Healthy Horticulture for our people and places at this year's Show!

8th Sep 2021

Visitors to the Healthy Horticulture section at Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank taking place at Balmoral Park from 22nd to 25th September will have the opportunity to learn about two wonderful initiatives, Social Farming and Keeping Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Social Farming will be showcased as a service delivered by farmers, providing the opportunity for individuals with support needs to get involved in farming in a supportive way. Activities are structured, meaningful, and seasonal. Horticulture features across all farms offering Social Farming in Northern Ireland, both in terms of food production and the healing power of nature. Social Farming participants benefit through social inclusion in the farming community and the physical and mental benefits of being outside interacting with nature.

One farmer described their experience as “Providing Social Farming services has brought a new lease of life to our farm, and to us as farmers, allowing us to share our connection to the land and to nature with our community”.

The team from Rural Support’s Social Farming Support Service and practising Social Farmers along with participants will be available to speak to all visitors interested to learn more about this innovative service. Aoibeann Walsh, Rural Support’s Head of Social Farming and Innovation commented; “We are looking forward to sharing the story of Social Farming and its positive impact on the individuals participating on farms across Northern Ireland”.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB) is a local environmental charity dedicated to supporting local people and communities to make a real difference to improving where they live. 

Helen Tomb, Live Here Love Here manager at KNIB commented; “We have so much to talk about at Balmoral Show with calls to action on reducing plastic, tackling litter and showing our pollinators some love. We also want to gather the views of the agriculture, horticulture and farming communities on climate change with a very short survey or conversation to help us shape our Climate Action Training for these sectors.

"Our team will be able to tell you all about tackling waste by taking steps to live more sustainably and grants available for local communities to improve their local environment."

A new centre piece exhibit for 2021 has been designed by Jilly Dougan creating a platform that will engage, inspire and educate children and adults alike.

The 4 raised beds will have seasonal vegetables, fruit trees and bushes, gorgeous cut flowers and foliage highlighting the variety and diversity of produce that is grown and harvested locally.

One of the beds will illustrate a permanent productive school garden with under-planting for pollinating insects. Jilly said; “Working on Eco-Schools projects this year, with different funders, we installed 29 small orchard areas to provide both fruit for the pupils and whole school community and habitat for wildlife; a real win-win, low maintenance concept which any school or community group could implement”.

This year’s Show will run from Wednesday 22nd September to Saturday 25th September, that’s four action packed days of family fun.  Tickets are available to purchase online by clicking here.