Growing Care Farming- update


As you know, together with our partners at Thrive, GCF has developed 4 client-specific training courses around care farming for Mental health, Learning Disability and ASD, Young people with anxiety and depression and Alternative Provision on care farms. Our first three were successfully held last month, covering the specific benefits that care farming and green care can have for individuals within the particularar service user groups, as well as considering session set up and facilitation and ways to support individuals long-term. In January, the fourth of these courses on Alternative Provision will be launched! 

These courses are now available and use a blended learning format with written information, interactive resources, and live sessions with the Thrive trainers and a care farmer (with hands on experience providing services to the specific client group) on hand to assist. As with the other GCF training, all four of the client-specific courses will be repeated regularly throughout 2021 – more details can be found here.

Training support – Paid opportunity!

This is where you come in! – We’re looking for care farmers who are experienced with working with one (or more) of the groups in these client-specific courses, to sit in on the live sessions and support the trainers in answering questions and sharing experiences. For each course we would ideally like you to attend two one-hour sessions (via Zoom) and we would of course pay towards your time. Preference will be given to Code care farmers (but it’s not essential), so if you are interested, have any questions or if you would like to know more, please get in touch with Katie via email at: with your name, the care farm at which you work and the service user group/s you typically work with.

Resources & Networking

We highlighted last autumn that we have been working with a film company to produce some updated and uplifting films that really showcase the work that takes place on care farms. We’re really excited to share these with you and will be in touch at the end of January to highlight the first of these – ‘Care farming for mental health and wellbeing’. At the same time, we will share details of an online event we have planned to celebrate care farming and bring people together to discuss the effects of the last 12 months on our sector and impacts this will have going forward. Keep an eye on emails from us. 

In the meantime, take a look at a new case study on our website, where Jo Dudek talks about her experiences of setting up ‘Fields and Farms’ and how she has benefitted from our Code of Practice.

Economics of care farming

In order to make relevant research more accessible, we are pulling together studies that have looked at economic aspects of care farming (such as cost benefit analysis, SROI (Social Return on Investment), effects on the rural economy, offset clinical costs or savings to wider society) and wondered if there are any recent ones that we may have missed. If you have been part of recent studies in this area or have conducted analysis on your care farm or green care site, we’d really appreciate it you sharing them with us. Email any reports or findings to or contact us for more information.

Quality Assurance via the Code of Practice

The Code of Practice scheme is managed by a team which is made up of SF&G, retired and current care farmers as well as experts in the care farming industry. Have you ever wondered who is in this team and what their experience is? You can now read more about them here.

We have now created a certificate for organisations that have achieved the Code of Practice. This can be displayed at your site or shown to commissioners or included as evidence of quality service provision in funding bids. The certificates will be valid for a year – in line with the Code compliance process – and will automatically be sent to organisations who have been approved. For those who have already achieved the Code, you will be sent one at the time of your next successful compliance completion. If you need one creating before then, please email

Advocacy and promotion

This month sees the team continue to fly the flag for care farming and green care. Whilst our health, social care and education providers are busy coping with delivering services, helping those who are ill and rolling out a vaccination programme, we have still been promoting the role of care farming within agriculture. Another aspect we are keen to promote, is the role care farming will be able to play in helping people to recover from the mental health challenges that Covid-19 has brought. All of us have been affected to some degree and, with an increase in mental ill-health nationally, there will inevitably be increased demand for services. Care farming and other nature-based interventions can be part of the solution.

January’s GCF theme is focussed around mental health and wellbeing, so keep an eye on our webpages and social media for new resources and support.

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