WITH funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in partnership with the Carbery Group, ‘Sustainability Stories West Cork’ has been launched by Macroom E as part of a Cork County Council-funded initiative, in anticipation of increased agricultural production in Ireland to 2020.
Launched this week, the project is the first of its kind nationally and encourages farmers to share stories and information aimed at improving practices throughout the region and nationwide.
‘It is often easier to engage with information told as a story rather than with statistics and scientific data. We are hoping that the stories, told by real farmers and made by the farmers themselves, will engage others to become involved and to promote the message of sustainability,’ said Maeve Bowen, general manager at Macroom E.
The digital storytelling project will initially involve members of an environmental project called Carbery Greener Dairy Farm and will allow the farmers to record their environmental sustainability experiences, in their own words through digital media using video.
Established by the Carbery Group four years ago with the technical expertise and assistance of Teagasc, Carbery Greener Dairy Farms has already produced excellent results and hopes to engage with a wider group of farmers during 2016 to increase participation in the programme.
Among the farmers involved is Aidan McCarthy of Airhill, Schull, who was the inaugural winner of the ‘Young Farmer of the Year’ award last October at the West Cork Farming Awards, run by The Southern Star and Celtic Ross Hotel.
A workshop will be held in West Cork in April to assist the farmers in creating the stories, with professional advice from Professor Libby Tisdell, an expert in the field of adult development and learning from Penn State University.
Macroom E believes that digital storytelling has a range of applications for projects focused on changing behaviours – environmental projects, health projects, working with young and old people, etc – and is looking to hear from interested parties. Contact Eimear Cusack, project co-ordinator, on 026-20520 or email [email protected]