The fifth SoEngage project meeting took place in Cookstown, hosted by Rural Support, who is responsible for the Social Farming Support Service for Northern Ireland. Rural Support promotes the practice of Social Farming and supports existing and new Social Farming initiatives regionally. The focus of the SFSS is on both the farmer who delivers the Social Farming service and the participant who benefits from meaningful activity in a farm environment.
The meeting was facilitated by Heather McLaughlin, Coordinator, The Rural Centre, N Ireland with partners from Germany, Ireland, Poland, Romania and UK.Social Farming Online Learning
The focus of this meeting was to review the beta version of the website for the online training materials.
The website hosts the 5 training modules and 25 case studies of social farms from each of the partner regions. The Case Studies included a range of social farms including family owned farms as well as farms owned by organisations and associations.
Each partner was responsible for producing a training module on a specific area.
1: Social Farming (UK)
Outlining what is Social Farming
2: The Social Farmer’s Skills (Spain & Romania)
The Social Farmer’s “Emotional Intelligence” and The Social Farmer’s “Soft Skills”
3: The Social Farm (Ireland)
Resources available on the farm and activities which can be carried out.
4: The Person on the Farm (Poland)
The types of participants on the farm, the user groups, safe guarding policies.
5: The Social Farm Business Plan (Germany)
Business Planning covering pricing, funding, SWOT, farm set up – sole trader
Visit to Butterlope Social Farm
The partners visited Butterlope Social farm on the second day. Annie Mullan and her husband manage the farm near Plumbridge, Co Tyrone.
Annie is and environmental educator with 20 years experience as an adult educator. Her husband, Vinnie has over 20 years experience farming as well as experience as a builder and mechanic.
Butterlope social Farm is located in the Glenelly Valley in the heart of the Sperrins. The farm is 180 acres of grassland and hill land with 350 sheep.
The farm has a kitchen garden, greenhouse and large poly tunnel which helps the farm to be more sustainable by growing their own fruit and vegetables. Schools and groups can visit the farm to learn about agriculture, natural heritage, landscape studies and history of the area.