PUBLIC LECTURE: So Far, So Good? Social Farming and Wellbeing: insights from Ireland
|So Far, So Good? Social Farming and Wellbeing: insights from Ireland
A public lecture by Deirdre O’Connor, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin and UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.
Social Farming offers people who avail of a range of social/health services (including mental health, physical/intellectual disability, elder care, among others), or who experience social marginalisation, the opportunity to engage in the farming and related social activities of their communities.This opportunity is offered through the medium of ordinary farms and families acting in partnership with service providers and the people who avail of these supports. It provides such groups of people with an opportunity for inclusion, increased self-esteem and improved health and well-being. Social farming also creates an opportunity to further connect farmers with their local communities through opening up their farms as part of the social support system of their locality.
While the practice of using horticultural or agriculture-related therapies to support vulnerable people in Ireland has a long history, traditionally, these services were offered within an institutional setting. The idea of linking a family farm with social, health or care services, in order to provide service users with a social farming experience, is a relatively new concept in Ireland. At the same time, there is growing recognition of, and interest in, this family-farm based model in Ireland, informed and inspired by successful practices, policies and institutional supports which are emerging across Europe and further afield.
This lecture will explore recent developments in social farming in Ireland in a comparative context and consider how the lessons learned and insights gained might usefully transfer to other settings.
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