Resources for Building Resilience

This is meant to be a collaborative ongoing list of Wellness Resources for those working in agricultural fields. It is not meant to be exhaustive and can be added to at anytime.

See something that’s missing? Contact mainefrsan@maine.edu


On This Page:


For farmers – of land, forest, or sea:

General resources to explore:

Trainings:

  • Rural Resilience: Farm Stress Training – What is farm stress and how can you help? Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and suicide, effectively communicate with people under stress, reduce stigma related to mental health concerns, and connect farmers and ranchers with resources.
  • Agricultural Community QPR For Farmers & Farm Families – QPR training teaches laypeople and professionals to recognize and respond to mental health crises using the approach of Question, Persuade and Refer.

Legal stressors:

  • Farm Common’s Resilience Workshops are interactive, skill-building workshops helping to create or support legal resilience. All workshops are free for members. They offer workshops specific for farmers & ranchers, agricultural service providers, and self-paced online, advanced workshops.
  • Legal Food Hub helps match farmers and food businesses with the legal help they need, pro bono. Contact 1.844.529.4769 ext. 2  or email legalfoodhub@clf.org
  • The Farmers’ Legal Action Group is dedicated to helping farmers understand their rights and has a long list of legal resources for farmers and ranchers facing anything from financial or natural disasters to land succession to tough situations with contracts. You can also call FLAG at 877-860-4349 if you have any questions, they will not be able to represent you but can help talk through your legal questions.

Financial stressors:

PFAS-related stressors:

Movement, health, and wellness:

  • Labor–Movement believes that when you move well, you work well. Their mission is to help farmers, fishermen, landscapers, and industrial athletes to improve their movement health + wellness, increase efficiency and extend longevity in a season or career.
  • Maine AgrAbility offers tips around farmer health, including topics such as arthritis and agriculture, back health, medical / rehabilitation, mental health and stress management, vision and hearing loss, and women’s health.

Mindfulness for farmers:

Communication, goal setting, and more:

For farmworkers:

Health and wellness:

  • Maine Mobile Health Program is the state’s only farmworker health organization. Their collaborative model involves folks who carry the commitment to make a difference in the lives of Maine’s farmworkers. By linking agricultural workers to care and services, they aim to reduce health disparities and inequities of access for this workforce. Contact 888.351.9634.

Legal stressors:

  • Pine Tree Legal’s Farmworker Unit provides free legal services to eligible farmworkers in Maine. They help people who harvest crops like apples, broccoli and blueberries; work in forestry,  packing houses, the seafood industry, and wreath making. They also provide legal services to farmworkers in other New England states, and publish information for farmworkers each year. Contact by phone at 207.942.0673, Whatsapp 207.233.2930., TTY 207.942.1060.
  • Pine Tree Legal’s Farmworker Library has a wealth of resources around the rights of farmworkers which have been translated to 15 different languages.

Other resources:

  • Not Our Farm (NOF) is a project and community of farmers who have chosen farming as a career but do not have their own farm business or land. NOF created A Guide to Working On Farms (PDF).
  • MOFGA has a job page, which can be organized by county, payment, farm type, marketing strategy, and job type.

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers:

  • Farmworker Justice is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice.
  • Mano en Mano supports immigrant and farmworker communities to live and thrive in Maine through access, advocacy, and education. Check out their programs on their website. Contact 207.546.3006. or email info@manomaine.org

For New American Farmers:

  • Cultivating Community’s New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) is a refugee and immigrant farmer training program, based out of their two incubator farms in Lisbon and Falmouth. Farmers in the NASAP program gain land access and food security, while simultaneously increasing the amount of local, sustainably-grown food for our Maine communities.
  • The National Immigrant Farming Initiative strengthens the capacity of beginning, immigrant, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers to farm successfully and to advance sustainable farming and food systems.

For BIPOC farmers:

  • Northeast Farmers of Color Network is an informal alliance of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian farmers making our lives on land in the Northeast region (New England, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Middle Atlantic, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.) There are 21 founding member farms of NEFOC and a total of over 515 farmers, land stewards, and earth workers in our network. This is a members-only listserv that gathers regionally and annually for skillshares and knowledge exchanges.
  • Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust is a hybrid model land trust, bringing together a community land trust model and a conservation land trust model to reimagine land access as well as conservation and stewardship of communities and ecosystems with the goal of manifesting a community vision that uplifts global Indigenous, Black, and POC relationships with land, skills, and lifeways.
  • Presente Maine exists to empower the Latinx community, who are majority seafood processing and agricultural workers, through survival services to combat racism and poverty; transformation education to develop leadership in community members to lead our organization and our movement, and community organizing to transform systems and power structures that impact our community.
  • Real Farmer Care – Fifty percent of Real Farmer Care recipients are BIPOC farmers. BIPOC farmers are disproportionately impacted in access to land, education, and capital by systemic racism. On top of all of the common challenges that exist in farming, this means that BIPOC growers face substantial additional hurdles that impact their everyday wellness and livelihood. Therefore, making space to center and prioritize their needs in the Real Farmer Care project is paramount.

For Indigenous Food and Medicine Producers:

  • Eastern Woodlands Rematriation is working to sustain the spiritual foundation of Indigenous livelihoods through Indigenous food and agroecological systems. Their projects are rooted in the reclamation of healthy food, wild medicines, and traditional knowledge through exchange, mutual aid, and apprenticeship within Tribal territories of the Northeast. They focus on local infrastructure needs of their various food cultivation spaces with the goal of building capacity through trust and care for others. Contact rematriationcollective@gmail.com
  • The Intertribal Agriculture Council works with Native American and Alaskan Tribes to provide technical assistance as well as to pursue and promote the conservation, development, and use of our agricultural resources for the betterment of our people.
  • Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness whose mission is to provide culturally relevant services to Native Americans.

