Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below and you will be taken to the answer further down the page. Alternatively browse through the list and find out everything you need to know about care farming in the UK. Please note that this page has not been updated recently- it's on our 'to do' list! - if you would like pre up to date information about anything specific then do get in touch and we will try to help.
1. What is Care Farming?
Care farming is a growing movement in the UK and there is currently no one standard model or programme. The farms work with a wide range of clients in a variety of ways. Individuals and groups worked with include young people with autism, young offenders, those recovering from addictions and people with mental health problems, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
The farms provide anything from therapeutic learning environments to qualifications that can lead on to employment. For more general information about care farming and who it can help visit our Care Farming Explained page.
Every year we carry out an annual survey of the care farming sector - in it you will find all sorts of useful information see here for the latest version
2. How do I find out where my nearest Care Farm is?
Care Farming UK has been developing a database to map care farms in UK. This isn’t an easy job as often farms doing this sort of work may not consider themselves as care farms or may be quietly getting on with doing wonderful work without thinking about publicity. If you have found our site you’ll probably realise that finding one near to you isn’t as simple as typing in 'care farm' into a search engine on the internet and finding a list!
We’re rectifying that by encouraging as many farms and farm-based projects round the UK to become members of Care Farming UK to make it easier for people to find them, but also so that they enjoy other membership benefits, which will include greater recognition by government and statutory bodies and, potentially, funders. Through strength in numbers and a shared community we hope that some of the issues care farms have to deal with on a day-to-day basis may be recognised by the powers that be and, in the longer term, resolved.
To find out if there are any care farms that we know about that are close to you, please use our searchable list of care farms
If you want to join us, then please go to the membership and Code access page.
3. Is my farm a Care Farm?
Perhaps that’s a question you should be asking yourself rather than us, now you’ve read all about care farming on the website! See here for a definition of care farming activities. We have a very broad appreciation of all the great work that is being done out in the countryside and are keen to see it made as widely known as possible to ultimately support vulnerable people to benefit from time spent on farms and with farmers.
If pushed, we would suggest that care farms in the truest sense are those where some sort of intervention is taking place on a production farm, regardless of farm size or type of intervention.
This means that the therapeutic method (e.g. Animal Assisted Therapy, counselling, alternative education, drug rehabilitation) is not what defines a care farm, nor is simply the fact that it is a green space. It is the combination of the intervention and the working farm environment that is important.
4. How Many Registered Care Farms are there in the UK?
There are no 'registered' care farms in the UK as there is no system of registration here. In fact, there’s no system of registration in the rest of Europe either, although there is a quality assurance scheme in Holland that care farms are encouraged to sign up to. We believe there are now several hundred sites that can be classified as care farms in the UK.
A number of care farms have uploaded their details to this website, and you can locate our members using the Map page. But there are others who don’t know about us, or who haven’t yet uploaded their details. If this is you, or if you know of care farm close to you that could appear on our directory please encourage them to sign up via the Membership and Code access page.
5. Can I visit a Care Farm?
Care farms are fascinating and inspiring places and it is understandable after hearing all about them that you’re keen to go and see how it all works in practice, particularly if you’re interested in setting up a care farm yourself. In the first instance, it’s worth checking our Events Calendar page to see if any of them are having open days. There’s normally a fee for these as they are usually nearly all-day and include lunch and a lot of valuable information relating to how the care farm operates. Please also read any of the case studies which are available on the Case Studies page of this website, as they provide valuable background and save repetitive questions.
If there are no local dates that are convenient for you, you’ve looked at our website and read all the background and case studies that you can and still have burning questions, it may be worth sending an email to the farm you are interested in and seeing if the farmer could spare you a little time. Most people are justifiably very proud of their care farms and are keen to share their experiences with others, but be prepared for them to be too busy, or need to charge you for their time.
Please do remember though, that these farms are often also homes and businesses to the farmers as well as important and sometimes private places where vulnerable people are spending time. One of the less desirable effects for many of the farmers of raising the profile of their work has been people just turning up on the doorstep expecting to be seen and shown round while they are working with individuals or groups. Please be sensitive and DO NOT arrive unannounced. There may be animals there, but care farms are not zoos so please be respectful and adhere to good bio security.
Some Care Farms, with the assistance of Care Farming UK, have run open days which allow people to visit and see the farm in action. Keep an eye out on this website for news of open days near you.
6. I am thinking of setting up a care farm. What advice can you give to farmers or people working in education/care/social work who may want to do this?
