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COST Action 866:

Green Care in Agriculture
(modified from a presentation to COST’s Technical
Committee of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Food, July
2005)


Bjarne O. Braastad        (Chairman),
professor of ethology,
Dept. of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences,
Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
Green care in Agriculture




        What is Green care?
The health sector and social services need
alternatives to traditional medical treatment, therapy,
rehabilitation, and work training.
‘Green care’ is the utilization of agricultural farms as
a base for promoting human mental and physical
health.
Animals, plants, gardens, forests, and the
landscape are used in recreational or work-related
activities for:
Psychiatric patients, mentally disabled persons,
people with learning disabilities, burnout problems,
or a drug history, including youth and elderly people,
and social service clients.
Green care in Agriculture




Animal-assisted therapy: Physical
contact with animals is thought to be
particularly rewarding




                                  Photo: Bente Berget
Green care in Agriculture




Horticultural therapy and landscape

                                               Working in the garden
                                               creates growth and beauty



 Photo: Eva Vike



                                                        People feel better
                                                        in a preferred
                                                        landscape
                                                        (from a PhD course)
Green care in Agriculture




                   Background
There is much practical experience in utilization of farms,
farm animals, plants, gardens and the landscape for
rehabilitation and therapy, but:
There is until recently not much scientific research
documenting the effects on the various target groups; for farm
animals research is almost non-existent.
For “green services” to be generally recognized, particularly
by the medical professions, positive effects on clients and
optimal ways of implementation must be scientifically
documented.
Among European scientists, there is a growing interest in
starting or extending such research. This multidisciplinary
effort should be coordinated through a scientific network to
improve efficiency, ensure optimal methods, and increase the
scientifically validated output. Methodological and theoretical
challenges are predominating. This is a major reason for the
proposal of this COST Action.
Green care in Agriculture




Relevance for agriculture and this TC
  Multifunctionality is regarded as one of the future
  goals of European agriculture that could be an
  alternative to further reduction of the number of farms.
  Such multi-functions can be to combine the
  production of cash crops or animal production with
  social functions, like providing space for recreation,
  care for disabled people, or care for landscapes.
  Farmers need a scientific basis for green services,
  and they need development of health policies and
  economical systems that make such services a
  predictable income.
  We believe this TC is the closest to realising the
  innovative potential of this effort.
Green care in Agriculture




         Objectives of the Action
  The main objective of the Action is to increase the scientific
  knowledge on how to implement Green care in agriculture
  most efficiently in order to improve mental and physical
  health, as well as quality of life, of humans.

This objective requires the following:
   Establishing a well-functioning multidisciplinary scientific
   network of scientists working on topics of relevance to Green
   care.
   Establishing three working groups of scientists working on
   more specialized scientific topics of relevance to Green care.
   Development of an international research program within
   Green care, to be offered to EU and national research
   councils.
   Improving the relevance, efficiency, and quality of ongoing
   and new research within Green care in Europe.
Green care in Agriculture




     Organisation of the Action
   MC and three WGs
   WG1: Health effects of Green care
Coordinate research and develop new research in biological,
medical and health sciences. Conceptual and theoretical discussions
and developments. Research methodologies.
  WG2: Economics of Green care
Coordinate research and develop new research on economics and
management of Green care farming. Cost-benefit effectiveness of
Green care on micro, mezzo and macro levels, marketability.
  WG3: Policies related to Green care
Discuss how Green care fits into current and future national health
and social care systems. Organisation of the Green care system and
the networks. How rural development is affected.
Green care in Agriculture




How to work and Time plan
Plenary seminars and meetings
WG workshops
Short-term scientific missions (STSM) financed by
COST will be sought to enable exchange of young
researchers. Aim: to exchange five young
researchers (PhDs, postdocs) within the frame of the
COST Action, each for a few weeks.
Website with documents and a discussion forum

Time plan (2006-2010)
   Each of four years: A plenary meeting and WG
   workshops
   Last year also: A dissemination seminar could
   be held if funding is obtained.
Green care in Agriculture




Why is COST the proper programme?
 The flexible, informal organisation of COST Actions is an
 excellent platform for extending and strengthening our
 multidisciplinary scientific network on Green care across Europe.
 The funding of network building by national research councils,
 under the COST umbrella that funds the coordination of it, is the
 most feasible method, in comparison with EU and EUREKA
 programmes.
 Our work covers most of the main addresses of COST Actions:
 International topic, beneficial to most countries, of particular
 interest to the society that is concerned about mental health
 services, and involves cooperation on a newly emerging and
 multidisciplinary scientific topic.
 It strengthens urban-rural relationships by giving new values to
 agriculture (multifunctional agriculture, Green care as amenity goods)
 and provides a perspective for farmers searching for new ways of
 maintaining a farm that otherwise might be closed.
Green care in Agriculture




               Dissemination plan
Target audiences of output from the Action:
      scientists and professionals working with various aspects of
      Green care including farmers,
      EU scientific committees and national research council
      committees working on development of research programs, and
      international and national health and social authorities.
Such external users may be invited to a final dissemination
seminar, also to give input that could be used for the final report
and research programs.
Website: Information and results of the Action work will be
presented on a public website. This will include reports of seminars,
minutes of meetings, publications from participants, contributions
to other conferences, links to relevant information from other
sources, and the final report that will include a proposal for
research programs on Green care. Proposal of research programs
will also actively be sent to relevant research funding bodies.
Green care in Agriculture




