Care-farms are increasingly utilized as a means of providing care, support, and therapy for a wide range of different populations, enabling people to cultivate social, physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This study explores the impacts of a care-farm intervention for traumatically bereaved individuals, a population at high-risk of poor physical and psychological outcomes. The study examines how a care-farming model can enable and encourage participants to cultivate healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Following their participation in a care-farming intervention, bereaved parents, siblings, and spouses described significant pivots toward healthier eating, improved sleep outcomes, and increased physical activity. Our results indicate that care-farming may have potential to influence positive changes to health and health behaviors that last beyond the intervention period.
The interrelationships between nature, health, and wellbeing are increasingly recognized and incorporated into therapeutic interventions. Care farming, the concept of utilizing agricultural places and practices for providing care, therapy, and rehabilitation, is a paradigmatic example of this shift. This mixed method study empirically evaluates the efficacy of care farming as an intervention for individuals affected by traumatic grief, a complex experiential condition. Both quantitative and qualitative results suggest this care farm intervention was beneficial, yielding significant reductions in subjective distress to grief intensity. The study’s findings add to the growing body of evidence on care farming and support green care as a therapeutic potential for individuals affected by traumatic grief.
Traumatic grief is a complex biopsychosocial experience, frequently (and contentiously) medicalized in the Western world. Care farming is an increasingly popular place-based intervention utilizing agricultural settings to care for vulnerable groups. We sought to establish the extent of care farming in relation to traumatic grief and query the potential of care farming as an intervention for this specific population. A systematic review highlights that whilst understudied, the success of care farming as an intervention for other populations experiencing psychological distress demonstrates the huge potential for care farming as a means to therapeutically engage with individuals experiencing traumatic grief.