Case Study 9 (Level 3)

CS9 will use a collaborative action approach to explore how to support the building of biopsychosocial resilience by adapting existing practices of a region-wide care farming programme. It will work with a Foundation of Care farmers (SZZ), the largest organisation of care farming in the Netherlands with more than 100 care farms and offering day care for about 3,800 clients with special needs. Building on an ongoing relationship, CS9 will work with SZZ to identify 24 care farms willing to take part in the two-stage study.

Stage 1 will be a co-creation stage where staff of 12 care farms will participate in a Community of Practice (COP) with experts and researchers to co-design and test nature-based activities tailored to the special biopsychosocial resilience needs of adults with dementia and other cognitive and functional impairments. Reflecting the elements of mindfulness in several of our CSs, the proposed training programme will be designed according to principles of ‘attentive presence’ where caregivers are trained to be especially attentive to how the client is captured and guided by affordances in the natural environment (e.g. how the bark of a tree feels, birdsong, insect behaviour), and to support the client in engaging in these activities safely.

Stage 2 will then compare the biopsychosocial resilience and health and well-being outcomes of clients, using a ‘lighter touch’ quantitative and more qualitative evidence gathering approach than the randomized controlled trials above, at the 12 intervention farms with a matched control group of 12 (practice as usual) farms.

CS9 is also firmly embodied in the ‘Leave no one behind’ agenda, and will derive particular support from one of the International Expert Advisory Board (Nicole Prop) who is the Director of Austria’s care farming programme (Green Care Österreich).