What is Care Farming?

Care farming combines care of the land with care of people in the supportive natural environment of farms, woodlands and market gardens. Care farming utilises farmer’s and grower’s expertise to provide meaningful activities, exercise and a healthy daily structure for the participant farm helpers. Time on a care farm builds confidence and supports people to develop their social and practical skills.

Care farming was brought to the UK as a concept from the Netherlands, where it spread rapidly after Dutch social services introduced personalised budgets for health and social care.

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Benefits

Few environments provide the breadth of new opportunities that a farm can. For example, people may get involved as part of small teams planting and tending crops, looking after animals, helping in a farm shop or learning mechanics on a farm tractor. Care farming provides an engaging pathway that allows people the chance to grow with understanding that the pace of progress is different for different people.

According to research conducted by University of Essex, people who attend care farms often report significant improvements to their health and well being.

Farm Helpers

People who attend care farms can come from a variety of backgrounds. Some may need some support to recover from mental health problems, some may be homeless or ex-services, some will have a learning or physical disability, some will be older people, others will benefit from care and structure to overcome substance misuse and some will be excluded or at risk of exclusion from school. Some farms provide opportunities for specific groups and some farms for a wider mix of people.

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