Research & Publications

Below are a number of research reports, papers and other publications that you might find useful - if you think we have missed anything then do let us know! If you are a member you can find more resources here if you are not a member then you can join us here!

Please note that unfortunately due to limited staff resources we are  unable to help with generalist research queries or to assist in developing research questions for dissertations, PhDs and other student projects. However if you have a specific query or have been unable to find the answer in the resources below then feel free to get in touch.

Care farms as a space of wellbeing for people with a learning disability in the United Kingdom  - November 2017

A qualitative peice of research from The University of Liverpool published in the journal Health and Place

Investigation ito the role that care farming can play in Salford - September 2017

An interesting new report from the University of Salford that looks into the role that care farming can play in the Salford area and provides direction for future work in this area

The role UK agriculture can play in delivering social care - July 2017

This report by Robin Asquith and sponsored by Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust on behalf of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust examines whether social prescribing is an opportunity for growth of UK care farms and looks at the experiences of a number of other European countries in this context.

The health impacts of nature volunteering - October 2017

The Wildlife Trusts have been working with the University of Essex for the last three years looking at the way that people’s lives are enhanced through contact with nature. The third and final report –The health and wellbeing impacts of volunteering with The Wildlife Trusts - published in October 2017 found that the mental wellbeing of participants improved to a statistically significant effect, over the 12-week period.

The three reports are useful resources for the nature health and wellbeing sector and are particularly relevant for those who carry out nature conservation activities on their care farms.

Care Farming in the UK and Ireland - Annual Survey 2016-7

This report  and overview (launch date 15th June 2017) are the results of the second annual survey compiled by Care Farming UK , which collates evidence on many aspects of care farming - such as the number of farms, types of clients currently using care farms, services offered, organisational governance, charges and economic contribution of the sector.This annual analysis of the care farming sector in the UK and Ireland is vital in order to make data on the scale of the care farming sector available to commissioners and policy makers alike. Care Farming UK has committed to compile an annual ‘care farming offer’ report, to publish this on its website, and communicate its availability as widely as possible to commissioners in health and social care, and for those in public health.

Transforming Mental Health & Dementia Provision with the Natural Environment –Hunt et al. May 2017

We are pleased to have worked with the Centre for sustainable Healthcare to publish the report from last year's conference, "Transforming Mental Health and Dementia Provision with the Natural Environment".

This report captures the headline findings and recommendations which emerged from the day, and is published as both a full report and executive summary. The full slides from all the day's presentations are also still available online.The report makes four key recommendations to the green space and health sector: i) Develop a more consistent approach to delivering and promoting natural environment interventions; ii) Know who to influence and how; iii) Promote the Nature, Health and Wellbeing Sector’s role in maintaining the sustainability of natural environments; and iv) Promote the Nature, Health and Wellbeing Sector’s role in advancing mental health literacy

Good practice in social prescribing for mental health: the role of nature-based interventions - Bragg and Leck - January 2017

This report from Care Farming UK and Mind published by Natural England sets out the benefits of green prescriptions for mental health, wellbeing and the NHS budget.

Social prescribing is the mechanism which provides GPs with non-medical referral options, such as nature-based interventions alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing - potentially at much less cost to the NHS. The prescription of nature-based interventions is often called a ‘green prescription’.

"Thinking Differently About Dementia" & "Risky Business" Blended Learning Pilot - January 2017

 A report on a Natural England funded pilot study run by Care Farming UK and Dementia Adventure which offered face-to-face and online learning opportunites designed to increase the level of engagement between care farms and people living with dementia.

Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools – Lessons from the Natural Connections Demonstration Project - 2016 

The guide provides practical tips and case studies to support teachers, schools and their networks when developing their plans for outdoor learning - we think this may be useful for care farms who also deliver one-off school visits in addition to their green care services.

Care Farming UK Pilot Study: Increasing the uptake of the care farming Code of Practice - 2016

This report (July 2016) is a write up of a Natural England supported piece of follow-up work to enable Care Farming UK to explore options to increase the uptake of the care farming Code of Practice by care farmers in the UK. Three types of l resources aimed at care farmers were piloted, with the aim to increase the number of care farmers signed up to the Code of Practice – i) a face-to-face workshop; ii) a webinar; and iii) one-to-one mentoring sessions. The effectiveness, cost and perceived usefulness (from a care farmer point of view) for each approach were then assessed, in order to inform the way forward for Care Farming UK in setting up future resources for care farmers and the Code. 

Green Exercise: Linking nature, health and wellbeing - 2016

This new book, (July 2016) provides a balanced overview and synthesis text on all aspects of Green Exercise and is edited by, Dr Jo Barton, Care Farming UK's Dr Rachel Bragg, Dr Carly Wood and Prof. Jules Pretty. It describes the impact of Green Exercise on human health and well-being through all stages of the lifecourse and covers a wide spectrum from cellular processes such as immune function through to facilitating human behavioural change. It demonstrates the value of Green Exercise for activity and education purposes in both schools and the workplace, as well as its therapeutic properties. Green Care is an effective intervention for vulnerable groups and promoting healthy ageing, with activities including care farming, wilderness therapy, therapeutic horticulture and the use of forests and water.

