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Green Care: a Conceptual Framework. A Report of the Working Group on the Health Benefits of Green Care

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‘Green Care’ is a range of activities that promotes physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature. It utilises farms, gardens and other outdoor spaces as a therapeutic intervention for vulnerable adults and children. Green care includes care farming, therapeutic horticulture, animal assisted therapy and other nature-based approaches. These are now the subject of investigation by researchers from many different countries across the world.
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... Now a widespread phenomenon, SF is consolidated in many countries of Europe where agricultural activity, social care, and social policies come together to provide innovative solutions to the needs of various groups at risk of social exclusion (O'Connor et al., 2010). However, there are many different approaches to the concept and different definitions of a complex and heterogeneous phenomenon (Hassink, 2003;Hassink and Van Dijk, 2006;Hine et al., 2008a;Di Iacovo and O'Connor, 2009;Sempik et al., 2010). ...
... The objectives are mainly therapeutic but may include other areas such as education, occupational therapy, or social integration (Hassink and Van Dijk, 2006). Projects create opportunities for personal development and rehabilitation to benefit a vulnerable population (Sempik et al., 2010), including people with disabilities and/or mental disorders, an addiction, learning difficulties, or who have dropped out of school, are homeless, or out of prison on parole. The traditional farm serves as the centre providing these services, sometimes as a day centre or temporary residence, where people can receive comprehensive health and social services and carry out agricultural work activities (Leck et al., 2014;Hassink et al., 2010). ...
... Green care (GC) and SF are also related concepts, covering a wide range of activities and practices that have in common the use of natural elements to maintain and promote physical, mental, and social well-being (Haubenhofer et al., 2010;Sempik et al., 2010). According to Dessein et al. (2013), when agricultural work is the basis for promoting physical and mental health and quality of life, this is called Green Care in Agriculture (GCA) or farming for health. ...
Article
Social Farming (SF) engages groups at risk of social exclusion in agricultural activities with the aim of including them in society, providing them with job opportunities, and empowering them. This phenomenon materializes in many forms throughout Europe, and is known by many different names, including Green Care in Agriculture, Care Farming and Farming for Health, forms that combine agricultural work with health and social services (care). In various European countries, SF enjoys an advanced stage of development, social visibility, and institutional support. In Catalonia, SF is still in its early stages, an innovation that is progressively becoming consolidated and serving as an instrument to facilitate sustainable territorial development. This article provides an analysis of the status quo and the dynamics of SF in Catalonia, as the first objective, where there has been little study of this phenomenon, based on the creation of a database of existing projects, in-depth interviews with those who manage the entities and an analysis of the sector's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) based on the information collected during the field research. It also provides case studies of selected initiatives that identify key characteristics, management models, and level of social impact based on Business Model Canvas (BMC) and Social Return on Investment (SROI) analyses as a second objective. This dual approach allowed us to show how SF has taken shape at our regional scale, which actors have intervened, and elements that have supported or obstructed this new practice. It also showed the type of entities in existence, their specific characteristics, and their social impact in order to understand how SF is structured in this specific territorial and social context.
... Care farming is described in published literature as an intervention and has been conceptualised under the umbrella of 'green care', linking traditional health care and the natural environment (Fig. 2). The range of interventions associated with green care is broad and may include the provision of employment opportunities, education, healthcare or rehabilitation for a variety of vulnerable groups (Fig. 3) (Sempik et al., 2010). ...
... 'green care is an intervention i.e. an active process that is intended to improve or promote health (physical and mental) and wellbeing not purely a passive experience of nature.' (Sempik et al., 2010) This distinguishes this kind of care from other activities in nature such as 'forest bathing' (Park et al., 2010) which promote improvements in health and wellbeing through a passive interaction with nature. ...
... In the UK farms work together with a broad range of client groups ( Fig. 3) (Care Farming UK, 2017a) and health and social care agencies with an aim to improve health and wellbeing (Sempik et al., 2010). Clients spend time doing unpaid work in a supervised farming environment which is committed to providing for their health, educational and social care needs (Bragg et al., 2014;Haubenhofer et al., 2010;Leck et al., 2015). ...
Article
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People with a learning disability in the UK are increasingly choosing to spend their time on ‘care farms’ but there is limited research examining these spaces from their perspective. A qualitative research design was used to ask eighteen of these clients how care farms contributed to their health and wellbeing. For these participants care farms can be understood, using Fleuret and Atkinson's (2007) framework, as a ‘space of wellbeing’ and as a positive and life-enhancing space. Positive language was used by participants to describe the farms contrasting with ne gative language describing other spaces and activities. Farms were identified as contributing positively to mental and social wellbeing.
