The conference was taken online this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings that many conferences and events have suffered from this year, but was well attended despite the change of circumstances. The conference is organised by Cré – the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland, in partnership with Compost Council of Canada.
Established in 2001, Cré (which is the Irish word for ‘soil’), is a non-profit association of public and private organisations, dedicated to growing the biological treatment sector. Cré supports the production of high quality outputs, assists the delivery of Government waste diversion and bioenergy targets, and promotes the creation of sustainable indigenous jobs.
Speakers included Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Communications, Climate and Environment; Dr. Artur Runge-Metzger, Director, Directorate-General for Climate Action, European Commission; and Dr. Rattan Lal, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Goodwill Ambassador, IICA Chair in Soil Science, Professor of Soil Sciences & Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University. Dr. Rattan Lal was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007, and winner of the World Food Prize 2020.
Growing the Organic Industry in Ireland was the subject of Dearbháil Ni Chualain’s talk in which she laid out Bord na Móna Herbs’ ambition in this respect. With 54,000 hectares of land in organic conversation, and 2,200 hectares already certified, Bord na Móna will be one of the largest organic landholders in Europe. The presentation detailed Bord na Móna’s transition to a more sustainable low-carbon business, and the processes, markets and customers associated with the medicinal herbs business.
The feedback on the presentation was very positive, and many applauded Bord na Móna on this move. There is a lot of national interest in this project, and Bord na Móna Herbs was congratulated on being forward-thinking in sustainability.