Transcript of Expert Podcast
In our podcast we hear from the National Coordinator of the Social Farming Ireland Programme Helen Doherty and the Policy and Research Officer Dr Aisling Moroney, who are both based in Leitrim Development Company.
We hear the background of the development towards what is now the main national programme for Social Farming in Ireland. Social Farming Ireland is the national office which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). Social Farming Ireland is based in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim and is led by Leitrim Development Company. It supports the development of a national Social Farming network in collaboration with other Local Development Companies, namely West Limerick Resources, Waterford Leader Partnership and South West Mayo Development Company where regional Social Farming Development Officers are based.
Social Farming offers people who are socially, physically, mentally, or intellectually disadvantaged the opportunity to spend time on a family farm in a healthy, supportive, and inclusive environment. A person may choose to spend a fixed amount of time on the farm participating in activities they may be interested in such as gardening, animal care or indoor activities such as baking bread or jam making. Social Farming activity takes place in a safe and supportive environment taking into account an individual’s abilities, desires, and interests. Focus remains on encouraging participants to socialise, gain confidence, and build relationships. The farm is not a specialised treatment farm; rather it remains a typical working farm where people in need of support can benefit from relationship building through farm activities in a nonclinical environment.
While those participating in Social Farming activities may derive therapeutic benefit from it, this is not the main purpose or aim and the farmers are not playing the role of therapists. Social Farming supports people in living ordinary lives, interacting with their community and environment, developing their potential.
As well as chatting about their work supporting the farm network and research and policy, Helen and Aisling discuss the benefits of Social Farming for both participants and farmers. If you would like to hear more about Social Farming Ireland our website is socialfarmingireland.ie and our contact number is 0719641772, and we look forward to hearing from you