrzej Wejchert, is south facing and takes advantage of spectacular views over Ardfry House and Penninsula, Galway City, the Inner Galway Bay and the mountains of the Burren and Black Head to the South. The aspect and extensive glass façade takes advantage of significant passive heating throughout the year. The house is light filled space set into the landscape to minimise its impact on the local environment. The farm comprises a kitchen garden, orchards, vegetable and herb gardens and traditionally restored farm buildings including a workshop, a glasshouse and animal enclosures.
The farm, located along the Wild Atlantic Way rises from the shoreline to 18m above sea level offering spectacular views over the bay. An 11KW wind turbine located on the site takes advantage of the wind and supplies electricity to the house and farm. Middlethird Farm produces about 5 times more energy than we use each year and is a net contributor of green energy to the Irish grid.