History of Green Care Farms
My Grandpa Ron was a farmer and a science teacher in Wellington County in Ontario. He spent his life working outside and supporting the agriculture community. When I was 14, my Grandpa was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 63. After he was diagnosed, everything changed for him and my Grandma.
As my Grandpa’s dementia progressed, it became harder for him to spend time outside safely. My grandparents struggled to find programs and services. There were no programs for people with dementia to be active outdoors in Canada. I became troubled with the lack of environmental programming for people with dementia.
My grandparents both died in 2014 before I began my Master of Social Work in Gerontology. I miss them very much and I knew I needed to do what I could to change the system.
Ron Goodall on Belwood Valley Christmas Tree Farm.
I learned about care farms, programs for people with dementia on agricultural farms, that exist all over Europe. In Canada, we did not have any care farms. I have spent more than 10 years working in healthcare, policy and social work. It is clear to me that we needed creative solutions outside of the public sector. I asked my mentors and networks for advice. They suggested that rather than do a PhD on the need for Green Care Farms, it might be more effective for me to begin a business.
Ron Goodall looking at a plane in the sky outside his long term care home
Rebekah Churchyard at Green Care Farms site
Rebekah with brother Arthur Churchyard and mother Mary Churchyard (Ron’s daughter)
After 10 years of learning and preparation, I opened Green Care Farms Inc. Our social enterprise is delighted to provide an outdoor day program for people with dementia on a farm. We know that a dementia diagnosis is a journey which impacts the whole family. We are proud to be a supportive community connection for people with dementia and caregivers as they navigate this journey.
We hope our work will bring hope, growth and peace to others.