Putting social farming at the heart of rural matters 

Social farming offers farming to people who avail of a range of therapeutic day support services.
Putting social farming at the heart of rural matters 

Social farming is the practice of offering activity on family farms as a form of social care support. Pic: Social Farming Ireland. 

South Kerry Development Partnership’s ‘Kerry Social Farming Project’ is set to continue its offering to people with disabilities in an effort to help them engage with farm families and the community in meeting their personal development goals - thanks to the Rural Innovation and Development Fund (RIDF) and an allocation of €360,000.

The move comes as the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announces “continued support” for Social Farming under the RIDF this year.

The Department has indicated that the chosen projects around the country will receive support “to promote and develop social farming projects in rural areas”.

Meanwhile, Down Syndrome Ireland, Cork Branch, has also secured funding of €360,000:for its ‘Fields of Dreams’ project - a horticulture centre for adults with Down Syndrome that enables them to participate in meaningful training and provides hands-on horticulture work opportunities in a secure, caring and inspirational environment.

And, Leitrim Integrated Development Company CLG received €400,000 under the scheme to develop the national Social Farming Network known as ‘Social Farming Ireland’.

In addition to the Social Farming Network, contracts have been extended for a period of one year along with associated funding of almost €360,000 to Leitrim Development Company for development of a ‘Social Farming Best Practice Model’ that will focus on the delivery of evidence-based learning, best practice and policy recommendations and contribute to the overall promotion and development of social farming in Ireland.

Social farming is the practice of offering, on a voluntary basis, farming and horticultural participation in a farming environment as a choice to people who avail of a range of therapeutic day support services.

The farm is not a specialised treatment farm; it remains a typical working farm where people in need of support can build relationships and take part in day-to-day farm activities in a non-clinical environment that also serves as a form of social support.

These operations are run in a number of settings ranging from working family farms and local community initiatives to institutional frameworks.

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