018: Fergal Smith/Becoming The Change
“People get freaked out by how much I want to do. But I’ve had this in my head for a long time”.
For episode 018 of the Looking Sideways Action Sports Podcast I headed to County Clare in Ireland to pay a visit to Irish surfer and farmer Fergal Smith.
Fergal is one of Ireland’s most respected big wave surfers and for a while lived a fairly conventional pro surfing life, traveling the world and surfing big waves.
Then, at the age of 24, he turned his back on it all and headed home to Lahinch in Ireland, where along with some friends he’s since dedicated himself to creating an organic community farm – as well as still charging Ireland’s array of big waves.
Today Moy Hill Farm feeds 50 local families, and Ferg and the boys have launched a Crowdfunder campaign through which they hope to move to an even bigger site and feed around 150 families.
In September 2017, I headed over to Lahinch to chat to Fergal about life on the farm.
Among the highlights:
- Fergal explaining why he turned his back on his pro surfing career
- What it means to be a leader
- How buying a pig led to a new commitment
- How Moy Hill CSA Farm works
This is an inspirational story about radical life choices and the power of being in service to something bigger than yourself. Thanks for talking me through it Ferg!
If you only have five minutes…
Listen to this section - Fergal on what motivated him to change his lifestyle to such a radical degree
- Moyhill CSA Farm.
- Walking around the farm.
- Ferg talks me through the crops.
- How the idea came when Ferg was surfing in Tahiti.
- ‘The dream has always been very clear all along’
- Starting with the Moy Hill Community Garden.
- Stepping up to the current 17 acre plot.
- How the land is divided.
- Life during the early days.
- How Community Supported Agriculture works
- The different community activities held on the farm
- The other CSA farms that have inspired Fergal
- The importance of food sovereignty
- Ferg’s belief that the model will spread.
- Striking the balance between making a living and spreading the word.
- Harvesting potatoes and sowing ‘good’ grass for the winter.
- 40 different crops – with six months of yield.
- Fergal’s family background – and how he got into surfing
- Leaving gardening behind to concentrate on surfing
- The view from the farm
- Striking the work/surf balance through the seasons
- Ferg’s time chasing the surf dream.
- Giving it up at the age of 24.
- How Ferg’s relationship with surfing has evolved since he’s changed his life.
- How buying a pig led to a new freedom
- ‘The right people turn up at the right time’
- The Crowdfunding campaign – and the plan behind it
- Ferg’s pitch – ‘we need to inspire and teach people’.
- Hometree – reintroducing native woodland to the environment.
- Regenerative agriculture
- The rewards from Moy Hill’s Crowdfunder campaign
- Interacting with the local community.
- The importance and satisfaction of working towards a higher purpose and something bigger than yourself.
- ‘Where is the line?’
- How ordinary people can make a change
- The experience of running for election for the Green Party
- The importance of positive action
- Fergal’s definition of leadership
- What do I get out of it? It’s for my family. They’re growing up in a place where there’s hope’
- The power of positivity
- Sally Smith
- Mitch Corbett
- Matt Smith
- Brian Cavanagh
- County Clare
- Achill Island
- County Mayo
- County Sligo
- Spring onions
- Brussel sprouts
- French beans
- Scott’s Pine