Care farms are part of a growing 'ecotherapy' movement that utilizes use therapeutic farming practices. Care farms provide health, social or educational care services for one or a range of vulnerable groups of people and provide a supervised, structured program of farming-related activities.
Vulnerable groups include:
Children and Youth in Search
Children with Complex Health Care
Adults and Children with Different-Abilities
Adults and Children with Mental Health Challenges
Seniors and Elderly Living with Dementia
Nourishing Hearts Wellness Care Farm
Nourishing Hearts is a place where people of all ages and abilities come together to reconnect to the earth, animals, nature and themselves. Plants and animals live in harmony with nature. All our farmed animals are rescues who have been socialized as therapy animals and will get to live natural lives and to express their natural behaviors.
Care farms are very popular in Europe. There are literally thousands of them in Western Europe, but there are very few in Canada and as far as we know, we are one of the first in Southwestern Ontario. We welcome people to come and heal by participating in farm activities in whatever way they can. The very act of participating, being included, being in nature, and having a meaningful task to accomplish can be incredibly healing. We want to offer this to children, youth, seniors, and people of all ages recovering from physical illness, mental health concerns and many other challenges.
Potential therapeutic benefits of participation in Care Farms include:
Written By:Eilon Caspi Ph.D. (Adapted)
1. Being outdoors and maintaining connections with nature
2. Working on a Care Farms offers many opportunities for naturally occurring physical activities
3. Multi-sensory Stimulation is provided through the inherent characteristics of farms and the wide variety of activities offered. Enabling people to use all their senses. Being in nature offers frequent spontaneous (“organic”) opportunities for using these senses.
4. Doing the different chores on the Care Farm can give people the feeling that they are needed, useful, and contributing members of society.
5. Plenty of opportunities for learning and personal and occupational growth. Enhanced learning through:
The broad and diverse range of activities and chores done on a Care Farms can promote choice, personalization, stronger sense of autonomy and identity, and varied opportunities for learning and growth when adapted to the person’s current preferences and cognitive abilities and disabilities.
6. Working closely together with the farmer/therapist and peers may provide natural opportunities for socialization and friendships (with the farmer/therapist and with peers).
7. The unique, personal, and humane approach of the care farmer/therapist toward people with disabilities is considered a big part of the success of Care Farms.
To be successful in building these relationships, the farmer/therapist has high-quality training in areas such as:
8. When planned and delivered well, engagement of people with disabilities in the different activities and chores on Care Farms could help reduce various forms of behavioral expressions and promote positive emotional states.
It could lead to reduction in feelings of anxiety and “aggressive” behaviors and use of psychotropic medications (which are mostly ineffective, have many adverse and risky side effects, and are expensive)
9. Care Farms offer natural opportunities to meet the spiritual needs of people with disabilities (such as through simply being, regular connections with nature, caring for animals, working in the fields, and growing and harvesting vegetables and fruits).
While the spiritual needs of people with disabilities are critical, this integral aspect of their psychological well-being is often overlooked
10. The combination of strength-based and empowerment-oriented approach along with the “normal life” characteristics.
The informal non-medical atmosphere of Care Farms are dedicated to people with disabilities to assist in reducing the widely-held and harmful stigma experienced by many people living with the disease
11. Respite for Family Care Partners
Wellness Care Farm
Come and Participate. Learn New Skills.
Relax and Belong. Experience a Nourished Heart!