The Inishbofin Earth Centre

Since purchasing Lacey’s Farm in 2011 husband and wife team, Anthony Harris and Julia Rowan, have been building a market gardening enterprise, creating attractive visitor gardens and developing a range of artisan food products from the garden’s harvest. But their plans do not stop there.

They have secured planning permission to convert the traditional sheds on Lacey’s Farm to an artisan food shop where they aim to sell their own and others’ craft food products. Pending the shop’s completion before Summer 2020, they have opened “Ireland’s Smallest Shop” in the cottage porch to sell their organically grown vegetables and their well-regarded range of downstream craft food products.

Separately, they have been granted permission for a much larger project, namely the construction of the Inishbofin Earth Centre.

The centre’s development will involve the construction of two new timber framed and clad passive buildings to create an attractive cluster of structures around a courtyard behind the old farmhouse. These will incorporate solar collectors for electricity and water heating, a ground source heat pump for space heating, rain and grey water harvesting and a completely natural waste water treatment system. The larger building – to the west of the farmhouse – will accommodate the meeting/event space, a commercial kitchen, toilets, a plant room and a manager’s apartment. A smaller unit to be located behind the old cottage will, together with the preserved but retrofitted farm cottage itself, provide accommodation for training course participants. An Béal Locha, the old wooden fishing boat already on the land awaits its reimagining as one of a small number of glamping pods for which permission has yet to be sought.

The focus of the Inishbofin Earth Centre will be on promoting sustainable living, renewable technologies, local and seasonal food production and cultural exchange. It is conceived as an educational resource, a purveyor of environmental awareness, a node in an international network of similar establishments and a member of the Slow Food movement.

Read about us in the current issue of Permaculture International Magazine