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  • Deep in Ireland’s rolling hills at the back of County Clare is a special place called The Burren. It is a national park with a mountainous limestone rock, tranquil grassy valleys, and gently meandering streams. In the shadow of The Burren is a little farm owned by John Howard. I traveled to meet him and understand more about organic cow farming. My guide and sponsor was Vincent Cleary, the manager of Glenisk, an organic dairy company in Ireland focused on bringing healthier products to the Irish.

    We drove down from Dublin and when we arrived I was car sick from the round-abouts and curvy roads – you cannot find a straight street in Ireland – and my strongest desire was for a cup of tea. So John, who had an Irish brogue thick enough I could barely agree we were both speaking English, invited me into his home to have a cuppa before our tour of his farm.

    John and his wife live in what I can best describe as a “Hobbit House”. Tiny and warm, the house was overflowing with flowers and lace at the windows. There are only a few small rooms with the kitchen being the central hub for the quaint little home. We sat down at a hand hewn table made of wood from his property. He served us a round of fresh baked Irish soda bread with butter and cheese he had made by hand.

    As we broke bread he insisted we try the honey which came from his bees on the property. John’s tea was strong and hearty and as I sat there with my new friends enjoying a bit of Irish heaven I felt as if we were transported to another time.

    John is an organic cow farmer because he wants to set an example, and John’s way of life is simple; he uses no chemicals on his farm, does not have the internet, and despises the city. Yet he has provided a healthy existence for his family, one that is more thoughtful.

    I learned something from John on this trip – that sometimes it is better to slow down and think more about life rather than spend our time rushing through it.

    (If you would like to see more about John Howard and his amazing farm, here is a link to a video I took of the experience - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9aHf1ZRQwo&feature=player_embedded)
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