Fellow Since 2011
Burren Farming for Conservation
This profile was prepared when Brendan Dunford was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Brendan views farmers as not just producers of quality food but also as a key resource in sustaining the health of our countryside. But these farmers must be afforded the resources, the flexibility and the trust to deliver on this potential. With his Farming for Conservation Programme, farmers’ lead in the development and the delivery of key conservation actions on their farms and are rewarded for this. This approach has successfully blended the disparate and often contrarian fields of agriculture, conservation, heritage, and tourism to place farmers at the center of land stewardship and create financial incentives for environmentally-sound landscape management. Based on years of research and farmer input, Brendan and his team have designed a payment system to reward farmers for the delivery of public goods such as biodiversity and clean water, as well as co-funding necessary conservation infrastructure such as stone walls, water supplies, and access tracks.