The recent launch of Social Farming Ireland’s Report on Social Farming and Intellectual Disability Services highlighted UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science’s long-established involvement in promoting this innovative approach to delivery of health and social care services by Irish farm households.
The report was launched by Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath TD to an audience of over 200 people and hosted by social farmers Anna and Oliver Dixon in Claremosrris Co. Mayo. The event was chaired by SAFS’ Professor Jim Kinsella who works closely with Social Farming Ireland in gathering the lessons of practice and sharing these lessons through a series of events and publications which explain the delivery and outcomes of social farming for a diverse group of users. Social farming is currently provided on almost 60 farms throughout Ireland to people who use intellectual disability services, mental health services, youth work services and those availing of social inclusion supports. Professor Kinsella, in his closing remarks, called for greater resources and political commitment to social farming in Ireland and said that there was no reason why it could not be delivered through more than 1,000 farms across Ireland to benefit both service users and the farming and rural communities across the country.