Environmental Policy Statement
Irish Herbal Roots is a business that works closely with the land and relies on a healthy natural environment in order to survive and thrive. Working with the Geopark principles below is how we monitor our contribution to the natural landscape that we live upon as well as to the local people, creatures and plant life who also inhabit this beautiful land.
Nothing excites me more these days than the experience of coming together with my family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to see how we can work together to create something amazing. Living in rural Ireland, i very much enjoy the sense of community that weaves its way in and out through my life. Swopping skills and abilities with my neighbours, planting flowers and herbs in the Community garden and working supportively with other local Herbalists are examples of how i work with the people around me. One of the prime motivators for me joining BEN is to become more familiar with the other local businesses in my area and to discover how we can compliment and support each other going forward. I am teaming up with Oonagh O Dwyer of Wild Kitchen this year to see how we can compliment each other and work together.
A cared-for landscape
A cared for landscape is a landscape that is respected in both thought and action. I put my respect into action by following some mindful foraging guidelines and adhering to the principles of ‘Leave no trace’ which promotes responsible outdoor recreation. For 2017, I plan to get involved in the ‘adopt a hedgerow’ initiative which is a scheme run by the Burren Eco Tourism Network and involves adopting a stretch of hedgerow and committing to keeping it free from rubbish as well as from invasive plant species.
It is the local wild herbs and flowers that fascinate me most as these are the plants that were harvested by the people of this land who came before me. I make it my business to retrieve what information i can about the history of Irish plant medicine and also the folklore which helps gain valuable insight into our national heritage and culture. I am at present deepening my knowledge of the rocky landscape of the Burren, the archaeological sites and the sacred sites so that i can further expand my knowledge and offer quality interpretation to those who attend my workshops and walks. It is my objective to attend all training offered by BEN in 2017 in relation to heritage education.
Mostly to date my work has been with local people who are living full time in Clare or who visit here regularly. It is my wish to also bring the knowledge of medicinal Irish herbs to guests who visit and are curious to find out more, so that they too can come and walk the magic lands, hear the stories and play with the flowers. The world is getting smaller and we are all just passing through. It is good to fully connect with each other, swop stories and share experiences. When guests come to visit west Clare, i consider them part of our community for the duration of their stay and it is my objective going forward to open the doors of my life and my work in a way that helps visitors feel that they are at home here. This means making my herbal workshops and walks more visible to guests as well as providing information and education about Irish heritage and culture and making available the more practical information of transport, accommodation and things to do within the locality.
I support local business as a first choice. For starters, it helps develop supportive bonds with the people around me. But that’s not the only reason. The produce that i buy locally is far superior in quality than anything else i find. Meeting a friendly face on a Friday morning when i get my weekly delivery of fresh organic vegetables from the community farm up the hill is priceless. Fresh isn’t ‘this week’s oranges from Spain’, it is this very mornings seasonal harvest pulled fresh from the earth complete with muck and the odd sleepy slug. In my medicine making process, i also include the best of local where possible. The Beeswax comes from local bee hives as does the honey. Apples, berries and many herbs are traded in kind with local dwellings and farms. I look forward to incorporating more goodies from the locals as i make new contacts in this coming year.
Sustainable tourism management
I work to an Environmental Action Plan, which includes targets for improvement that are reviewed annually. I have effective systems for monitoring and adequately managing my waste, water, wastewater and energy. I use glass bottles and jars for all my herbal products and i accept the empties back for recycling within my own business. This year I intend to focus on my packaging so that i can reduce plastic where possible and have it replaced with an environmentally friendly alternative.
The objective going forward for Irish Herbal Roots is to increase awareness of the affect we have on all life around us and to make positive changes so that we continue to move forward into a brighter, more sustainable future.