Care farms provide health, social or educational care services for a range of vulnerable groups of people including those with mental health problems, people suffering from mild to moderate depression, people with substance misuse history, adults and children with learning disabilities, children with autism, disaffected young people, and people on probation.
Clients and participants attend the farm regularly as part of a structured care, rehabilitation, therapeutic or educational programme.They provide a supervised, structured programme of farming-related activities including animal husbandry, crop and vegetable production, woodland management and horticulture.
Care farms are usually commissioned to provide care farming services by referral agencies such as social services, NHS, community mental health teams, education authorities, probation services. Clients can also be self-referred as part of the direct payments scheme, or be referred by family members.
Care farming helps make a difference to disadvantaged people’s lives by giving them an opportunity to work on the land and on land based activities. It combines care of the land with care of people. It is a partnership between the farmer or other land manager, the relevant health care, social care, employment, probation or education agency and the participant.