The NeighbourFood Podcast


A lesson in composting with Donal O'Leary, of Waste Down, the king of compost!

Today we are chatting to Donal O’ Leary, environmental consultant and composting king!. This is a super informative fun episode that smashes all myths and tricks about home composting! Donal is on a mission to get us all to composting, from complete beginners to people who need a bit of guidance on getting their composting formula right. Everyone can give it a go and it’s a great way to reduce our food waste and play a part in creating a healthier ecosystem! It’s a winner!!!

Donal runs an environmental and food waste consultancy called Waste Down. So in his day to day work, he spends lots of time with school groups, community groups and so on, but he also works commercially with companies who want to compost. He’s recently joined the team at CUSP; Cork Urban Soil Project,  so he will give us an update on that. For regular listeners of our podcast, you may remember the chat we had with Virginia O’Gara, who told us all about that particular project, and how food waste is not waste at all, but an asset! It’s a good listen.

But for the majority of today’s chat, Donal is going to give us the lowdown on how to get to grips with home composting. So think this podcast more as a workshop, because we are looking at how nature provides the blueprint for creating great compost; what are the reasons we should all be doing this in the first place; what are the mistakes that composting newbies make and how can we rectify them?; we look at a few different composting methods including traditional composting bins, wormeries and bokashi, great examples where these systems have been used and if composting became a more integrated part of all our lives, what would that mean for our future?

Here are some useful links and resources to help you on your composting journey.

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Busy with Bees, a chat with beekeeper Mark Riordan of

Honeybees are an integral part of our natural world. They pollinate the majority of our crops and trees, giving us the food we eat and the air we breathe. Not only important for our ecosystem, but also for our economy as bees and other pollinators are responsible for a third of our food and contribute billions to the global economy each year. It’s important we look after them, because without bees we are nothing and we are all aware of the decline and threats to bees these days from habitat loss, pesticides and climate change.And this week’s chat with beekepper Mark Riordan, founder of HiveMind.ieWhile Mark got into beekeeping about 10 years ago, in somewhat an accidental fashion, his work with bees has developed into a fascinating enterprise called HiveMind, allowing companies and individuals to sponsor a hive. We’ll hear more of this journey, as well as his honey experiments into beer, fermenting and sometimes accidental kinds of vinegar.We also learn about what you find in typical Irish honey from hawthorn to blackberries and more.Mark of course also tells us of the importance of bees to every single one of us, how they are all key to our existence and the impact and threat that our environmental footprint is having on the bee population today.We mentioned during the course of this podcast a live beehive sound recording which you can download hereCheck out the Irish Beekeepers Association on

Black Pudding, the story of Irish cuisine told through this ordinary and extraordinary food, with food writer Kate Ryan of

Black pudding, blood sausage, and for Irish and UK listeners this food will need no introduction. Loved on breakfast plates across the country, did you know that Black Pudding tells the story of modern Irish cuisine through its ingredients, history, recipe hand me downs and much more?We speak to food writer, Kate Ryan of who recently penned the article “The Aleph: The Story of Irish Food in One Pudding”. It is based on her studies in Irish Food Culture Post Graduate Course at University College Cork, where Kate did a research paper on the topic.We got stuck into the medieval process of making black pudding and how it’s done today. We learned about the exchange of recipes and meitheal of preparing food in the community. We talked about the history of this quintessentially Irish ingredient of fresh blood (now Protected Geographical Indication Recognised in parts of Ireland) and the ingenuity that is shown by butchers around the country in their preparation of pudding today. We then tested and compared three different black puddings, local to Kate’s hometown of Clonakilty. They were Rosscarberry Recipes, Clonakilty Black Pudding and Haulie O’Neil of MJ O Neils Artisan Butcher Shop in Clonakilty. She gave us some tips on to cook pudding at home and eat it at times, other than breakfast… who knew?!?!?Kate Ryan is a food writer and founder of dedicated to championing Irish Food through writing and food adventures. Follow her on instagram ( ) or facebook ( @flavourwestcork )