Words by Ben Mondy
Irish surfer Fergal Smith turned his back on jet set travel and the lucrative contracts of professional surfing to grow organic vegetables in his hometown of Lahinch. Mpora went to see him to find out why.
“We’re moving Holly,” Fergal says as he moves ancient papers, analogue cameras, agricultural tools and jam jars of seeds and nuts to clear a space for me in the passenger seat of his van. The old Ford Transit rumbles into gear, as does Ferg’s fast paced Irish lilt.
“The pig was a big, big thing for me,” he says. “The moment you have an animal you have a responsibility. I was like this the pig has made me go all in. There’s no turning back. It was a game changer.”
It transpires Holly is a pig, and she is in the trailer behind us being moved from the house Fergal shares with his partner Sally and daughter Sunshine to the yard of a local school principal. Holly will “turn” the yard, or eat all the brambles and weeds, turning a small tract of unusable land into a plot of soil that will be ready to grow food.