Social farming in family farms here in Ireland combines care and meaningful work in a supportive natural environment of working farms and woodlands for some of society’s most vulnerable people.
Social farming this year through the SoFAB Project based @lairdhse06 (www.socialfarmingacrossborders.org) provided a healthy daily structure for 60 participants one day a week at 20 pilot farms across the Border Region of which Blissberry Social Farm here in Mountcharles was one, all working towards building confidence and supporting people to develop their social and practical skills.
Today strong interest is building in #socialfarming in Ireland from a wide and growing range of people including the 20 pilot farmers who just completed the SoFAB programme. Also from individual people (including our SoFAB participants) and families who benefit, our health and social care professionals in the community who have discovered ways that people and families can improve their lives.
In order to progress this programme we now need Government departments to change policies – so that we can provide complementary services in order to support these ‘open community centres without walls’ – and meet their budgets.
Win Win #socialfarming on working farm families through new innovation and sustainable programmes – better health for all.
According to research individuals who attend social farms often report significant improvements to their health and well being. For many, social farming provides the central structure to support their recovery. Social farms achieve this by offering opportunities to connect with meaningful activities, training, caring people and the supportive natural environment. The practical nature of farm work improves physical fitness and encourages healthy sleeping patterns.
Few environments provide the breadth of new opportunities that a family farm can. For example, individuals and families may get involved as part of small team looking after horses, donkeys, pigs or chickens, planting and tending crops, helping on the farm feeding, mucking out and caring for animals. Or working in the woodland.
#Socialfarming provides an innovative pathway that allows people and families the chance to better mental and physical health and to grow from the foundations of confidence building and daily structure through skills development and where possible, into voluntary work and paid employment.
The pace of progress is different for different people, but all in all a win win situation for everyone.
Larry Masterson Blissberry Social Farm Mountcharles Co. Donegal, IRELAND
Tel. 00 353 87 7642917