Farm visits with Let Nature Feed Your Senses

Farm visits are something we have enjoyed as a family on many occasions over the years so I was intrigued to get an email about Let Nature Feed Your Senses, an initiative which offers free and accessible farm visits for people with disabilities, those aged 65 and over and people from socially deprived areas.

The following information is from the factsheet they sent me.


LET NATURE FEED YOUR SENSES – Fact sheet

The initiative is a Big Lottery funded project run in partnership between LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and Sensory Trust.

ABOUT LET NATURE FEED YOUR SENSES
  • 75 farms and nature reserves around the country host Let Nature Feed Your Senses visits
  • Sites include arable, dairy, hill and lowland livestock farms
  • Many sites cater for wheelchair users
  • Each geographical region has between seven and 14 farms and nature reserves hosting visits
  • Visits are hands on and designed to help engage all five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Visitors have the opportunity to explore, discover and question
  • Visits are tailored to meet the needs of each group and the farmers are experienced in hosting farm visits for people from a range of backgrounds and social situations, from those with mental health challenges and learning difficulties, through to dementia patients and wheelchair users
  • Funding is available to contribute to transport costs for groups that take part in a Let Nature Feed Your Senses visit
COUNTRYSIDE ACCESS
  • Elderly, disabled and those from inner cities are three of the seven identified groups which are underrepresented in the countryside (1)
  • Less than 10 per cent of children in the UK regularly play in woodlands, countryside and parks (2)
  • Urban noise is reducing the health and quality of life of 25 per cent of the population of Europe (3)
  • 81 per cent of children said they would like to play outdoors more (2)
BENEFITS OF VISITING A FARM OR NATURE RESERVE
Studies show…
  • Connecting with nature can help boost self esteem (4)
  • People who report high contact with nature are more likely to report feeling positive and on top of the world (5)
  • Being in a natural environment can help reduce aggressive behaviour in Alzheimer’s patients (6)
  • The elderly value contact with nature very highly (7)
  • Contact with nature can help improve your ability to concentrate (8)
  • Being outdoors can help reduce aggression and agitation in dementia patients and improve sense of coherence (8)
  • Outdoor activities in a natural environment can help improve symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) (9)
  • Outdoor activities can also benefit carers, ‘locomotion in nature’ such as walking, running, biking and canoeing is reported as the single most powerful factor in avoiding stress related burn out amongst caregivers (10)
6 Whall AL, Black ME, Groh CJ, Yankou D, Kupferschmid BJ, and Foster NL (1999). The effect of natural environments upon agitation and aggression in late stage dementia patients. Journal of Health Safety, Compliance & Infection Control, 3(1), 31-35 Cited in Dr W Bird (2007) Natural Thinking: Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health,
RSPB
7 Talbot JF and Kaplan R (1991). The Benefits of nearby nature for elderly apartment residents. International J Aging and human development, vol. 33(2) 119-130, 1991. Cited in Dr W Bird (2007) Natural Thinking: Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health, RSPB
8 Ottosson J and Grahn P (2005). A comparison of leisure time spent in a garden with leisure time spent indoors: On measures of restoration in residents in geriatric care. Landscape Research 30 1 23-55 Jan 2005. Cited in Dr W Bird (2007) Natural Thinking: Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health, RSPB
9 Faber Taylor A, Kuo F and Sullivan W (2001). Coping with ADD. The Surprising Connection to Green Play Setting. Environment and Behaviour. 33 Jan 2001 pp54-77 Cited in Dr W Bird (2007) Natural Thinking: Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health, RSPB

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