November 14, 2022 at 6:00 am
Last week, the Gateway Rural Health Center of Excellence launched Sustaining Healthy Farms Through Empowerment and Giving, or SHED Talks.
The SHED Talks project is part of the Farmer’s Well-being project and project leader Becky Higgs explained that they are really trying to create a communal and collaborative space for farmers and address the issue of isolation which is a major issue for many farmers.
“When we did our research with SHED Talks, we realized that no one knows the farm better than the farmers themselves, so it’s hard for some of these people to explain what’s going on on the farm when they’re not on the farm 24/7,” Higgs said.
Another major source of stress on the farm is finances and trying to find a balance between work and family life, Higgs said.
“They live where they work, they work where they live, so it’s really hard for them to get stressed from the start of the day,” Higgs said. “Another difficulty is that they’re very productive and it’s not hourly, so it’s really hard for them to stop during the day and try to schedule things that aren’t related to the farm.” She explained that this could mean spending time with family members Or time spent with friends, or social commitment or community involvement, that can take their attention away from the farm.
Feedback from about 30 people who attended their first meeting last week indicated that farmers there wanted to hear more about farm succession, farm safety, and farm efficiency, stress, Higgs said. It’s about managing things and achieving that balance between home and work.
They also hope to expand the program to Perth, Gray and Bruce counties, Higgs said.