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Welcome to the Merry Moo Farm Project

It’s common knowledge that spending time in nature is good for both our physical and mental well-being. Everyone in the world, especially since the pandemic, knows how staying indoors and isolating can seriously affect our mental health. The mental health charity, Mind, outlines the positive effects of spending time out in nature which is our goal at the Merry Moo Farm Project. They include; connecting with a community, reducing stress & anger, improving confidence, encouraging an active lifestyle, reducing loneliness, providing peer support and many more.

On a farm, every day is different and you never know what is around the corner - that is the beauty of working with plants and animals! The opportunities are endless and there is always something that needs to be done. This provides people with different challenges and allows creative solutions to be used, every day is unique. At the Merry Moo Farm Project, our mission is for people to leave the farm feeling more positive about themselves and for them to make new friends, even if it’s just one of the sanctuary animals.

We currently have two pigs in temporary foster care, they will be among our first residents once we find our forever farm to move into. Read more about their story by clicking here.

One day we hope to have a large range of different animals, plants and bees on the farm; promoting harmony and biodiversity among all species, including humans! Our goal is to create a large market garden with polytunnels and raised planters for those with accessibility issues. We also want to provide a home for Jersey cows, allowing our clients to take part in the feeding, milking and production of dairy products like butter, cream and soap. There will be free-range chickens on the farm, along with an animal that may have retired farm animals like donkeys, horses, goats, pigs and a host of other animals that may need a loving home.

One day we’d like to set up a wildlife conservation area to aid in protecting native plant and animal species, along with fruit and vegetable plants which our clients can help to maintain and harvest. We will provide bat, bird and owl boxes throughout the land and set up an apiary to introduce more bees to the area and stop their decline. Honey could be harvested and sold by our clients, and the money from this could be reinvested into the project to help provide more activities for our clients to get involved with.

In addition to the gardens and farm, we would love to have a community farmhouse which we could renovate on the farm. This would be used as a hub for our volunteers and clients, to provide hot & cold food and beverages and allow our community to socialise and grow. This could be a place for a myriad of indoor activities when the weather isn’t suitable.

Our Founder, Mission and Fundraising

The brain behind this whole project is Pierrette Langdown - she has over 34 years of experience working on and then running her own farm! Although she did not grow up in a farming family, she still shares the enthusiasm and passion that we come to expect from farmers. Originally, she worked as a nurse in a local hospital then later fell into the farming industry. In the 1990s, Pip started a small farm of her own, by renting some farmland and buildings, while working for a nursing agency to pay the bills.

Once she had established her own farm, Pip started a small suckler herd of cows which grew over time to include pigs, chickens and other animals. Pip is the first one to admit that there are many highs and lows working in the farming industry. It is a very isolated job, which has a high suicide rate due to the long hours and financial pressures. It can be, however, an extremely rewarding job that has turned into a big passion in her own life.

A few years ago, due to a personal relationship deteriorating, Pip found herself struggling with her own well-being. This, unfortunately, forced her to have to give up the majority of her animals - leaving her with a couple of pet pigs and a dog. These few animals kept Pip going when times got really tough and she doesn't know where she’d be now without them. Pip realised that she desperately needed something to keep her busy and help her recover.

This is where the Merry Moo Farm Project comes into the story! She decided to start a non-profit community interest company (CIC) and enlisted help to start a trustee panel. The main reason she chose to start a CIC instead of a charity was that she did not have the £5000 required to register.

Pip wanted to try and give something back to allow people to experience an outdoor environment. Working with one of the new trustees, they came up with a list of clients that would benefit from a variety of outdoor activities. Together they wrote to a large number of companies that policies aligned with their principles of well-being issues and social isolation issues. They tried for various grants without any success, and now require help from the public to raise funds for the project!

However, unbeknownst to everyone, the pandemic was about to happen which slowed the whole process down. Everyone was hit with isolation and well-being issues which are still ongoing to this day! In 2022, the team started looking into buying their own small farm which would enable the project to progress. Early in the year (2023), we had a shortlist of two potential farms in Dorset that have the potential to host the Merry Moo Farm Project. We’re excited to say that recently one of the farms has been identified as our main candidate for the farm!

This project is like the chicken and egg; once we have raised the capital and purchased a small farm, then we can apply for any smaller grants that could assist the project for the equipment that would be required to run it. Until then, the project cannot receive these grants. That is where you, yes you reading this, come into play - We need people to share our story and donate to our project to get it started. We have launched a group funding page to try and help raise the capital that is required to purchase a small farm in Dorset.

You can donate to our cause by clicking here! We understand that people may not be in the position to donate due to the current cost of living crisis but we would be grateful if you could spread the word about our project - every little helps! Even just a share to your social media would be helpful and extremely appreciated.

Outdoor Therapy Research

Farms and gardens have long been used to aid therapy and rehabilitation for those struggling with mental and physical conditions. In the Victorian era, many hospitals and asylums adopted using farms and gardens to enrich patients' lives, keep them busy and feed the community. Many different gardening and farming practices helped people who struggled with mobility issues/injuries and were used to ‘treat’ people with learning difficulties and mental health issues.

In the present day, community farms and gardens are used all over the globe to help people from all different walks of life; for example, older generations, people struggling with mental health issues, refugees & asylum seekers, ex-service personnel, people with physical & learning disabilities, and low-income families. Today, there is a growing body of evidence to show the advantages of using outdoor spaces (like gardens and farms) for physical and mental well-being.

One study in 2014 focused on the effect of nature on the over-60 population - they found that spending time in nature (doing non-exercise physical activity) significantly improved waist circumference and improved cholesterol, insulin and triglycerides levels in both men and women. Additionally, Glasgow University did research in 2015 into the effect of community gardens & farms and found that they promoted communities to come together and “offers a learning environment that goes beyond the skills associated with horticulture to include individual health, self and community wellbeing and democratic citizenship.”

In recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of ‘care farms’ being used to help all kinds of different people. Care farming uses farming practices for the purpose of improving well-being, promoting healing and providing educational, social and health care services. Working on farms allows people to not only work and feel useful but can also help with forming meaningful connections and bonds with the animals. A 2017 study found that farm animals had many potential benefits to participants and became an important part of their lives. The researchers found 12 main advantages to using farm animals;

  1. They provide meaningful work that makes people feel more accomplished in the day.

  2. Generated valued close relationships between people and animals.

  3. Help individuals to master tasks and overcome challenges in a non-threatening environment.

  4. Provide opportunities for reciprocity, the animals look after you when you look after them.

  5. Provides a distraction for people from their problems and gives them something else to focus on.

  6. Helps with relaxation and rest, for example working with cows can help calm people and slow them down.

  7. Customised support/care, there is a wide range of activities that can be chosen with each animal.

  8. Facilitating relationships with others, having similar interests can help people connect with others.

  9. Stimulating more healthy behaviour - encouraging people to be more physically active and therefore sleep better.

  10. Provide a welcoming environment for everyone, animals do not discriminate.

  11. Helps to experience the basic elements of life, farm animals make life processes visible in a natural way.

  12. Provide opportunities for reflection and feedback, giving people new perspectives on their own lives.

This research shows a brief synopsis of how community farming and gardening can help people of all ages and circumstances. We hope that you share our passion for our project! If you do, please donate and share our fundraisers! Updates will be given regularly on our website and our social media pages, if you’d like to follow as our story unfolds.



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