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Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health launches SHED Talks

The Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health launched its Sustaining Healthy Farms Through Empowerment and Dedication or SHED Talks last week.

The SHED Talks project is part of the Farmer’s Well-being project and Project Lead, Becky Higgs explained they’re really trying to create a communal and collaborative space for farmers and target that isolation that is a major problem for many farmers.

“What we realized when we were doing the research with SHED Talks was that no one truly knows the farm better than the farmers themselves, so it makes it difficult for some of them to explain what’s going on on the farm when these people aren’t on the farm 24/7,” said Higgs.

Higgs says another major stressors on the farm are finances and trying to find the balance between work and home life.

“They live where they work and they work where they live, so it’s really hard for them to have that off-farm rest to be stressed from the day,” Higgs said. “Another difficulty is that they do work from productivity and it’s not hourly, so it’s really hard for them to quit for the day and try to schedule things that aren’t farm related.” She explained that could mean time with family or friends or social commitments or community engagements that take their mind off the farm.

Higgs said about thirty people attended their first meeting last week and the feedback they got from that meeting indicated that the farmers there would like to hear more about things like farm succession, farm safety, anything related to farm efficiency, stress management and achieving that balance between home and work.

Higgs says they’re also hoping to expand the program to Perth, Grey and Bruce Counties.

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