A prestigious ‘organic Oscar’ has been awarded to a man who has farmed near Cahir for three decades.
Josef Finke came to Ireland from German in the 1980s and set up his organic farm at Ballybrado. Now he has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the development of the organic sector in the country.
In 1983 Josef and his wife Marianne set up one of Ireland’s first organic farms and since have been instrumental in driving Ireland’s organic sector. For many years Ballybrado Farm was a centre point for the organic movement in Ireland, attracting visitors from home and abroad.
Josef was the first to export organic produce from Ireland, demonstrating to Irish farmers that consumers are actively interested in organic food from a clean environment.
In 1989 he founded Good Herdsmen, today the largest, dedicated organic meat processor in Ireland and the UK. he was chairman of the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association and later director of the Organic Trust. he worked on several government committees as the voice of the organic sector.
Accepting his award Josef said organic producers need encouragement and support and described a shopping trolley as a “most powerful tool for change.”
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Tom Hayes TD, says that farmers should consider organic farming.
Speaking at last week’s National Organic Awards he said: “There are too many landowners out there that are actually afraid of the organic sector. I want to publicly say that farmers should seriously look at the organic sector, which has huge potential. The grant aid is there and the opportunities are huge.”