About Clondarrig

Clondarrig Farm is a regenerative and restorative farm in the parish of Ballyfin just outside Portlaoise Co. Laois and under the guardianship of John McHugh.

John is a fifth generation farmer of this land who has spent a number of years studying regenerative and restorative farming practices and implementing these practices at Clondarrig.

(For more on John’s journey so far see https://clondarrig.com/2019/02/10/roadtoclondarrig/ )

In 2018 John opened his farm up to a group of like-minded environmentally and socially conscious people like himself and invited us to help him create a space that would become; a local provider of healthy, nutritious organic food, a haven for wildlife and nature to flourish and a hub of local community education, connection and resilience.

Thus, the Clondarrig Farm Project was born.

Our mission is;

To create a resilient and regenerative farm that sustainably and holistically nurtures our community while simultaneously creating a resilient and regenerative community that sustainably and holistically nurtures our farm (land/soil/water/environment).

We aim to;

  1. Develop a rich and vibrant local “community garden” where hands on participation and education in permaculture design, organic food production and regenerative practice are readily accessible to the local community.
  2. Develop and support education programs aligned to our purpose which will include; the protection and restoration of ecosystems, regenerative food production, natural building, resource and waste management, the revivial of traditional sustainable skills and social ecology.
  3. Create a strong and resilient farming community based on the principles of whole systems, permaculture design, bio-dynamic and organic management and regenerative agriculture.
  4. Develop a “circular economy” model dedicated to local community engagement and benefit.
  5. Host and partner with other local enterprises aligned to our mission thus creating a web of strength and support built around common purpose.
  6. Invite local support, co-operation and partnership in the development of Clondarrig Community Farm and its various strands.


For more information on developments at Clondarrig please contact John McHugh at JohnMcHugh80@hotmail.com

What is “Permaculture”?

“Permaculture is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food energy shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way”

“The philosophy of permaculture is one of working with rather than against nature, of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them, and of allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions”

“The prime directive of permaculture is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children”

(Bill Mollison, co-founder of Permaculture design systems)

Permaculture is design for sustainable living and land use. From its origins in the 1970’s permaculture has spread around the world creating positive and future-proof environmental solutions. Over more than three decades permaculture designers have pioneered many of today’s mainstream environmental solutions from land care to school gardens, from passive solar design to compost toilets, from ethical investment to farmers markets. But the autonomous, diffuse and decentralized nature of permaculture has tended to hide its great contribution to improving communities across the world. We continue to support permaculture projects and people that are building our sustainable future now.” (David Holmgen, co-founder of Permaculture design systems )

Permaculture Princip[es (summary)

  1. Observe and interact
  2. Catch and store energy.
  3. Obtain a yield
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback.
  5. Use and value renewable resources
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

What is “Biodynamics”?

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition.

Biodynamics is rooted in the work of philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner. The philosophy in relation to farming practice opened a new way to integrate scientific understanding with a recognition of the “spirit” in nature e.g. the inherent intelligence of the individual and unique eco-system (the farm) and that of all its inter-related parts.

What is “Whole Systems Thinking”?

Whole Systems Thinking is a method of understanding how things (elements and systems) are related, and how they influence one another within a whole. An example of systems thinking is how elements like water, sun, soil, air, plants, animals and human beings interact and support one another as a system.

What is “Regenerative Agriculture?”

Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.

Regenerative Agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and above-ground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation.

At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and local communities.    

The system draws from decades of scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, holistic management, and agroforestry.

Recent Posts

From little seeds…..

A selection of some of the Einkorn, wheat, barley, oats and rye planted at Clondarrig recently. The varieties include both hulled and naked (no hulls) types.Thank you to Kilkenny farmer Michael Mikilis for his advice and expertise and many years devoted to preserving heirloom varieties and sustainable agriculture. We are looking forward to Michael joining … Continue reading From little seeds…..

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