Social Farming

Social Farming offers people who are socially, physically, mentally or intellectually disadvantaged the opportunity to spend time on a family farm in a healthy, supportive and inclusive environment. 

Social Farming is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the CEDRA Fund. South West Mayo Development Company is part of a Social Farming network, working in collaboration with Leitrim Development Company, West Limerick Resources and Waterford LEADER Partnership. 

For More Information About Social Farming, please see: 

If you are interested in a social farming placement, you must be receiving a service or supported by a service. 

People who have benefitted from social farming in the past include:  

  • People experiencing mental health difficulties  
  • People with disabilities (intellectual, physical and sensory)  
  • Older people  
  • Young people at risk  
  • Children  
  • Refugees  
  • People availing of drug/alcohol rehabilitation services  
  • People with dementia  
  • People in the justice system 


Social Farming benefits the health and wellbeing of participants in the following ways: 

  • Physical Health:  general physical fitness; improved farming and other skills; being in a safe and peaceful environment which leads to less aggression; and physical work that can lead to improved diet and better sleep patterns.  
  • Mental Health: improved self-esteem and well-being; restored feelings of worth; and increased self-confidence.  
  • Social Benefits: increased social skills as participants come into contact with others, the farm family and those who visit the farm; acceptance by others; greater self-confidence and willingness to try new things, meeting new people and making friends; greater independence and personal responsibility; and tackling social exclusion by integrating people.  

If you are interested in signing up as a Social Farm, please contact Deirdre Fahey for more details on how you can get involved. 

Benefits for farmers and farm families are both economic and social. The social benefits for farm families include achievement and fulfilment through:  

  • Seeing the positive outcomes for the people who spend time on the farm;  
  • Making a difference in the lives of individuals; and  
  • Helping typically excluded people to become more included  

We have a wide range of farmers involved in Social Farming across Mayo, Roscommon and Galway. Some are small organic holdings, while others are large dairy farms. 

If you are interested in offering Social Farming placements to your service users, please contact Deirdre Fahey for more details on how you can get involved. 


Service providers have found that they are meeting the development and progression goals of clients, as Social Farming links to current health and social care thinking as follows:  

  • Person-centred – focusing on the whole person abilities rather than limitations  
  • Choice – social farming by its nature strengthens existing skills and develops new capabilities which enhance independent living and employment options.  
  • Social inclusion – expanding social contacts and promoting greater involvement in community life for those who may otherwise be socially isolated  


South West Mayo Development Company offers Social Farming in counties Mayo, Roscommon and Galway

For more information, please contact:

Deirdre FaheyWest Regional Development Officerdfahey@southmayo.com087 623 3862 

 Registered in Dublin 182222. Recognised by the Revenue Commissioners as a Charity No. CHY 10482 Copyright © 2021 South West Mayo Development. All Rights Reserved.