Feeding Ourselves 2024 – Ireland

From March 21st – 24th 2024, Feeding Ourselves was an opportunity for people and organisations working to strengthen local food economies and build a movement for agroecology, food sovereignty and rural resilience to convene and collaborate.

At its core, the gathering aimed to help participants imagine and establish a future where farmers and landworkers earn a fair living, and everyone enjoys access to healthy, nutritious, and locally sourced food — a solidarity economy and food sovereignty vision to transform communities.

Our very own Maarten Klop joined Feeding Ourselves on behalf of Amped, EU4Advice and Grounded and he shares his experiences:

I have so many takeaways, but first and foremost, the Irish are kind, have great humor and manage to have great pride without ego.

Feeding Ourselves has shown me that Ireland’s food communities have very obvious parallels to what we witness in the Netherlands: the importance of building trusted networks, combining the resources to co-create towards a resilient region through strong and diverse local food systems. The communities participating in Feeding Ourselves consisted of farmers, environmentalists, experts, researchers, seed cultivators and many more. But what they all had in common is a DOING mindset and it felt unique to have these four days to share and learn. Rather than preaching to the choir, it felt like choir practice.

We were presented with very inspiring examples of that DOING, such as cooperatively owned green grocers, food processing facilities and long running community kitchens. My contributions to Feeding Ourselves: 

Cultivate brought together strong and thriving communities that very much operate as swarms. My contribution to Feeding Ourselves was about sharing Amped’s experience with regional co-creation in the Netherlands (as governance lead for EU4Advice) and community building with trusted bottom up networks. This particularly entailed showing the participants how our processes for these approaches are very similar to that of the Irish food communities, and could help move both forwards and enable co-creation between the Netherlands and Ireland.

Maarten Klop

Feeding Ourselves is led by Sustainable Ireland Cooperative (Cultivate) with support from Ireland’s Environmental Pillar. Cultivate is a not-for-profit workers’ cooperative, formed to promote sustainable development within Ireland, across all sectors. They also operate the Cultivate Centre for Sustainable Living, providing tools and information to help people move towards sustainability. Cultivate also works on permaculture, building and community resilience, design, fashion, and tourism.

Our friends from ARC2020 have written up three informative posts about Feeding Ourselves: ‘Sustainable Food Systems | Feeding Ourselves Across Europe‘, ‘Feeding Ourselves 2024 – Unlocking Local Food Economies‘ and ‘Seven things I learned at Feeding Ourselves 2024‘.

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