ABOUT CARE FARMING AND CARE FARMS
What is Care Farming?
Care Farming is the therapeutic use of farming practices for marginalized or vulnerable groups of people. This model is common in the UK and Europe and goes by varying names, including Care Farming, Social Farming, and Social Care Farming. For a more detailed definition of Social Care Farming, check out this blog from our friends at the Southeastern Social Care Farming Collective.
What are the different farm types that Care Farms can be?
There are many varieties and types of Care Farms, and Care Farms differ in the type of farming activities. Farm-related activities may include:
- Animal Husbandry (for example raising poultry, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs)
- Animal Therapy (for example therapeutic horse riding)
- Flower Farm
- Fruit/Orchard Production
- Value Added Products (for example fruits made into pies or jams, meats made into jerky, and tomatoes and peppers made into salsa)
- Vegetable Farm
Which populations do Care Farms focus on?
Care Farms serve many different populations. Care Farms may serve:
- People with mental health problems
- Those with a drug or alcohol addiction
- Individuals on probation
- Individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) [for example: Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, or Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)]
What are the therapeutic benefits of Care Farming and Care Farms?
Being involved with Care Farming and Care Farms has many benefits, and many people have enriched themselves and their lives through their experiences. The following are just some of the therapeutic benefits of Care Farming and Care Farms:
- Builds confidence and self-esteem
- Opportunity to give back to the community
- Chance to do something physical, for example farming/gardening, riding horses, caring for animals, etc.
- Being in nature
- Sense of achievement
- Opportunity to meet and engage with new people
- A sense of belonging to a community
- Opportunities to learn
- Memorable experiences
- Fun and enjoyment
- Adventure or challenge
- Changes one's worldview
- Reduction of stress/anxiety
- Dignity of earning a paycheck
- Team work/Collaboration (chance to work as part of a team collaboratively)