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Why Farming?


Recent studies* have confirmed that outside work in a farm environment:

  • improves social inclusion

  • improves mental health, especially depression and anxiety

  • promotes physical health, skill development, coordination, motor function and time management

  • promotes empathy, responsibility and self-worth

In addition there is growing evidence that exposure to nature improves cognitive function as well as mood. (4)

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Key factors guiding Longlands practice

Carl Rogers’s three core conditions – Congruence, Empathy and Unconditional Positive Regard – are the foundation of all our work with young people.

At Longlands we promote:

  • A non-judgmental, supportive and positive culture

  • Caring for and interacting with animals

  • Purposeful tasks – real work – encouraging motivation

  • Trusting young people and giving them responsibility

  • Small group and one to one working allowing therapeutic conversations while engaged on a task

  • 1 or 2 days/week acting as a ‘reset’ for the rest of the student’s week


"It's only when I'm outdoors that my mind holds still"

*  Selected extracts from published research:

1)    “Results from the Rosenberg Self-esteem tests showed  … 64% of participants experiencing an improvement in their self-esteem.”

“The Profile of Mood States results indicated that there were statistically significant improvements in all 6 mood factors.”

“The findings clearly show that spending time participating in care farm activities is effective in enhancing mood and improving self-esteem. Working on a care farm can … reduce feelings of anger, confusion, depression, tension and fatigue,  whilst also enabling participants to feel more active and energetic.”

 “… a highly statistically significant decrease in participants’ anger scores between before and after spending time on the farm ... and 94% people experienced a reduction in feelings of anger after their time on a care farm.”

Rachel Hine et al, Report for the National Care Farming Initiative (UK) January 2008, University of Essex, Colchester  (Executive Summary & p71)


2)   “The main research findings evidenced in this paper can be summarised as below:

  • Care farms provide a nurturing and enabling learning environment for young people to self-discover and be free from the humiliation and frustration experienced, by some, in the traditional schooling system.

  • Animals on a care farm are an effective channel through which young people can express themselves in a safe and calming manner.

  • The informal relational discourse evidenced through interactions with the staff, young people and other participants, synergises with the nature-based pedagogy and learning contexts on a care farm, providing a catalyst for young people to learn practically, socially and introspectively.”

 Rachael Fell-Chambers, e-journal of the British Education Studies Association, Vol. 13 (2) December 2022  ISSN: 1758-2199 140   (Conclusion) 


3)   “After visiting … young people show statistically significant and meaningful positive shifts in their behaviour, engagement, self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

  • 90% of visiting staff saw an increase in young people’s ability to control their behaviour during the visit

  • 64% of those at risk of exclusion before visiting were no longer at risk 6 months on

  • 50% of those not on track in core subjects were now on track 6 months after visiting”

Jamie’s Farm,


4)   “Participants that walked in nature reported their walk to be more restorative than those that walked in the urban environment. Furthermore, the nature group showed an enhanced error-related negativity after their walk, an event-related brain component that indexes executive control capacity, whereas the urban group did not. These findings demonstrate that a 40-min nature walk enhances executive control at a neural level, providing a potential neural mechanism for attention restoration in nature.”

Amy S McDonnell  & David L Strayer, Immersion in nature enhances neural indices of executive attention Sci Rep  2024 Jan 22;14(1):1845.  


Other Sources:

Times Educational Supplement Dec 31 2021

Social Farms & Gardens:

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