SoEngage: Engaging farmers in social farming

is funded through Erasmus+  KA2 Strategic Partnership project in the field of
Vocational Education and Training for 2yrs
from 01-10-2018 to 30-09-2020.

Project Title: Engaging farmers in social farming (SoEngage)
Project Number: 2018-1-UK01-KA202-047975

The project partners are:

Germany: Hof und Leben GmbH providing consulting of family run enterprises in agriculture/ rural area. HuL is consulting food producers as well as energy-producers and is supporting innovative entrepreneurial concepts and startup of new businesses along added value chain as well as optimization of existing ways of business within agriculture and rural economy. HuL has ecperience in these fields, especially knowledge about reasons for success in family enterprises.

Ireland: Leitrim Integrated Development Company Limited Provide advice and guidance to farmers /farm families throughout Ireland who wish to establish social farming services, through information and training events; Assistance in the development of service users and their families’ understanding of the potential and delivery of social farming services; raise public awareness of social farming through public events, mainstream and social media, engage with and support new initiatives around Ireland which are progressing and developing social farming.

Poland: ARIDAssociation ARID is a private NGO, working in the vocational educational field. Associations main goal is to promote and enterprise through lifelong learning. ARID, through the team of experienced scientists and researchers provides a comprehensive package of services addressing the needs of modern Polish enterprises especially on matters like innovation and technology. 

Romania: CPIP an NGO that works in the area of lifelong learning since 2010 as a private institution, active in the educational and social fields which aims to promote the culture of lifelong learning through active involvement of all community members in developing a coherent strategy for implementing the concept and practice of “learning throughout life”. 

Spain: DEFOIN has extensive experience in the comprehensive management of training plans, as well as specific solutions tailored to the need of design, management and delivery of continuing and occupational training for businesses and employed and unemployed. Through its team of highly qualified professionals who analyze, design and develop each project with the best guarantees of success.

UK: The Rural Centre promotes peace building and respect for cultural diversity by connecting people to collaborate and build relationships cross community, cross border and between other regions of Europe through study visits, European projects and cultural awareness training.

UK: Rural Support is responsible for the Social Farming Support Service (SFSS) (NI), which aims to further develop the Social Farming network, promote best practices in the delivery of services, and continue cooperation with other Social Farming initiatives to raise awareness of the concept and its progression.

SoEngage will develop new technologies with easily accessible onlne and digital platforms to upskill farmers with relevant training to develop their competence to engage in social farming. This will benefit farmers through the entrepreneurial opportunity it provides them to provide a more professional service for economic benefit.

The overall objective is to support farmers to engage in Social Farming by developing their knowledge, skills and competences through training to consider, plan and deliver a professional Social Farm service for the economic benefit and sustainability of the farm and the rural community.

Family farms represent an important resource to maintain and improve the social, economic and cultural sustainability of rural areas.

Social Farming, also known as Care Farming or Farming for Health is an innovative multifunctional activity which offers farmers the opportunity to use their agricultural expertise and resources to promote therapy, rehabilitation, social inclusion, education and social services for entrepreneurial and economic benefit. The farm remains a working farm where people who need care support can benefit from participation in farm activities in a non-clinical environment.

The quality of a Social Farming service depends on the expertise and training of the farmers engaged in its delivery. The partners of the SoEngage project represent 6 regions (UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Romania, Spain) and provide a range of training and support for farmers and have identified the gap in information and training on social farming which enables farmers to make informed decisions on whether or not this innovative entrepreneurial activity is suitable for them and the farm family.

This gap can be addressed by collaborating to harness the competent mix of expertise and materials that exist between the partners to produce training that brings resources together to create a comprehensive set of digital and online resources. The innovative approach is that unlike existing training, which is delivered on-site and restricted by availability of trainers and financial resources.

SoEngage will make training convenient for farmers to complete by using digital and online platforms for accessible self-learning. Such online learning is not currently available in the partner countries. The partners will share each of their expertise on design and implementation of social farm training; identify and use real life best practice case studies of social farms across the partnership to encompass the different methods, practices, procedures and structures to develop the training and professionalism of farmers delivering social farm services.

The training will be delivered to over 300 trainees who will be involved in the testing of the training materials from the beginning. The SoEngage training will be available in the 5 languages of the partners (English, German, Polish, Spanish and Romanian) and available as an OER which can be shared across the EU where Social Farming is less developed.

As a result of the development of these new technologies with easily accessible onlne and digital platforms the training can be easily shared across Europe to engage and upskill farmers in social farming. This will benefit farmers through the entrepreneurial opportunity it provides them, the people who avail of social farm services by providing more professional services and the wider rural community through the social, economic and cultural sustainability.