In recent years, the concept of care farming has become extremely popular. It employs farming practices for therapeutic uses. It allows people who need to recover from physical and mental problems to stay and work on a farm. Care farming is highly beneficial for individuals who need to recuperate, as a sense of mutual healing takes place when they are working with people, animals, plants, and the earth.
Farmers may utilize the entire or part of their farms for these activities. Here they provide structured programs for farming and allied activities, along with supervised care. They not only provide social care services, but also undertake educational programs. A care farmer, or a farm therapist, also takes their daily group sessions.
Under this program, vulnerable people are provided an opportunity to participate in the day-to-day working of the farm. They can undertake activities like crop and vegetable plantation, watering crops, woodland management, feeding the animals, etc. This largely helps individuals work on their physical and mental health.
The care farming concept has stemmed from the need for self-sufficiency among social outcasts. It also caters to the problem of lack of proper professional care facilities in rural areas. Also, due to the rise of agricultural malfunctionality, concepts like care farming are helping farmers by providing them additional income to support their families.
Technoscientific, political, and economic methods are employed in industrial farming. It includes industrialized production of livestock, poultry, fish, and crops. Very few care farmers work in this domain.
Organic farming needs manual labor and accords direct contact with plants, crops, and farm animals which is therapeutic in nature. Hence, there are a lot of organic farmers which offer care-giving services on their farms.
These care farms provide a home for sick, abandoned, and abused animals.
Benefits for People
◈ Through farming activities, farmers help to provide physical and mental well-being of the people.
◈ People who suffer from depression, learning disabilities, obesity, work induced stress, etc., can find solace and healing at such farms.
◈ It is also an advisable therapeutic experience for psychiatric patients, people recovering from drug abuse, disaffected youth, and elderly people.
◈ It also helps individuals overcome nature deficit disorder.
Farmer farming in farm
◈ Implementing their time in fulfilling and productive work makes them happy.
◈ They get time to think positively about their emotional and physical problems.
◈ As this is a new and engaging way of life for them, people tend to de-stress at care farms.
◈ The supportive atmosphere on the farm helps expedite their recovery.
◈ They get much-needed time to think, and this helps them express themselves in a better way.
◈ It isolates people from their problems.
Benefits for Farmers
◈ Having guests on the farm help farmers mitigate the issues related to rural isolation.
◈ Farmers get a deep sense of satisfaction by helping others.
◈ A high amount of respect and value is attributed to the knowledge and skills of farmers.
◈ It helps farmers get new sources of income.
◈ It also helps them to have a reinforced relation with society and their end customers directly.
◈ The experience of care-giving is a gratifying one, not only physically, but also emotionally.
Benefits for Farming Businesses
Care farming business
◈ It helps in increasing the number of services offered by the farm.
◈ Care farming helps the farming community to achieve social, economical, and environmental sustainability.
◈ It helps in establishing and developing the viability of farms.
◈ It helps in supporting and enhancing the farming business.
◈ Farming activities help cater to the social and medical needs of various individuals.
◈ It acts as a catalyst to encourage development of farming communities.
◈ It has helped in drawing crowds to farms, which have lost their importance due to urbanization.
Care farming is very popular in the United Kingdom. Many people learn to shoulder their responsibilities in a better way after undergoing one of these programs. They also feel the need to give back to nature and contribute to their community. Working on the farm helps individuals speed up their recovery and spend their time productively. This farm-based therapeutic intervention helps them harvest the benefits of rural farm life and also provides them an emotionally cathartic experience.