AgKnow to launch community engagement campaign to help Alberta farm families
By Top Crop Manager
The Alberta Farm Mental Health Network will begin its first community engagement campaign this February for its AgKnow initiative to address farm mental health.
With press packages, presentations, courses and professional development opportunities, AgKnow now hosts 11 mental health professionals with various specialties and experience working with farm families in rural Alberta. Farmers and members of their households can access two free sessions with one of these professionals. The research program is now hiring staff and starting their research interviews, as well as pulling together evidence-based training materials that will form the basis of AgKnow program delivery in the coming year.
“Support and requests for services are coming in from all sides. The value of AgKnow is in our connection with the agriculture community though ARECA, ASBs, Ag-business and the provincial and federal governments,” says Linda Hunt, director of AgKnow. “We are in a good position to keep our finger on the pulse of farming in Alberta and communicate needs and recommendations to program and policy people in health and agriculture. Essentially bridging gaps and providing feedback and recommendations that have positive impacts to the health and wellbeing of Alberta farmers and their families.”
This past fall, Alberta agriculture and irrigation minister Nate Horner approved additional funding to advance the development of the AgKnow initiative, develop its referral program and jumpstart associated research initiatives with the University of Alberta. Current funding for this initiative runs out at the end of the fiscal year on March 31, 2023, but AgKnow staff are optimistic about finding other sources of income to keep the program running. In addition to pursuing charity status, building a partnership program and working with ag associations on fundraising, AgKnow will be submitting a five-year funding proposal under Alberta’s Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) this spring.
Visit agknow.ca for more information.