A Denmark-based farmer dedicated to championing the physical and mental wellbeing of rural communities has won the 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.
Farm Life Fitness founder Louise O’Neill won the prestigious award at a ceremony on May 5 for her online business on a mission to break the barriers to maintaining good mental and physical health for people living in the bush.
Ms O’Neill’s online business delivers one-on-one coaching and live online group fitness workouts for people living rurally.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ms O’Neill said she was proud to help farmers discover the importance and benefits of prioritising movement in their busy lives.
“I used to work at a physio rehab in Northam and I soon realised that once a week coming in to improve your physical health and your mental health wasn’t enough,” she said.
“Just because we live or work rurally doesn’t mean we should miss out on the services to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
“So I started Farm Life Fitness and went online with it for that very reason to break down the barriers that we often come across living rurally.”
Ms O’Neill said it was an incredible feeling to know she was helping people put their health first.
“It doesn’t matter whether they are male or female, we have their backs,” she said.
“And a place where there’s just no judgment and we try and teach people to put themselves first.”
She said she would continue to promote the importance of mental health and emotional wellbeing in farming.
“It can be a tough place to be in farming but we do it for the love and I want to make sure we carry on doing it for the love,” she said.
“I want to make sure we change these paradigms that it is 24 hours a day seven days a week — it doesn’t have to be.
“Our mental health comes first, we have to take care of ourselves before we take care of others … because we can and we can still make everything else happen at the same time.”
Ms O’Neill received a $15,000 business development bursary and will represent WA at the National AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award in September.
Mount Magnet cattle farmer Debbie Dowden and Vasse Valley Hemp Farm co-owner and operator Dr Bronwyn Blake were both finalists.