There was quite a lead up to buying Brookfield Farm in 2010. I wanted to leave school early and work with animals, but luckily my parents persuaded me otherwise. I considered studying veterinary science but the entry requirements were eye-wateringly high, so I decided to do an Arts degree focusing on Philosophy and English Literature.
From there, I worked my way into construction project management, while working full time with architects and landscape architects. When I completed an MBA in project management for construction, I worked with GOAL as a reconstruction manager in Sri Lanka for six months. My project was to rebuild schools damaged in the 2004 tsunami, and it was a fascinating and tough time. For the next few years, I shifted between project management on large construction projects in Ireland and worked voluntarily in places like Pakistan.
Tell us about your journey from the construction industry to organic farming.
In 2007, I felt the construction boom was coming to an end and began looking for other opportunities. I decided to retrain in sustainable development and studied for a MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development at University College London. An integral part of the course was preparing for a 2-week study trip in Accra, Ghana, to work with urban farmers on how to improve their access to land, clean water, and markets. After this trip and subsequent research for my MSc thesis on different forms of urban agriculture, I realized I had a deep interest in food production, global equity, and sustainability. So, after finishing the thesis, I made a life-changing decision to move back to Ireland from London and buy a farm.