This is a complex issue and so we have devoted a separate page of the website to this. Please click the Setting Up A Care Farm link which will take you to a page with advice for existing farmers and for professionals from the education, care and social work sectors. There is also a section on what funding is available for people wishing to enter care farming. However the best advice is to join us as a 'Prospective care farm' member, which will entitle you to receive valuable information through our development coordinators, our member newsletters and other online member resources. many prospective care farmers are now using our care farming Code of practice as a template to ensure that they have everything in place before they open their gates for business - if this is something that interests you then please get in touch or see here for more information
7. I or one of my family members would benefit from spending time on a care farm. What should I do?
Unfortunately we are not a brokerage service and so the best thing to do is contact a care farm direct. You can find out if there is anywhere local to you by visiting our Find Care Farms searchable list or contact your health/education/social care worker who might enquire on your behalf.
8. I work for a statutory/voluntary organisation and have a client who I’d love to refer to a care farm. How do I do this?
The best thing to do is contact a care farm direct. You can find out if there is anywhere local to you via our Find Care Farms searchable list and map page.
9. How does the funding for people attending care farms work? Who pays?
In the vast majority of cases the care farms will have a relationship with several commissioning organisations such as social services, a college or school, the local education authority, police and/or probation or a primary care trust/mental health organisation etc. The farm will have developed this relationship themselves over the course of time, but it is not always easy and can be very dependent on finding someone within a potential commissioning organisation who has the vision to work with the farm in developing a service. There is more information in the annual survey of care farms available in our 'resources' section and link in answer 1 above.
Increasingly personalised budgets are available for the budget holder (or their carer) to make decisions on what services to spend the funds on. If you would like to find out more about personalised budgets take a look at In Control’s website.
10. How can I find out about job opportunities/volunteering on a care farm?
Care Farming UK has a facility available to its members to advertise job opportunities or place volunteers. You can find out about currently available jobs by visiting the Jobs Page.
11. How can I support the development of care farming in the UK?
- Become a member of Care Farming UK and receive newsletters and other information for you to help promote care farming.
- If you are willing to offer free time then contact an existing care farm near you and discuss what possibilities there might be for involvement
- Students and researchers could chose to produce new information and evidence, or help a local care farm produce evidence that might be useful to their specific circumstances
- Pass on information (or write articles yourself) to journalists, other people who may be interested in care farming, and help to raise the profile and understanding
- If you – or friends/colleagues – wish to help with a donation then please send a cheque and help Care Farming UK deliver services. More details are on our Donations page
12. We are setting up a care farm and are struggling with funding/health and safety/insurance/client referrals/other practical problems. Can you help?
Care Farming UK has developed the care farming Code of Practice which covers all of these sorts of issues - do get in touch if it is something that interest you.
We are also always developing information and advice resources as our capacity increases.
You may not find everything you want in the short-term. You may be able to buy in some specific advice from established care farmers.
13. I’m a researcher. Can you direct me to the evidence base for care farming/animal assisted therapy/social and therapeutic horticulture?
Visit our Resources Pages. Most published research into care farming is available here. For further information on social and therapeutic horticulture try the Thrive website. For information on Animal Assisted Therapy try the Society for Companion Animal Studies website.
Alternatively join the European Farming for Health Community of Practice which has a large mailing list including many academics and researchers. The SoFar research project has also been running since 2006. “So Far” is a multi-country specific support action, funded by the EU Commission. It’s main goal is to support the building of a new institutional environment for “social/care farming”.
14. Can you tell me about care farms that exist in other countries?
For European information the best place to visit is the Farming for Health website which has video links and other information about green care farms all across Europe. Alternatively take a look at the website for COST Action 866 in Green Care and Agriculture. At present we do not have any direct links with countries outside Europe engaging in this kind of work, but within Europe there are some websites (see below, not all English language) that will tell you about what is happening in certain countries or areas:
15. Can we advertise for care farm places/foster carers/care farm clients with you?
We regret that this is something that we are not able to do at present.
17. Is there any more information available and could you post it to me?
All of the information that we have is available on our website, which will be constantly updated so do keep an eye on it. You can get extra information by becoming a member of Care Farming UK. As a lean, green and very small team, we don’t have the resources to send hard copies out by post apart from in exceptional circumstances.
19. Where can I get more information about my local region or country if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
When you use the interactive map on our Find Care Farms Map page, click on the region or country you want and you will be taken to a separate site, where you will be able to find any local information, details of events as well as Care Farms which have registered with us.