Monday, 5 October 2009

Care Farming

I've lost a couple of friends to suicide and I see the drivers as 80% external, ie, they were in shitty situations in very unhealthy contexts, in one case medicated up to the eyeballs and if you or I were in either of their situations, I bet we'd do the same.

I'm not interested in cute neat shiney blended communities where the most privileged and progressive urban working elite sit happily under apple trees with their apple macs typing innovatively away or having creative meetings on skype. Ok, I am interested in that, but not that alone. I'm interested also in the very old, the very young, people with other kinds of work, and the vulnerable. I'm interested in integrated communities.

So I find the growth of Care Farms interesting (although they're not very integrated).

"What is Care Farming?
    • Combining care of the land with care of people, in a setting where they feel safe, respected and engaged in meaningful activity.
  • Using commercial farms, woodlands and market gardens as a base for promoting mental and physical health through normal farming activity.
  • A partnership between farmers, participants and health & social care agencies, that develops people's potential rather than focusing on their limitations.

Who benefits?
  • Participants: They often experience improvements to their physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being.
  • Farmers: A high value is placed on their knowledge and skills. They gain great satisfaction from helping people improve their lives through farming.
  • Rural communities and economies: Care helps rural communities become more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable."

Looks like there's quite a lot going on. Vauxhall City Farm and Spitalfields City Farm both have a care farm element going on there.

There's a bunch of research about its impact available here.

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