Robin Asquith - How UK Agriculture can benefit from green prescriptions on care farms'.
I live in the North York Moors National Park and upon completion of reading geography at the University Of Hull I attained the job of Operations Manager at a care farm, The Hayshed. A small 86 acre upland hill farm which offers work placements to adults with disabilities and mental health concerns.
Through my job I have become an advocate for care farming, an initiative The Hayshed carries out. The Hayshed offers work placements on the farm to adults with disabilities and mental health concerns with the end goal of helping them gain employment. My job role covers management of the farm and The Hayshed charity operations. With over 50 placements attending the farm per week, trainees undertake all aspects of agricultural and horticultural work. I am an elected member of the North York Moors Coast and Hills Leader executive committee, representing agriculture. In the 2015 Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the Year awards, I was a finalist, making the final three.
With my fiancée, we rear and sell over 100 oven ready poultry at Christmas and a further 100 over the year. This is alongside a flock of Swaledale ewes and an ever increasing pig breeding business.
I would like to thank all those supporting my scholarship, not least the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust for their sponsorship, and my fiancée and parents for their support and backing.
I was made aware of Nuffield farming scholarships after attending the Farmers Weekly Fertile Minds event in autumn 2014. This was an inspiring event, and one that energized myself into applying for a Nuffield Scholarship. I was thrilled to learn I had been successful with my application on the first attempt.
I plan to travel over a broad area, starting in Ireland, Canada and USA before moving to study within Europe; focusing on Scandinavia, Hungary, Italy and Holland. I plan to study how care farming operates across the world to study how it can be better applied in the UK. With only around 220 care farms in the UK, it is well regarded and a useful diversification for smaller family farms. With research showing the positive effects of ‘green prescriptions’ to individuals with mental health and obesity concerns, I would like to explore the possible role that UK agriculture could take on offer - ‘green prescriptions’. Been able to help further UK farms diversify into the care farming industry would benefit hundreds of people across the UK.