By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Coveney and Phelan Launch Social Farming Handbook

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD and the Minister of State for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan, TD today launched the Social Farming Handbook.

Social farming is a novel social support service to improve health and support farm diversification.  It is aimed at developing linkages between the agriculture and health care sectors and promotes the idea of using farming and horticulture to involve health service users in a family farm environment.

Speaking at the launch Minister Coveney welcomed representatives of Irish agri-food business and stated  “I wholeheartedly support this initiative which resonates so well with the rural community. I would urge all Irish agri-food business, from our world leaders in the food business to smaller local operators, to get involved in this very worthwhile initiative. I believe that such inclusiveness in our businesses and community can benefit everyone, and that all involved can learn from each other.  I also believe that this could contribute towards businesses corporate social sustainability obligations under Origin Green”

Minster Phelan referred to her role of implementing the CEDRA report and that social farming would be a joint Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine - CEDRA initiative.  She also stated that Social farming is the type of cross government integrated thinking which is recommended by the CEDRA report.

“Myself, Minister Coveney and Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch have been working with the Social Farming across Borders (SoFAB) project to publicise these initiatives which provide opportunities for inclusion and reconnection between farmers, their community and disadvantaged groups, increase self-esteem and improve health and wellbeing.”

The Social Farming Handbook is a product of the SoFAB Project and it aims to assist providers and users of social farming services to understand what is involved in establishing, managing and using social farming services and shares lessons gained through the experience of a pilot social farming scheme on 20 farms over a fifteen month period.

Minister Coveney concluded that I believe that we can learn from the experiences of the SoFAB pilot scheme to ensure social farming can be common practice throughout Ireland” while Minister Phelan stated that “I will continue to work closely with key players in this area as social farming does not only have direct benefits for participants and farmers but is also extremely beneficial to the wider community.”

View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 178/2014 (pdf 489Kb) 

Date Released: 26 November 2014