... Sandifer et al. (2015) hanno analizzato lo stato della conoscenza e della produzione scientifica, rispetto alle relazioni tra salute umana, natura e biodiversità elencando gli effetti identificati: dagli effetti psicologici (effetti positivi su benessere e processi mentali) agli effetti cognitivi (effetti positivi su capacità e funzioni cognitive); dagli effetti fisiologici (effetti positivi su funzioni e/o benessere fisico) agli effetti sull'esposizione alle malattie (potenziale riduzione dell'incidenza delle malattie infettive); dagli effetti sociali (coesione sociale) agli effetti estetici, culturali, spirituali, all'aumento della capacità di resilienza. La presenza di aree verdi urbane, in particolare, favorisce direttamente e indirettamente un miglioramento della qualità della vita (Sanesi et al. 2011), in quanto può fornire rifugio da un uno stile di vita quotidiano sempre più stressante È in questo contesto che si inserisce il "Green Care", un concetto emergente che fa riferimento alla "gamma di attività che promuovono la salute e il benessere fisico e mentale attraverso il contatto con la natura" (Berget et al. 2010), salute intesa come "uno stato di completo benessere fisico, mentale e sociale e non semplicemente assenza di malattia o infermità" (OMS 2016). Green Care può essere compreso anche nel contesto di soluzioni basate sulla natura (IUCN 2014) e sull'impatto degli ecosistemi e dei loro servizi sulla salute e sul benessere individuale e collettivo. ...
Article
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lifestyles in relation with the external environment, in particular nature. The permanence in natural environments, the relationship with the outside and with the green that surrounds us reveal, in general, important elements of personal and collective well-being, both during the usual daily life but also and above all in the current pandemic crisis, that has dramatically changed everyone’s life habits and has disrupted interpersonal relationships and the relationship with the outdoor world, often observed from a window. As part of the CNR FOE-Nutrage project “Nutrizione, Alimentazione e Invecchiamento attivo”, subtask 3.6.4 “Well-being search in natural environments”, a case study was conducted with the aim of investigating, through desk analysis and field surveys, the relationship between the environment and well-being on a sample of people over 65 years of age - considered at high risk during the current COVID-19 pandemic - residing mainly in Calabria (southern Italy) and Lombardia (northern Italy). The overall vision integrated good lifestyles and permanence in natural environments with the perspective of disease prevention and maintenance of the psycho-physical health. Results showed that the sample interviewed, despite having changed during the lockdown of March-April 2020 the type of environment frequented and reduced the time spent outside, did not give up walking, attending outdoor spaces and taking care of the house greenery (plants and terraces) for their psycho-physical well-being. The study is part of a vision extensively investigated by the scientific literature on the influence of environmental factors on the psycho-physical well-being of people, and, in particular, on the importance of ecosystem services and of the “Green-care”.
... mentally disabled people, physically disabled people, former prisoners, youth etc.) in different farm contexts (intensive / extensive farming, institutional farm) and have different objectives (integrative work, training, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, prevention, education) (see also Dessein, Bock, eds. 2010;Di Iacovo, O'Connor, eds. 2009;Sempik, Hine, Wilcox, eds. 2010). In this meaning, the farm appears as a suitable place for a wide spectrum of people with a need of support for better integration into society. Effects reported by the service-users of social farming speak about improvement in their general well-being, their sense of freedom and space, their integration into society, positive impacts ...
Conference Paper
This article develops the innovative dimension of social entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. Social entrepreneurship appears as an important driver in the European economy and focusing on the agricultural sector it heads toward new opportunities mainly through its impact on social integration and rural development. European agriculture is facing new socioeconomic changes, including a transition from an agriculture-based to a service-based economy. One of the important factors in these changes is the focus on the notion of multifunctional agriculture on one side and social entrepreneurship and innovation in social sector on the other. Combination of these two sectors, so-called social farming, asks for new ways in social entrepreneur education and practice that emerge the social or not-for-profit side as well as on agricultural market oriented side. This paper presents a basic framework of social entrepreneurship and of social farming and also shows the necessity of new approaches in study curriculum development, both formal and informal, for social farmers that play the role of change agents by adopting a mission to create sustainable social values and other positive externalities. Abstrakt Tento článek rozvíjí inovativní rozměr sociálního podnikání v zemědělském sektoru. Sociální podnikání se objevuje jako důležitý prvek evropského hospodářství. Pokud se zaměří na zemědělské odvětví, vede k novým příležitostem především díky jeho dopadu na sociální integraci a rozvoj venkova. Evropské zemědělství čelí novým sociálně-ekonomickým změnám, založeným na přechodu od tržně založeného zemědělství k zemědělství podporujícího služby. Jedním z důležitých faktorů těchto změn je představa multifunkčního zemědělství na jedné straně a sociálního podnikání a inovací v sociální oblasti na straně druhé. Kombinace těchto dvou sektorů, takzvané sociální zemědělství, vyžaduje nové přístupy ve vzdělávání a praxi sociálního podnikatele, a to jak v sociální a neziskové, tak podnikatelské a zemědělské sféře. V tomto příspěvku jsou představeny základní rámce sociálního podnikání a sociálního zemědělství a je uvedeno, proč je důležité vytvářet nové přístupy v rozvoji formálního i neformálního studijního kurikula sociálního farmáře, který hraje roli inovátora vytvářejícího trvale udržitelné hodnoty a další pozitivní externality. Klíčová slova Blahobyt, multifunkční zemědělství, pracovní integrace, sociální inkluze, sociální podnik, sociální zemědělství, vzdělávání.
