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Alma Jordan Of AgriKids Speaks To Farm Safely About Ensuring Children Are Safe On Farms

Alma Jordan spoke to Farm Safely about founding AgriKids, a multi-award winning farm safety educational platform for children.

Asked how she would describe AgriKids, Alma said:

“AgriKids is a farm safety educational platform specifically for children. I operate under a very simple ethos in which I want to engage, I want to educate and I want to empower children to become our farm safety ambassadors so essentially, empowering the upcoming generation of farmers to be a safer farmer.”

Mrs Jordan currently resides on a farm based in Julianstown, Co. Meath, with husband, Mark Delany and young son, Eamon.

A fear for her child’s safety on their farm is what partially prompted her to create the website.

AgriKids all came about just after 2014, at a time when Ireland had a very bad year in farm fatalities. In 2014, 30 people died on farms and five of those were children. Alma remembered back to when two children died within days of each other in August of that year. Fionn Mulhall and Liam Lyons were only aged three and five respectively at the time of their tragic deaths.

Alma’s son was only two years old when the tragedies occurred.

“It absolutely terrified me. I decided that could be any of us. That could be any family at any time so what was I going to do to help not make my family a statistic. I went looking to see what was available, what I could do within my own home to educate my child, get a conversation started. I found everything was pretty much directed towards farmers that followed the same message with the same tone, over and over again.”

Mrs Jordan set up AgriKids to bring about a new message and a new tone to how we talk about farm safety.

She added:

“I also wanted to bring in a completely different audience. AgriKids doesn’t look at farmers at all, we look at everybody else. We look at the children, we look at communities and we look at the farm family as a unit because I truly believe if we want to have a safer future then we have to start talking to everybody. We can’t be putting the burden of responsibility completely on the farmer.

“We have to rely on everybody to start the conversation, to start making farm safety more instinctive, not something you think about when you step on to a farmyard but it’s something that starts from the back door of the house. You’re having the conversation and you’re starting to think about it, you’re planning ahead and everybody in that house knows what’s going to be happening that particular day on the farm. So many times a farmer is on his own when a tragedy happens so it’s really important that everyone’s behind the whole farm safety message.”

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Alma continued the process by publishing a set of children’s storybooks titled “Tales from Riverside Farm” in the summer of 2015.

She went on to partake in a range of fun workshops centred around farm safety for children.

“What I am extremely proud of is that I was approached by a librarian a couple years ago about doing workshops and events in a local library. I had never stood up in front of a bunch of children to do a workshop in my life.”

Last year, Alma approached Enterprise Ireland which transformed AgriKids into an additional set of gaming apps which she launched last Christmas.

“I launched those last Christmas and it has been tremendous to meet up with children who are telling me about which games they are playing and what their top score is, how bad their father is at the game, etc. It has been absolutly brilliant. Those games that didn’t quite make the cut for the apps, I’ve actually put them on to my website in the gamezone. I made sure that nothing has gone to waste.

Tullamore Show 2017
Tullamore Show 2017

Recently, Alma worked alongside Zurich Insurance at the Tullamore Show and the National Ploughing Championships for 2017, partaking in workshops and running farm safety activities for children.

Zurich Insurance are now supporting Mrs Jordan with school events and have partnered with her for the next three years.

Today, Mrs Jordan is fully booked up for 2017 with workshops across Ireland.

“About two weeks ago I reached five thousand children doing these workshops and I go all over the country. I’ve never advertised it, I’ve just put it out there and through referalls, word of mouth, it just took off. It’s probably one of the things I’m extremely proud of.”

She urges anyone who wishes to take part in these workshops across Ireland which include Cork, Mayo, Cavan, Monaghan, Kilkenny & Kildare to contact her on alma@agrikids.ie or alternatively check out AgriKids.ie for further information.

To conclude, Alma offers this advice to farm dwellers who have children:

“Start the conversation now. Start it from the house, be very aware of where the dangers are on your farm and let your children know about them. Don’t just say don’t go in there, tell them why. We have to make farm safety instinctive. We’re so good now with bringing our own bags to a supermarket. We’re so good at getting into a car and putting on a seat belt. We childproof our homes when our children are so young. We need to have the same attitude towards the safety on our farms because even though it is a workplace, it is also a home.

“It is a place where people live, it is a place where people play. Unfortunately, it is also a workplace thta you can drown in, you can be trampled on, you could be crushed, something could fall on you, you could fall. It’s an extremely dangerous workplace so it’s important that parents and families have a conversation about farm safety and that everyone gets involved. If something needs to be done, do it, fix it. Don’t wait until it’s too late becauuse I’ve met so many families who would give anything to have the opportunity to take back a decision which either cost a life or cost a limb.”

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The author: Nick Fitzgerald