Care farming case studies

We have developed a number of case studies to help people find out more about care farming - including those interested in starting a care farm or working on a care farm, care farmers, referral agencies, commissioners and potential commissioners in health, social care and specialist education, potential care farming service users and their families.

Our case studies highlight a number of aspects about care farm setup and development, the activities that take place on each farm and the associated challenges and achievements that care farms have experienced.You will also find case studies that look at care farming from a service user’s perspective, demonstrating the immense value that care farming can have for individual beneficiaries and service users.

Please note that services featured in our case studies may have been disrupted due to Covid-19. Case studies reflect care farming practice before the pandemic. 

Care farm case studies

Case studies giving a snapshot into what a care farm is like.

Beetle Bank Social Farm in York provides care for individuals living with dementia; Justin discusses how Beetle Bank has reached the position it is in today, and the challenges and achievements they’ve seen since setup.  

Densholme Care Farm in East Yorkshire has been running for over a decade, providing care mostly for adults with physical or learning difficulties and young people in Alternative Provision. Service users can take part and gain skills in animal husbandry, horticulture and orchard management, fencing and tree planting and even pond digging and maintenance.  

FarmAbility  in Oxford not only provides social farming services for adults with a learning disability but also provides placements for Occupational Therapy students from Oxford Brookes University. 

Hall Farm Eastoft CIC in North Lincolnshire, provides opportunities for young people and adults with specific needs to engage in activities on the farm, as well as organising promotional and educational events for the community to learn more about farming. 

Potsford Farm, Suffolk  is a perfect example of how a partnership between mental health professionals and farmers/landowners can lead to the set up of a care farm. This case study highlights the work, challenges and achievements of Potsford Farm 

Scrubditch Care Farm  in Gloucestershire, caters to a wide range of both adult and young service users with a defined need. Among these service users are children with additional needs in mainstream education, for whom coming to the farm forms part of their education. 

Windmill Hill City Farm , based in the centre of Bristol, delivers health and social care activities on the farm - focussed on three key principles: improving people’s wellbeing, being there for the people of Bristol, and addressing disadvantage across the city. 


Lived experience case studies

Learn how care farming has helped people in their own words. 

Pathways Care Farm  Read about life at Pathways Care Farm in Lowestoft, Suffolk, from the unique perspective of Angie; a service user turned volunteer. Angie discusses how Pathways have helped her along on her road to recovery and provides advice for individuals going through similar difficulties. 

Wellies On This case study looks into how Wellies On has helped Verity, a care farm volunteer, to recover from a time of mental ill-health and realise her full potential. Verity explains how care farming has helped and provides advice to others who may be in a similar situation.  


Commissioner case studies

Find out more about partnerships between care farms and their commissioning agencies. Read about how they started and how referrals work, plus challenges and achievements from the perspective of commissioners and the care farmers they work with.

Dementia Support - Social worker Mary Thompson and Justin Mazzotta of Beetle Bank Social Farm in North Yorkshire are working together to help people living with a range of complex mental and physical health needs like dementia. 

Occupational Therapy - Occupational therapist Hannah Harrison is part of a stong link between local NHS City Healthcare Partnership and Densholme Community Care Farm in East Yorkshire.


Green care Quality Mark / Code of Practice case studies

The Green Care Quality Mark (which used to be called the care farming Code of Practice) provides support for care farmers and green care practitioners. It is a minimum standard and a clear set of guidelines intended to meet the requirements of commissioners, referral agencies and service users.

The Quality Mark is managed by Social Farms & Gardens and is a site-specific, self-assessment application, regularly updated to reflect any changes in commissioning, legislation and good practice. We encourage all those providing care farming and green care services to adopt the Quality Mark. The Quality Mark operates on a rolling  cycle, with an annual 'Compliance' to maintain QM status.

Using the care farming code - Starting a care farm is both rewarding and challenging. Jo Dudek from Fields and Farms found the support she needed in the Code of Practice - equally relevant to the Quality Mark.  


Education case studies

Young people go to care farms on a regular basis as part of specialist education programmes. The farm environment can provide a calming and supportive place for young people. This can be to improve health and wellbeing, to gain qualifications and skills or as rehabilitation into mainstream education.

Referrals can be part of SEND, part of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or as Alternative Education Provision.

Social Farms & Gardens worked with LEAF Education to make care farming more accessible for teachers and education referrers. Social Farms & Gardens produced case studies about care farming for education for the Countryside Classroom website. Countryside Classroom is a free online hub of teaching resources, people to ask, and places to visit designed to enable teachers to use food, farming and the natural environment in and out of the classroom.

Education at Densholme - Densholme Farm in East Yorkshire is a working organic farm with a difference, using the natural environment to enrich the lives of young people. Volunteer Director Dr Rachael Fell-Chambers is a Senior Lecturer in Education and qualified youth worker, combining expertise in both education and care farming.

Education at Future Roots - Future Roots in Dorset helps young people who have found the traditional classroom environment challenging. The farm has strong links with local schools and works with young people aged from 8-18. 

Education at Longlands - At Longlands in Herefordshire, young people can immerse themselves in life on a 450-acre livestock farm. It's an experience that can help young people reconnect with education and the wider world.The team also provide specialist mental health support. 

Education at Lambourne End - Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning specialises in re-engaging young people with learning. The Essex centre develops skills that can help young people in the classroom and beyond.


Developing dementia services case studies

Research shows that regularly spending time in nature can slow progression of dementia. It can also improve sleep, concentration, appetite and communication skills.

There are very few opportunities for people living with the disease to join outdoor activities compared to joining indoor activities and support groups. This means that people living with dementia and family carers are much less able to gain the health and well-being benefits from time spent outdoors. 

These case studies have been produced by Dementia Adventure and Social Farms & Gardens to highlight the development of care farming services for people living with dementia. Social Farms & Gardens invited care farms to apply for a dementia training initiative called 'Dementia Adventure in a box', funded by the Community Lottery Fund. Eight different farms were selected, varying in size, location and situation. The case studies feature different funding and support approaches.

Dementia support at Pathways - After running a successful dementia support service for two years, dementia training gave Pathways confidence to build on the work they were already doing.

Dementia support at Scrubditch - Scrubditch care farm developed a free service so that people living with dementia, their families and carers can benefit from the outdoors. 

Dementia support at Mount Lodge Farm - Mount Lodge offered its first service to a person living with dementia and their family carer in 2019. 

Care farming and green care resources

Browse our library of information for those new to the sector as well as established providers. 

Care farming and green care training

Find care farming and green care training to get you started or develop your services.

Green care Quality Assurance

Show quality service provision by working towards our Green Care Quality Mark.