... Introdução A agricultura social (AS) pode ser definida como a prática de atividades, com plantas ou animais, em contexto de empresa agrícola, jardinagem, floresta ou paisagismo, com o objetivo de promover a saúde mental e física, assim como a qualidade de vida de diversos grupos de clientes (Hassink eVan Dijk, 2006;Di Iacovo, 2009;Dessein e Bock, 2010;Willems, 2013). Constitui assim um movimento crescente que pretende providenciar benefícios de âmbito social, educacional e da saúde, através da atividade agrícola para um espectro alargado de pessoas (Sempik et al., 2010). Desenvolveu-se na Europa desde os finais do século XX e tem vindo a crescer (Elings, 2006;Hassink, 2009;Willems, 2013), destinando-se a responder à evolução, às alterações e a problemas específicos da agricultura, dos cuidados de saúde e da sociedade atual. ...
Conference Paper
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Apresentam-se os resultados preliminares do estado da arte da Agricultura Urbana e Periurbana [AUP] em Portugal1. Argumenta-se que a AUP em Portugal está focalizada principalmente no componente produção e que a sua ligação às restantes componentes do sistema urbano são ainda limitadas. Para fundamentar o argumento apresentam-se e analisam-se várias definições internacionais na sua evolução de conteúdo ao longo do tempo. Esta análise é complementada com duas pesquisas adicionais que fazem parte de uma investigação ampla que incluí: (1) entrevista de informantes privilegiados; (2) pesquisa web baseada em palavras-chave. Os restantes métodos de pesquisa incluem inter alia: revisão da literatura; visitas a um conjunto selecionado de programas e práticas de uma lista extensa de casos identificados; conhecimento e rede de saberes; participação em eventos; categorização das melhores práticas identificadas pelo grupo de informantes privilegiados.O processamento da informação obtida através das entrevistas aos informantes privilegiados sugere que a AUP é essencialmente associada a hortas urbanas vocacionadas para a inclusão social, suportada no uso de terra maioritariamente pública. O impacto da AUP na cadeia alimentar urbana apresenta-se ainda pouco desenvolvido. A AUP em Portugal manifesta-se fundamentalmente nas dimensões social e ecológica. Contudo, a pesquisa web mostra uma panorâmica muito mais vasta correspondente às várias componentes da cadeia urbana alimentar. Ou seja, abrem-se interessantes perspetivas para a gestão da AUP como parte do sistema alimentar urbano, à semelhança do que está a ocorrer em várias cidades no mundo. Em síntese, as conclusões preliminares apontam para a necessidade de clarificar o conceito de AUP entre todos os atores envolvidos. Evidenciam também que a AUP é um setor promissor e emergente, que reclama terra e espaço nas cidades e periferias Portuguesas, de modo a gerar emprego e desenvolvimento económico local, para além do bem-estar social e contributo ecológico.
... AAIs can involve short-term structured activities or longer-term interaction with an assistance or service animal [13]. They are a type of "Green Care", connecting people with nature and animals to enhance health and wellbeing [14][15][16][17]. Animals offer a need for AAI studies to explore how levels of engagement with an intervention (dosage) may relate to treatment effects. ...
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This paper reports a case-control study of a horse riding intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A sample of 26 children, aged 6 to 9 years, were assigned to either the intervention (n = 12) or control group conditions (n = 14). Pre- and post-tests were carried out using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition (CARS2) and the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist-Community Edition (ABC-C). An observational measure of compliance and behaviour during the horse riding sessions was completed for the intervention group. There was a significant reduction in the severity of ASD symptoms and hyperactivity from pre- to post-test for the intervention group only. These results indicate that the intervention improves some aspects of social functioning for children with ASD.
