Aussie Farmers Foundation has awarded grants worth over $70,000 as part of the Grassroots grant program to four amazing projects supporting Aussie farming communities.

Non-profit organisations Life Education NSW, Rural and Regional Mental Health, Barrier Breakers and Rural Business Support will now be able to roll out projects directly benefitting rural and regional communities doing it tough across Australia.

Grassroots grants support Australian farming communities in the areas of farm sustainability, disaster relief, kid’s health, food waste and security, and mental health and wellbeing.

Aussie Farmers Foundation Executive Officer Julia Hunter explains: “the Foundation aims to make a meaningful difference to Aussie farmers and their communities by funding grassroots projects that provide them with much-needed services during times of hardship.

“We partner with local organisations who are already working on the ground and are the experts in helping to address some of the issues that impact their communities,” she said.

The projects that will be funded in 2017 are:
• Rural Minds – Rural and Remote Mental Health: mental health workshops for farmers across Western Australia’s wheat belt and market gardens regions as part of the Rural Minds mental health literacy and suicide prevention program.

• Delivering Effective and Affordable Preventative Health Education Children in Remote Areas – Life Education NSW: Ten visits to schools to provide drug and health education to children and their families in the Broken Hill and Wentworth areas in NSW.

• Mental Health First Aid for Farming Communities – Barrier Breakers Inc: Run four Mental Health First Aid courses for professionals such as police and public housing officers in Victoria’s Gippsland region to provide vital training in dealing with people experiencing mental health issues.

• A New Approach to Family Farm Management – Rural Business Support: Run farm business workshops for 28 families across the Eyre Peninsula and South Australia’s south east to help ensure succession planning and sound business management systems are in place.

Julia Hunter said the Foundation received a record number of applications this year with the largest number in the mental health area.

“Each year we get insight into the level of need in farming communities and this year is no exception. Rural and regional Australians face limited access to mental health services, making it difficult to maintain good mental health whilst continuing to work the farm, often in challenging conditions.

“We’re thrilled that we can support these four projects and thank all of our donors whose contributions to the Foundation mean we can make a difference to communities who need a hand up.”