For New or Beginning Farmers:

  • Maine New Farmers ProjectHave you been farming for fewer than 10 years? Are you a farmhand? Do you own your own farm? Do you hope to own or lease your own farm? The University of Maine Cooperative Extension can help! Check out their Farmer Training and Resources pages for more. 
  • Maine Farmer Resource Network is a coalition of Maine agriculture agencies and organizations working together to connect aspiring and beginning farmers to resources for farm business success.
  • MOFGA’s Farm Beginnings Program is a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business to achieve their goals. Applications will open again in September 2022.
  • MOFGA’s Maine Farm Resilience Program provides individualized support to advanced-beginning farmers (5+ years experience) grappling with critical questions of scaling up, accessing and adapting to new markets, managing risk, innovation and diversification, and re-strategizing business plans to achieve long-term farm viability. Email amueller@mofga.org or call 207.568.6017 for more information.
  • Resources for Beginning farmers from the National AgrAbility Project.

For Farmers with Disabilities:

  • Maine AgrAbility for farmer health resources, specific to arthritis and agriculture, back health, medical/rehabilitation, mental health and stress management, vision and hearing loss, and women’s health. 
  • FishAbility supports fishermen, lobstermen, oyster farmers, people working in aquaculture, and family members of fishing businesses who experience barriers to employment such as aging, injury, or chronic illness. FishAbility’s mission as part of the Maine AgrAbility Program is to work with fishermen whose productivity has been impacted by chronic illness or injury. They offer resources, information, and practical solutions to help fishermen work safely and productively.
  • Logability supports forest workers who experience barriers to employment such as aging, injury, or chronic illness. Part of the Maine AgrAbility Program, their mission is to work with forest workers whose productivity has been impacted by chronic illness or injury. They offer resources and information to help foresters remain successfully employed.
  • National AgrAbility aims to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families, and their communities continue to succeed in rural America.

For Veteran Farmers:

  • Boots-2-Bushels is a course open to veterans, their family members, and farmers with disabilities. Learn how to go from seed to salary with this course for beginning farmers, with an emphasis on military veterans and their family members interested in growing and selling their own farm produce.
  • Maine Farmer Resource Network’s resources for Veteran farmers.
  • National AgrAbility’s resources for Veteran farmers.
  • The Farmer Veteran Coalition works nationally to help returning veterans begin viable careers in agriculture and find a means to heal on America’s farms.
  • United Farmer Veterans of Maine exists to promote collaboration that advocates, supports and mentors Maine’s military veteran farmers in order to facilitate success in sustainable and secure agriculture throughout our communities in Maine.

For LGBTQ2S+ Farmers:

  • FRSAN-NE created a list of LGBTQ+ Farming Resources which includes networks, information hubs, funding opportunities, resources in Spanish, and farmer training opportunities.
  • Cultivating Change Foundation values and elevates LGBT agriculturists through advocacy, education, and community.
  • Fierté Agricole is based in Canada, their mission is to encourage a better knowledge of the rural and agricultural LGBT+ communities’ reality and to ease social integration of people with diverse genders and sexual orientations who share an interest in agriculture.
  • The Queer Farmer Collective‘s mission is to remove barriers that keep the queer community from engaging in agriculture as a means of personal sustenance and empowerment.
  • MaineQueerHealth is a program of MaineTransNet and the Mabel Wadsworth Center focused on improving LGBTQ+ community health access in Maine. This resource centralizes information about LGBTQ+ health, insurance coverage, and a database of LGBTQ+ friendly health and wellness providers.

Podcasts:

Podcasts are a great way to gain information about managing stress and increasing wellness. Consider listening to one of these podcasts while you work.

From AgriSafe:

From Cultivemos (previously the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network of the Northeast):

  • Cultivating Resilience Podcast
    • Episode 1: Farm Finances. See FarmAid’s blog post to play online or see the sidebar for links to streaming services to listen.
    • Episode 2: Climate Anxiety – Specialty Crops.
    • Episode 3: Community – Belonging.
    • Episode 4: Succession – Legacy.
    • Episode 5: Warning Signs & How to Help.

From Farm Commons: 

From FieldWork:

From the National Young Farmers Coalition:

Webinars and videos:


Wellness Tips

Adapted from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Website.

Text reads Stay Connected on light blue background

Stay Connected

  • Take 15 minutes each day to have an uninterrupted conversation with a family member or friend.
  • Don’t shut out family members from your life.
  • Maintain friendships and seek opportunities to connect or reconnect with old friends.

Text reads Practice Awareness on dark blue background

Practice Awareness

  • Know your stressors and how stress manifests in your life.
  • Accept that some stress is out of your control.
  • However, make a plan on working towards a solution instead of focusing on what you can’t control.

Text reads take care of yourself on blue background

Take care of yourself

  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Get outside and get fresh air
  • Get enough sleep
  • Find hobbies and activities you enjoy

Text reads Plan & Set Goals on blue background

Plan and Set Goals

  • Set aside time to plan your day and prioritize your tasks.
  • Plan ahead for difficult seasons and delegate work.
  • Discuss farm operational needs but don’t let them occupy all other aspects of life.
  • Seek constructive feedback on-farm operations for ways to grow or improve.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed step back. Take a moment to assess the situation and brainstorm solutions. Break those solutions up into manageable steps and take it one step at a time.

Cultivate Wellness

  • Give yourself a break. Take regular 5-10 minute breaks to relax and recharge.
  • Reach out to professionals and counselors with concerns.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation to relax your mind in stressful times and when trying to sleep.