Wellbeing of Farmers: Physical Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing
Key Challenges: Lack of basic services, Administrative burden, Legal employment/ fair working conditions, Lack of attractiveness of certain farming profession, Pressure from society/negative perceptions
Key Target Groups: Young farmers, Female farmers, Older farmers, Farm Workers (laborers)
Farm Size: Small/Family, Medium, Large
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Key contact: Nikolaos Koltsidas
Organization: Proud Farm Group of Farmers
In our farmer’s group “Proud Farm”, which is an incubator of sheep farmers in Western Macedonia-Greece, we were inspired and implemented, in cooperation with the Reception and Solidarity Center of the Municipality of Athens, the “Proud Life” project, for the employment of guests of the Multipurpose Center for the Homeless in Athens.
On the one hand, Greek sheep and goat farmers face a significant challenge in finding human resources for their farms, which creates intense stress and extra working hours, when they fail to meet these needs.
On the other hand, there is a great number of fellow human beings facing poverty, housing and financial insecurity.
The innovative action of our Proud Farms team meets these two needs offering prosperity to farmers as well as vulnerable populations by placing people in selected goat and sheep farms in Kozani (Western Macedonia).
Create a transparent mechanism (matching) to solve the lack of farm workers, which is a major problem on dairy sheep farms which creates great stress to farmers while at the same time solve a great social problem, that of homelessness.
The most important aim was to communicate an idea and provide a blueprint for wellbeing in the rural by offering a chance to people to live a proud life.
First step for the ProudFarm was to run a communication strategy in order to get in contact with several dairy sheep and goat farmers, and evaluate them reagrding their size and employment (ethical) farm conditions.
From the other side the Reception and Solidarity Center evaluated their hosts in order to create a list of potential beneficiaries.
Onwards Web interviews were organised, during covid, between farmers and hosts at the Multidynamic Center of Homelessness.
10 different interviews in 10 different farmers (in all Greece) were contacted and more thatn 20 interviews with potential beneficiaries.
Main Outcome of the activity
The first practical outcome was that one beneficiary of the Homeless shelter in Athens found a home in a farm and for the past 2 years is employed there and is living a proud life.
The farm that employs him runs a proud farm and a proud life by setting an ethical example of employing farm workers.
This gives them a sense of achievement and honor of being a farmer.
Main Practical Recommendations
We raised awareness regarding a potential group of dairy farm employees and at the same time communicated to dιary sheep and goat farming a pathway to overcome a difficult social problem like homelessnes and unemployment.
The added value was that farmers found a solution to a problem that was creating a lot of stress to them while at the same time they felt contributing to society by offering a home to vulnerable people.
Apart from food provisioning agriculture can provide social goods and get public acceptance as gatekeepers of solidarity.
Key Stakeholders Involved
- Farmer Associatiations
- Farm Schools
- Reception & Solidarity Center
Most Innovative Aspects of the Solution
The project initiated new channels of communication with several stakeholders working in other sectors (apart from agriculture and livestock breading) thus bridging the gap between the farm life and urban life.
Social economy in a way filled the lack of mainstream (public) policies to address two social problems : homelessness and lack of farm workers.