Funding of €400,000 is available this year for social farming projects under the 2021 Rural Innovation and Development Fund, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

This morning (Friday, March 26) Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue announced a competitive public procurement procedure seeking service providers with the vision and capability to develop a substantial social farming model project.

A maximum of €100,000 is available for any one project, the minister revealed.

Social farming is the practice of offering, on a voluntary basis, farming and horticultural participation in a farming environment as a choice to people who avail of a range of therapeutic day support services, according to the department.

These operations are run in a number of settings ranging from working family farms, local community initiatives through to more institutional frameworks.

Making the announcement, Minister McConalogue stated: “I am pleased to announce my department has issued this request for tender.

“Social farming is an exciting and successful venture that has many benefits. It’s an initiative which fosters inclusion amongst disadvantaged groups and has proven to allow participants build self-esteem and improve health and well-being.

“When operating from a working family farm, these initiatives support farm diversification and help farmers connect with the wider community.”

The tender has been posted on the eTenders website here under the code and name “RFT 186491 – The provision of a social farming project”.

A closing date of 5:00pm on Monday, May 10, 2021, has been set for applications for the tender.