Minister Michael Creed T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today launched Ireland’s Social Farming Network project in Co Leitrim.
Speaking at Loch Aedín Social Farm, Co. Leitrim Minister Creed said: “The concept of social farming – giving people, who are availing of a range of health service supports, the opportunity to participate in farming or horticulture activities in their local area – fosters inclusion. It helps participants to build self-esteem, confidence and improve their health and well-being. For participating farm families and local communities, social farming has proved a very worthwhile and satisfying activity which contributes to community development. For these reasons, I want to ensure that this concept is developed and encouraged through the Social Farming Network.”
The Minister continued: “The ambition is to grow a network for social farming for Ireland, with its national support office based in Drumshanbo co-ordinating four regional hubs, which will assist with the promotion and delivery of social farming in Ireland in support of both participants and farmers.”
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provided initial funding of €400,000 last year for the establishment of the social farming network across Ireland and has recently extended the contract for a further 12-month period. Minister Creed said: “I am delighted to announce that support by my Department will continue for the Social Farming Network in 2017, with funding of €350,000 that will ensure progression for the project as it beds down and becomes self-sustaining.”
The Department will provide funding totalling €720,000 in 2017 for a range of social farming initiatives.
The Minister also announced funding of €130,000 under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund for pilot projects aimed at reducing food waste generated by food businesses in rural areas. Further details are available at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/agri-foodindustry/agri-foodandtheeconomy/cedraschemes/foodwastereduction/