As we begin planting our first Irish Heritage Trees, learn more about the Tipperary farmer behind our first forest.
John Purcell, an organic beef farmer from County Tipperary, has contributed scenic sections of his 500-acre farm to the Irish Heritage Tree program - a program that allows the Irish Diaspora to plant a tree in Ireland and reconnect and forever be connected with their Irish roots.
Located in the Golden Vale of Ireland in Tipperary, the farm is steeped in natural beauty and Irish folklore, with several ancient ringforts still visible on the farm. The farm also has ties to St. Patrick, who allegedly lost his tooth in the Fadaghta River that runs through the site.
IrishCentral will be planting 12,000 trees at the farm between 2021 and 2022, offering the perfect chance for ex-pats to become a part of this mythical hotspot.
Purcell said he was delighted that his farm would be the site of the first Irish Heritage Tree forest, pointing to the significant environmental impact that it will bring to the farm.
Purcell's farm went organic in 1998 and he said that he's been looking for ways to improve the farm's carbon footprint ever since.
He installed a wetlands system on his farm to filter nutrients like phosphate and nitrogen out of rainwater run-off before it reached the river, while he also installed more than 6,000 native trees on the banks of the river to help reduce carbon in the area.
"We're dealing with customers from all over the world and they all want a good background story to your business so they can sell it to their consumers," Purcell told IrishCentral. "We felt we could do a lot more for our water quality, our biodiversity, and other things."
Purcell said that he plans to make his farm carbon-neutral by 2025 and that he was delighted when IrishCentral and the Tree Council of Ireland approached him about using his farm to plant Irish Heritage Trees.
He said that the trees can also provide shelterbelts for his cattle, which can improve animal welfare on the farm.
"The animal welfare on the farm is key. It's paramount for us. We raise our cattle in low-stress environments, which is good for them but also good for the quality of the meat," he said.
Purcell's farm processes about 7,000 organic cattle every year and he said that the Irish Heritage Trees could help improve their quality of life.
* Originally published on Jan 31, 2021.