Social farming today (sometimes called ‘Green care in agriculture’, ‘farming for health’ or ‘care farming’) is defined as the use of farms and agricultural landscapes as a base for promoting mental and physical health.
Simply put Social Farming describes a range of therapeutic, land based activities which help deliver a positive rural experience. Land based activities vary but might include collecting eggs, feeding and watering livestock, mucking out, tending to crops in a raised bed or Polytunnel, mending fences or simply participating in a guided nature walk.
Social Farming helps develop the potential in people by looking at what they can achieve
rather than what their disability or illness might restrict them to.
Activities not only build practical skills but also help people gain confidence, develop social skills and foster a sense of achievement as
well as making a connection with nature.
No two Social Farms are the same.
Each Social Farm is different not only in size and what is offered but also in the groups or individuals they cater for.
For example, activities may be aimed at those experiencing a range of mental health issues such as depression or stress; people recovering from drug or alcohol abuse or perhaps adults and young people with physical disabilities.
Each Social Farm has the ability to offer a personalised service dependent upon the nature of the farm and the level of independence and confidence of the participants.
Daily attendance charges and sources of payments to fund the activities vary too.
For example, funding might come from personalised budgets or via payments through the health sector, a charity or education sector.