What is Social Farming?
Social Farming, also known as Care Farming, has expanded significantly in the UK since 2005 as well as in Western Europe. It is a partnership between Health and Social managers, participants and farming families that can successfully develop people's potential and interests through structured farmwork rather than focusing on the past or limitations.
The participants, benefiting from weekly farm visits, are a cross-section of the population from young children to the elderly. The main categories are those with learning disabilities, mental health issues, school difficulties, ex-offenders and those substance misusers now in recovery.
Why look at the Social Farming option?
Evidence based: 88% of participants visiting farms experienced improvements in their wellbeing (Hine, Peacock & Pretty, University of Essex 2008).
There is a relaxing and socially inclusive atmosphere while working or in break time that helps people and builds self-esteem.
- animal therapy is available to all indirectly through the work
- exercise and fresh air take precedence
- developing new skills or the opportunity to use undiscovered talents and learning about rural life
- supervision from an entrepreneurial, self-sufficient business person - the farmer
- more emphasis on healthy food closer to the source
- availability of leisure facilities anytime eg fishing, nature walks
- systemic results - all involved benefit, directly or indirectly