Home on the Farm is a new online network developed to support females in farming and farming families throughout the UK. The forum is the brainchild of Milly Fyfe – industry ambassador, farmer’s wife and mother, together with The Farming Forum, Farm Safety Foundation and The Farming Community Network (FCN).
Having shared her own experiences of loneliness and isolation in the Farm Safety Foundation’s 2020 Mind Your Head campaign earlier this year, Milly has been working with the Farm Safety Foundation, FCN and The Farming Forum, a thriving online community with over 45,000 active members in the agricultural industry, to create a new online community for females in farming where they can have conversations about issues that matter to them, concerns for their family and the future and share advice and experiences.
The Farming Forum’s new ‘Home on the Farm’ section will feature five key areas:
• Parenting and Children on the Farm
• Family and Farming
• Food from the Farm
• Better Halves
• Women in Agriculture
According to Milly; “Being a farmer’s wife with two young children, my husband, like many farmers, works long hours on the family farm and rarely takes time for a break. I have experienced the feelings that isolation and loneliness brings, being on my own with young children all the time with little support.
This is one of the reasons I supported the Mind Your Head in February though little did I know what the following month would bring… COVID19 has really shone a light on the issue of social isolation and the importance of support and conversations and this is why this forum is really needed right now. It is important that we stick together, support each other and open up conversations about the issues we are facing – stress and anxiety, keeping our children safe, succession, whatever feels important to you right now is what we want to talk about.”
“Often when you start a conversation, you realise you are not alone as other share their personal experiences. Peer-to-peer support can really help.”
Stephanie Berkeley, Manager of the Farm Safety Foundation added: “In the face of the new reality instilled by this pandemic, we are bound together more than ever. Chances are that you already belong to a few different groups on Facebook or WhatsApp based on friendships, neighborhood, school, or hobbies. And while Google is a useful tool for anyone looking for advice on the internet, there’s something very special and very personal about being able to ask, and potentially befriend, someone living or working in the same industry. Someone who can sympathise and even empathise with what you are going through, having been in a similar situation in the past and whose lived experiences give them wisdom that Wikipedia just doesn’t have.
“Home on the Farm will work for farming because it is a forum created by women, led by women, for women and will help with the she-covery after what has been a uniquely challenging 2020.”
According to Chris Fellows of The Farming Forum, who will be hosting the Home on the Farm section: “When Milly and Stephanie approached me about this new female forum, I jumped at the chance. The Farming Forum has always had a mixed membership. 3,000 of our registered members are women so it just seems a logical evolution of the site to offer a voice for women in the industry to create their own network of support. The Farming Forum site has never been overly complicated or overwhelming so, Home on the Farm will be easy to use, but at the same time will be full of great information alongside a friendly, welcoming community.”
Vicki Beers, National Partnerships Manager with FCN, said: “The Farming Forum is a valuable platform for members of the farming community to meet others in a similar situation to them and share experiences – through the good times and the bad. Having a dedicated section of the Forum for women will help to encourage a wider range of discussions around all things farming, family and health.
“As a farming wife and mother myself, I am proud of FCN’s involved in this project. Some conversations taking place on the Forum also raise concerns around stress, anxiety, loneliness and other issues.
FCN has volunteers throughout England and Wales who understand farming and are here to help. For those going through a difficult time or looking to speak to someone in confidence, FCN’s Helpline is available to call on 03000 111 999 for anyone in need of support.”