Article
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The aim of this study was to evaluate a 1‐year social farming programme conducted between 2014 and 2015, including horticultural and occupational activities on six agricultural farms for older people in good general health. Social farming is a practice that uses agricultural resources to provide health, social or educational services to vulnerable groups of people. Activity participation, social relationships, physical activity, and the quality of life of the participants were assessed using a pretest, posttest design. A total of 112 subjects were interviewed at baseline, though only 73 participants were retained through the end of the follow‐up, resulting in a dropout rate of 34%. Data analysis revealed significant improvements in both social relationships and overall occupational engagement at the end of the programme, with significant increases in the frequency of contact with friends or relatives as well as the number of activities performed by the participants. This work adds to the literature on the effects of social farming and indicates that farming may provide opportunities for older people to engage in activities that stimulate social behaviours.
Article
INTRODUCTION: Animal assisted therapy (AAT) is a structured form of animal assisted intervention (AAI), which specifically adopts animals in healthcare services and education facilities, to achieve therapeutic goals. Although such interventions are widely used, nowadays, evidence supporting them is still largely lacking. A previously published review of the literature highlighted some promising effects of AAT on people presenting psychiatric disorders, though the quality of the studies included was generally low. In order to provide an update of recent evidence, the aim of this study was to systematically review randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published since 2000, involving people affected by mental disorders and receiving AAT. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The following databases were searched: CINHAL, EBSCO Psychology and Behavioural Science Collection, PubMed and Web of Science. 115 papers were obtained and screened: 28 were from CINHAL, PsycINFO and Psychology and Behavioural Science Collection altogether, 15 from PubMed and 72 from Web of Science. In addition to this, grey literature and references of already published reviews and meta-analyses on the topic were searched, resulting in the addition of 6 further articles. After screening, 10 RCTs were included in this review. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Studies involving outpatients were more frequent than those involving inpatients; sample size was generally low. The majority of studies adopted scales routinely used in clinical trials, with a good level of validity and reliability. Five out of ten studies reported significant differences in the main outcomes favouring AAT. Most of the studies did not include any follow-up; yet, where prospective data were available, the benefits of AAT appeared long lasting. Drop-out rates were higher in studies involving outpatients. However, the only trial which enrolled both inpatients and outpatients showed a higher drop-out rate among the inpatients group, possibly due to their more severe psychopathology. CONCLUSIONS: Though a paucity of available studies partly limits our findings, AAT seems to improve empathy, socialization and communication, and to favour therapeutic alliance among patients who have difficulties with therapeutic programs adherence. AAT appears to be a feasible and well-received intervention, potentially with few or no side effects reported. However there is a need for further studies with larger sample sizes and high-quality research standards.
Chapter
The concept of ‘Green Care’ can increasingly be found in mental health and addictions literature, and some psychiatric/mental health nurses are practicing in facilities who base their approach on some or all underpinning theoretical elements of Green Care. However, ‘Green Care’ is not yet widely considered to be part of mainstream psychiatry. Unearthing and articulating its theoretical underpinnings and clinical applications may further advance its legitimacy. Accordingly, this chapter identifies four principle theoretical elements of Green Care: connectedness, contact with nature, benefits of exercise, and occupation/work as therapeutic, each of which is explored and articulated by drawing on relevant literature.
BACKGROUND: Green care is an umbrella term for psychosocial interventions that integrate biotic and abiotic elements of nature to promote an individual’s health and well-being. Green care decreases depressive symptoms but the parts of the interventions that lead to this effect are unknown. OBJECTIVES: Review of literature to evaluate perceived social support, behavioral activation, and self-efficacy as key ingredients to decrease depressive symptoms in psychosocial interventions and extrapolate those mediators, or key ingredients, to green care. DESIGN: A literature search of three databases was conducted to find relevant studies examining a psychosocial intervention for adults, the mediator of interest, and depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Evidence supports behavioral activation, social support, and self-efficacy as mediators of psychosocial interventions to improve depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Green care offers a portal for individuals with different depressive symptoms and severities to be treated alongside each other while receiving targeted interventions to meet the needs of each individual participant. Additionally, it offers the opportunity for psychiatric nurses to concurrently target all three active key ingredients.
Article
Presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from 4 principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Factors influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arise from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and behavioral changes. (21/2 p ref)
Book
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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This paper describes the work of Lothlorien Community. The natural environment is a central part of the therapy, with the daily programme primarily based on organic gardening. This has a very beneficial effect on mental wellbeing. Interacting with others in a mutually supportive atmosphere and contributing to the working life of the community helps to rebuild residents' self-esteem and self-confidence. Relaxation groups influenced by Buddhist meditation practice help to further develop the sense of mindfulness and relaxation which is gained through gardening.
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Care faming and other green care approaches can link policy priorities for farming, conservation, countryside and health agencies, and help create healthy places for the general public. This article reports on a recent study of the achievements of care farms and considers the potential of this emerging sector.