Local Food and Health – one of the small changes any person can make to better themselves

World Mental Health Day and Do It Yourself Farmer!

Like other parts of the world, World Mental Health Day will be remembered today (Thursday) with the aim to raise public awareness about psychological problems and diseases. Public sectors and healthcare institutions here in Ireland, our youth population in Donegal (@createsparks) and our social nd community organisations will have arranged seminars, workshops and walks to mark this event . . .  

Blissberry Social Farm would like to contribute its little part today too.

I would like to comment about local food and health and the future possibilities of Blissberry Social Farm and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) Initiatives, as  I believe CSA’s farms could and can have a great health benefit  –  both to the individual, as well as to the general health of our communities.

There are many different ways that a community can go about CSA and there is no wrong or right way to go about it. Effectively it is all about what suits the community and the farmer. Within CSA methods of local seasonal food production can be; consumer/producer driven, can grow; seasonal vegetables/full diet/ single staple crop/single luxury crop.

The length of the agreement (between the farmer and the community) can be for one season/a full year/ one harvest/ monthly/ multi annual.

Payment can be in the form of; a full payment at the beginning of the season (better for the farmer as most of the cost is at the beginning of the season), a monthly payment, capital investment or contribution of labour.

Promoting mental health as an essential aspect of health promotion at Blissberry Social Farm. How – local food as the most obvious way – by joining a farm and picking up your weekly harvest, you eat healthy, locally grown, seasonal food. Healthy eating happens if you live local, eat local and support local through CSA – when you buy or make a contribution of labour towards your food.  If you receive healthy food, from your farm, you’ll automatically eat healthy. Our environments our local farms help maintain a healthy environment. Nature and outdoors in all seasons!

Social / Community a farm without walls:  Social farms (@lairdhse06) and CSA farms bring people together.  Not just like-minded people – actually, CSA communities bring together people from a wide variety of backgrounds: large families and small, wealthy and poor, conservative and liberal – with one thing in common: a desire and commitment to eat locally and healthy.  You will have great conversations when you’re picking up your weekly share or harvesting as we experienced this summer through HSE Healthy Gardening Programme, or in the row of spuds or carrots when you call down to Blissberry Social Farm – I recall this summer the casual fun conversation (how do you cook these things? courgettes) and meaningful conversations (what do your family think of this farm?). Great times had by all.

Support your local social farm and farmers: Social farming and farming has attracted a large number of hard-working, idealistic but at the same time realistic people, who farm in a new way!  Small scale, with a direct-to-the-customer approach.  They grow for you.  And whether you pick up your food at the farm, or at the country market, you’ll know who they are.  Getting to know your farmer changes your attitude to your food – believe me, it will. All of our participants from the HSE Healthy Gardening Programme told us so this summer!  It also creates an opportunity in your community for several farmers to make a decent living.  They feed you, you feed them – it’s a good deal.

Now for the day that is in it – our Mental Health! This aspect is probably the least measureable, but it exists.  A social participant the other day said “every Tuesday I’m usually  in a hurry and as soon as I’m there, my hurry goes away”.  Another said  ” I go home with a nice tiredness” “I feel I’ve worked and want to do more”.

Funny how that works, but it does, and it’s a good way to keep perspective on what matters, and what else is going on besides your job or seating at home “watching the four walls coming in on top of you”.

Mind full or mindful … “didn’t see the butterfly before on the walk”

Can you help others become a DIY farmer and before they know it – they’ll be a farmer and/or a producer, eating healthy, feeling healthy and helping others in our communities to improve their health!

Have a good day.

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