In 2018, while supporting a young person at risk of exclusion from school, educator and researcher Joy O’Neill visited a care farm in the Home Counties in the hope that it might offer an alternative education placement for her student. Later, while learning more about the subject, she arranged visits to almost 50 care farms, city farms and social or therapeutic gardens across the South East of England. During discussions with farmers, founders or owners, they went to great lengths to tell her about their projects and programmes, how they had begun, and the benefits they provided for clients. This was the start of Joy’s journey into the world of Care Farming, which delved deeper into the variety of benefits it has to offer people of all ages and backgrounds. Joy’s Churchill Fellowship report has just been published and can be read here.
We have a great care farm in Buckinghamshire called Road Farm Countryways which is based in Great Missenden. They have facilities that mean their space is inclusive, tranquil, exciting and a real break from life outside the farm gates. Why not check them out, they are always keen to engage new groups and can cater for cooking classes, art workshops, education sessions or wildlife and nature tours.
“Care farming means the therapeutic use of farming practices. It’s sometimes called social farming. People attend care farms for different reasons. It could be for a health, social care, rehabilitation or specialist education programme. Care farms can look very different from each other and are as diverse as the people that they support. One thing they all have is common is providing a supervised, structured programme of farm-related activity for people with a defined need. Care is bespoke, person-centred and focused on the individual.”Social Farms & Gardens website