Future Roots is based on the ethos of ‘Green Care’, or the therapeutic use of farming practices. Care farms provide health, social or educational care services for a wide range of people. Participants attend farm sessions on a regular basis and the service is often commissioned by referring agencies such as schools, social services, volunteering organisations, residential homes. But can be direct self referrals.
Care farming is a partnership between farmers, care providers and their participants. This partnership has the potential to offer a solution to some of the UK’s health and social care needs, improve mental health, reduce obesity & other physical health problems, improving family relationships. opportunity to learn life skills & develop resilience.
Care Farming UK
If you would like to know more about care farming, information is available on the website of Care Farming UK, which is the national network of care farm providers. You can also watch their short video below:
In 2014 Care Farming UK contributed to a Natural England report on the development of care farms in the country (there are now 230 of us!). You can read the full report below:
More detailed academic studies on care farming can be found at Green Exercise, a research project of the University of Essex.
Care Farming in Europe
Care farming has attracted growing interest across the continent. Between 2006 and 2010, COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action 866 sought to increase the scientific knowledge on the best practices for implementing green care in agriculture. Their final conceptual framework can be read below:
Meanwhile, in 2010 the European Network for Rural Development produced an overview of what they called ‘social farming’ across Europe. Future Roots was chosen as one of two UK case studies to illustrate the growth of the movement in this county. You can read the full report below (we’re on page 26):
More recently, Future Roots was included as a case study in a European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development publication about social inclusion (we’re on page 22):