Scoping an idea to investigate social farms in England for people with dementia in collaboration with key stakeholders

Ruth Bartlett In progress  


People with dementia want to be accepted and included in the community and value opportunities to be outside and take positive risks. It is a matter of social citizenship in that people with dementia have a right to avail of opportunities for personal growth and solidarity. Research conducted in Norway and the Netherlands, suggests that social farms provide one such opportunity.

Social farms are open farms that provide a supported opportunity for people with dementia to be outdoors and to spend a meaningful day with others involved in the running of a farm. In Norway, social farms are used to supplement regular day-care for people with dementia who benefit from a more active service in a green space. There are hundreds of social farms in England, many of which are supported by the charity Social Farms & Gardens and serve people with dementia. However, the evidence base for this model of care is lacking, and its potential role in the context of England’s statutory care system is poorly understood.


The study will build on current international research on social farms and provide a unique opportunity for stakeholders from across the statutory and voluntary care sectors to learn about this care model. Significantly, the project will create an opportunity for people with dementia to participate in the research process as co-researchers, rather than participants. This will help to advance understanding of the optimal processes for co-production.