Care Farming in the UK and Ireland - State of Play 2015

This report  (launched April 2016) is the first annual 'State of Play' report compiled by Care Farming UK, which collates evidence on many aspects of care farming - such as the number of farms, types of clients currently using care farms, the length of programmes, frequency and duration of visits, charges and economic contribution of the sector.

This annual analysis of the care farming sector in the UK and Ireland is vital in order to make data on the scale of the care farming sector available to commissioners and policy makers alike. Care Farming UK has committed to compile an annual ‘care farming offer’ report, to publish this on its website, and communicate its availability as widely as possible to commissioners in health and social care, and for those in public health.

A review of nature-based interventions for mental health care - 2016

The new report (February 2016) from the University of Essex and Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity and commissioned by Natural England suggests making greater use of ‘green care’ interventions (including care farming, social and therapeutic horticulture and environmental conservation programmes) to help people suffering from mental ill-health. 

Green Fingers, Clear Minds - 2016

Summary Report  of the Green Fingers Clear Minds Workshop, held on 10 December 2015 at Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.

Included are findings from discussions on the day and Care Farming UK responses to proposed suggestions.

Also this led to a publication in the British Journal of General Practice  called: Green fingers and clear minds: Prescribing 'care farming' for mental illness 

Expanding delivery of care farming services to health and social care commissioners - 2015

Report (August 2015) commissioned by Natural England’s Outdoors for All Programme in partnership with Care Farming UK and the University of Essex, sets out the benefits of care farming and offers recommendations for expanding the services for health and social care commissioners.

Elders’ Care and Animals:Developing a Sustainable Model for Change

Research by Ione Maria Rojas on What role do animals play in improving quality of life for humans? How could this benefit elders in residential care in the UK?

Care farming: Defining the 'offer' in England - 2014

Natural England supported a significant piece of research in spring 2014 which resulted in this report that sets out the care farming 'offer' in Enland, including demonstrating the wide variety of clients being supported and that there is approximately 24% under-used capacity capable of increasing provision to some 11,000 clients per week.

ISBN 978-1-78354-127-0

The Effects of Care Farms - 2012

Scientific research document exploring the benefits of care farms for clients.

Dissertation on Care Farming - 2011

Dissertation by Simon Robert King on which three areas do care farm clients on a range of care farms find the most beneficial part of their experience - the social aspect, working in a farm environment or carrying out manual tasks with tangible outcomes?

Green Care: A Conceptual Framework; A report of the Working Group on the Health Benefits of Green Care - 2010

ISBN: 978-1-907382-23-9

‘Green Care’ is a range of activities that promotes physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature. It utilises farms, gardens and other outdoor spaces as a therapeutic intervention for vulnerable adults and children. Green care includes care farming, therapeutic horticulture, animal assisted therapy and other nature-based approaches.

Support for Care Farming: A review & look forward - 2010
A joint report by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and Care Farming UK

Social Farming: An Opportunity for Northern Ireland - 2010
A study to examine the current scope and future opportunities for social/care farming in Northern Ireland

Care Farming & Individual Care Budgets - 2010
Summary and report from an event with took place on Care Farming and Individual Budgets at Heeley City Farm in Sheffield on 9th February, 2010.

Supporting policies for Social Farming in Europe: Progressing Multifunctionality in Responsive Rural Areas - 2009

ISBN: 978-88-8295-107-8

The SoFar Project and this publication offer innovative insights into the formulation and implementation of EU rural development policies regarding multifunctional agriculture and social farming.

Farming & Care Across Europe - A Nuffield Scholarship Report - 2009
A study undertaken by Debbie Wilcox, Care Farming UK Network Coordinator, looking at the development of care farming and the issues facing care farmers across a number of European countries. Report date April 2009. You can download the whole report from the link below.

International Journal of Therapeutic Communities ('Green Care' Edition) - 2008

A special green care edition published in autumn 2008 which contains a series of papers which draw parallels between green care communities and therpeutic communities.  The green care movement is an attempt to organise and promote research and practice around these communities and activities.  It is not a formal "movement" or a single organisation but a number of different national and international initiatives and networks that cooperate with one another.

Care Farming in the UK :  Evidence and Opportunities - Research Study - 2008

Rachel Hine, Jo Peacock and Jules Pretty, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester. A care farming research study was conducted by the Department of Biological Sciences and Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex, which looked at the scope of care farming in the UK, the value of care farming and the role of Care Farming UK. You can download the whole report or a summary using the links below:

Report on 1st Meeting of the European Platform on Social/Care Farming - 2007
A report from October 2007 on the SoFar Project.  This is a collaboration between seven European countries with the aim of clarifying the concepts and practices of social/care farming and to promote specific EU policies to support the use of agriculture in care and social inclusion practices.

Care Farming in the Netherlands - 2007

A report published in 2007 on the status and potential of care farms in the Netherlands. At the time of publication care farming was the fastest growing sector of multifunction agriculture in the Netherlands.


Code of Practice

The SF&G Code of Practice for care farming services provides quality assurance for clients, commissioners and families alike. We encourage all care farmers to adopt the care farming Code of Practice. For more information click here

Care Farm of the Month

Hall Farm, Eastoft in Lincolnshire works with adults & children of varying abilities

More info here