Dr Paula BramelChair of Irish Seed Savers Association
Dr Paula Bramel is an agricultural scientist with a PhD from Iowa State University in the USA and more than 30 years of experience as a teacher and a researcher. Paula’s background includes 11 years as a Professor of Agronomy at Kansas State University, as a sorghum breeder, plus 12 years of international research experience in plant breeding, seed systems, and biodiversity research at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Paula has also been involved in agricultural research and development with a focus on plant breeding, seed systems and biodiversity conservation.
She also has extensive experience in research management, including as the Deputy Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust where she continues to work with them as a consultant. As a consultant with the Crop Trust, Paula has led the development of global crop conservation strategies with global partners for coffee, tea, and apples. At the Crop Trust, she has been involved in the development and promotion of a global gene bank information system, Genesys (httpss://www.genesys-pgr.org/). In addition to currently serving on the ISSA Board, she was also member of the Expert Review Committee for the Global Access to Seed index ( httpss://www.accesstoseeds.org/about/ ) from 2015-2019.
Paula originally grew up on a farm in central Illinois in the US. She has been actively engaged in advocacy and research for organic agriculture since her early years. She continues to pursue an organic approach to food production in her own garden since she and her husband came to live in Schull in 2016.
Madeleine McKeeverFounder of Brown Envelope Seeds
Madeline McKeever is the founder of Brown Envelope Seeds in Cork. Madeline grew up on a farm in Co Meath. She studied botany in Trinity College Dublin completing a MSc in vegetation history in 1984. After some time travelling, including a year apprenticing on an organic farm in Maine, she began farming in West Cork in 1986.
The farm in Ardagh was managed as an organic dairy farm from 1987-1999, after which beef cattle and seeds became the main focus. In 2005 the business name Brown Envelope Seeds was registered, and half of the farm was planted in broad-leaved trees. Since then, seed production has been the main source of income on the farm.
Senator Pippa HackettIrish Minister of State for Agriculture
Senator Pippa Hackett is Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity. She was appointed to this role in June 2020, only the third senator in the history of the state to be elevated to Cabinet. Senator Hackett was elected to the Agricultural Panel of Seanad Éireann in a by-election on 1 November 2019 and was re-elected in 2020. She is also a former member of Offaly County Council. She holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Essex, a postgraduate diploma from University College Dublin, and a PhD from the University of Limerick. Minister Hackett has four children, and along with her husband Mark, she runs a farm (Moat House Farm) near Tullamore in Co Offaly. They produce organic beef and sheep, while they also have some bloodstock and forestry. Moat House Farm is situated on the site of a 12th-century Norman motte and bailey identified on the ordnance survey map as “The Moat of Down”, hence the business name.
Inauguration of the 12th Let’s Liberate Diversity Forum
Welcome Address by Irish Seed Savers Association and
Opening Address by Pippa Hackett TD, Ministry of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Plenary session ‘Seed and the Future of Food’
Keynote address given by Dr Paula Bramel (Chair of Irish Seed Savers Association, Conservation Consultant and formerly Deputy Director of Crop Trust) with Panellists Michael Miklis (Founding Member of Irish Seed Savers Association) and Madeleine McKeever (Founder, Brown Envelope Seeds).
Exhibition of local organic produce and tasting