Care farm receives grant to alleviate stressors from COVID-19

January 14, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Jessica Laurenza

Stephanie Deaken and Breanne Mathers, co-founders of Fiddlehead Care Farm, received $64,600 through the Resilient Communities Fund intended to help local non-profits support the community during COVID-19.

On Dec. 10, MPP Sylvia Jones announced that the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) would be launching this fund to support community organizations.

“Many families and individuals rely on non-profit organizations for services, support, and as a way to meet each other at events and programming. In the face of the pandemic we have all had to adjust and change how we stay connected to each other and this funding will go a long way to reconnecting us all safely,” says Jones.

Care farming is the use of farming and natural landscape for therapeutic purposes, serving vulnerable groups of people including those with mental health problems, people suffering from any level of depression, and adults or children with learning disabilities. Their teachings “are applicable to coping mechanisms any time of their lives,” Mathers explains.

Located in Mono on 50 acres of organic farmland, Fiddlehead Farm creates a safe place for individuals and families by “getting people back to nature,” Deacen says.

The pandemic has brought with it increased attachment issues, social isolation, and trouble reintegrating into communities. Deacen and Mathers saw soaring levels of anxiety and decreased coping abilities in children in the community. The Resilient Communities Fund will help them adapt to reach the increased demands of support from people in the community by improving their virtual support platform.

“Families are trying to be proactive in realizing that this is a historical thing for kids to go through and this is something we need some additional support for,” Mathers reasoned.

Because it is located in a rural area, the farm struggles with its internet connection, so a large portion of this fund will go towards increased technical support to help with online counselling.

Both Deacen and Mathers understand the dichotomy that they’re pushing people away from technology but have had to shift towards online counselling and therapy to adapt to COVID-19. They will try to mock up a similar atmosphere by being present on the farm and including interactivity in the technology.

“We are very appreciate of the fund because it will allow us to support a lot more kids in a much more efficient way and hopefully set them up for success to face any other challenges,” Mathers states.

The Resilient Communities Fund helps to connect local non-profit organizations with individuals and families in the community who need these services, particularly amidst a pandemic.

Deacen and Mathers are using their platform to guide people through these challenging times and equip them with the resources they need to face any challenge.

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