Farming Family and Therapy – a newfound fusion

Farming Family and Therapy – a newfound fusion

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This is heartwarmingly inspiring! A social enterprise focusing on saving youth at risk from being ending up in juvenile homes through a programme that fuses farming, family, and therapy.

I used to believe that just by being in the outdoors is therapeutic enough and that the forests will work its magic on any students. The change in the environment moving from an urbanised jungle to a “real” one, away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, will provide ample catalyst for students to reset themselves to the positive spectrum.

But then I thought, it cannot be as easy as that. If just by bringing students back to nature will solve many behavioral issues, I would have seen angels in my students at the end of every programme. Don’t get me wrong, I did see some change but not the extent that they are fully changed for the better.

Quite accidentally, I bumped into an article that shared the amazing works at Jamie’s Farm. In summary, identified delinquent youth are brought in for a 1-week stay at their farms.

At the farm, the youth get to:
1. Perform the basic manual labour of farming
2. Stay away from tech gadgets
3. Eat healthy wholesome food
4. Attend therapy sessions

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Here are my personal 3 quick thoughts from their amazing work:

1. The fact that the founders had to acquire such a big loan shows the scale of the project. Applying back to Singapore, I love this alternative idea of outdoor programme except that it will be a struggle operate a farm in my land scarce island. Nevertheless, it might be a possibility.

At the time of writing, I am actively setting up Irsyad Gardening Club at my workplace. We are actively utilising the railings at the corridors to build our own garden. Space is definitely a constraint but the plants are growing well. But the point is that, at the economic aspect, setting something similar takes up a lot of investment in terms of time, space and money.

2. A new dimension of farming. Nothing new actually as they incorporated the animal factor. But for me, who recently got close to gardening and trying to get students touching the plants, the thought of getting students close to animals did not strike me at all!

But the more I think about it, I begin to recall how warm those moments I had when close to animals! There is this magical connection between human and beasts (big or small).

A plant will not tell you immediately that they do not like how they are handled but a rabbit will simply hop off. A horse will just thread off if you are lucky. Hence students will have to learn to be sensitive to animals.

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3. Looking at things as a whole. This occurs to the gardening club recently too. We were figuring out how to get our rock melon flowers to fruit. That was where we realised that the flowers needed to be “mated”.

In the natural world, pollination is the works of butterflies, bees and birds. You simply need to include them in the equation. They are part of the ecosystem. In other words, every part of an ecosystem has a role to play!

I really need inspiration on how to apply Jamie’s works to my humble workplace.

>>> Click here to get to Jamie’s farm website

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Outdoor Educator

I'm an outdoor educator and blogger. Outdoors, I teach both technical and experiential courses. Indoors, I blog about the outdoors, environment, health and life! Contact me if you'd like to explore opportunities together, whatever they might be.

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