           Multidisciplinary work
   Sciences involved in the Action:
Animal science, ethology, horticulture, forestry, landscape
architecture, landscape ecology, agricultural economics,
psychiatry, psychology, nursing, ergo therapy, sociology, and
social economics.
   Others involved:
Farmers, social workers, policy makers, client organisations
   Experience from exploratory workshops:
The feasibility of this multidisciplinary work is demonstrated. The
persons are open-minded, enthusiastic and eagerly looking
forward to this Action. Common concepts and terms must be
defined across disciplines and across countries.
Green care in Agriculture




                   Conclusions
Green Care in Agriculture: much practical experience,
but limited scientific documentation is available.
Multidisciplinary scientific effort is essential to develop
green services as part of a multifunctional agriculture.
A network of enthusiastic experts is established, but
needs funding for further development and work, in
order to coordinate ongoing research, develop
concepts and terms, theories, research methods, and
a research programme.
Green care in Agriculture




        Benefits of the Action
Improved mental and physical health and quality of life of
humans with particular problems, by low-cost therapy and
rehabilitation forms. This is the most important benefit.
Scientific knowledge acquired in the Action that could be
included in teaching of health personnel – psychiatrists,
psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social service personnel, etc. –
as well as in teaching of farmers.      (MSc programme in Norway)
Improved efficiency in future research, ensuring optimal value
for money given to research projects.
Additional source of income for farmers; improved efficiency in
the process of adapting to the changes in European agricultural
structure.
Increased rural-urban interactions and social cohesion.
Increased human-animal contact on farms may enhance animal
welfare by reducing the fear of humans – an important aspect of
animal welfare. In addition, the clients may gain increased respect
for animals and their nature, which may be of advantage to other
animals that later encounter these persons.
Green care in Agriculture




Countries involved in proposal (2005)
  Country                  No. of experts
  Austria                           2
  Belgium                           2
                                            In total:
  Denmark                           2
  Finland                           3       14 countries
  France                            1       54 experts
  Germany                           5
  Italy                             6
                                            Greece and
  Netherlands                      10
  Norway                            8
                                            Poland now
  Slovenia                          5       joins the
  Sweden                            3       action
  Switzerland                       1
  United Kingdom                    5
  U.S.A.                            1
Green care in Agriculture




Examples of ongoing and planned research-I
 Measuring the effects of green care farms for clients with psychiatric problems and
 addiction history (NL) 2005-2008
 Developing a model describing and explaining the health promoting qualities of
 green care farms (NL) 2005-2006
 Effects of green care farms on food consumption of clients (NL) 2006-2008
 Working with plants on quality of life and well being of clients (NL) 2006-2009
 Interaction between clients’ wellbeing and health and farm values at green care
 farms with emphasis on client-animal interactions (NL) 2005-2009
 Interactions between client-wellbeing and health and farm values at green care
 farms with special emphasis on plant-human interactions (NL) 2005 - 2009
 Study into the effects of working at a green care farm: increase in life satisfaction,
 skills, and quality of life of mentally handicapped people (planned) (NL) 2005-2008
 Green care with farm animals for persons with mental diseases (NO) 2003-2006
 Assessing the evidence for landscape-based positive and negative health effects
 (NO, ES) 2004-2006
 Human landscape experience in production landscapes. Impact of landscape
 structure on human aesthetic appreciation (NO) 2004–2008
 Visulands 5th Framework EU Shared Cost project to develop visualisation tools to
 support public involvement in the assessment of landscape change (NO) 2003-2005
Green care in Agriculture




Examples of ongoing and planned research-II
  The human being and the good earth (I) 2006
  Social enterprise incubators (I) 2005-2007
  The disabled in agricultural families (I) 2004-2005
  SoFar (social farming). (I) 2005-2008
  Movements and institutions of social development courses of rural
  communities and of social farming (I) 2005-2006
  Feasibility study and modelling the employment of and/or care for mentally
  handicapped persons as supplementary on-farm activity (SI) 2002-2005
  Modelling and testing a methodology of inclusion of the farms into a system
  of community care for people with special needs (SI) 2005-2008
  Network of care farms for the mentally disabled in the municipality of
  Ljubljana (SI) 2005-2007
  Effects of contact with assistance dogs on immediate physiological
  responses and later behaviour of humans with Downs’ syndrome and on
  welfare of animal as measured by physiological and behavioural responses.
  Might be extended to farm animals. (UK) 2005-2009
Green care in Agriculture




    WG 1: Health effects of Green care
Main aim: to coordinate research and develop new research in
  biological, medical and health sciences for the purpose of gaining
  new insight into the effects of various types of Green care on
  various aspects of physical and mental health and quality of life of
  clients. The work must include conceptual and theoretical
  discussions and developments, as well as discussions on research
  methodologies.

Milestones
1. Develop a conceptual framework and theoretical models for the
   health promoting mechanisms of Green care.
2. Comparison and discussion of ongoing research projects
   related to health effects on clients.
3. Establishment of a set of good research methodologies.
4. Joint research project between participating countries.
5. Development of a research program – health effects for clients of
   Green care.
Green care in Agriculture




      WG 2: Economics of Green care
Main aim: to coordinate research and develop new research on
   economics and management of Green care farming. This includes
   the cost-benefit effectiveness of Green care on the micro, mezzo
   and macro levels within the framework of multifunctional
   agriculture, market based versus governmental based economics,
   marketability of pubic goods and positive agricultural externalities,
   as well as measurements of the positive externalities of Animal
   Assisted Therapy and Horticultural Therapy.
Milestones
1. Development of a methodology to determine the economic
    benefits of Green care services for farmers, for other parts of the
    agricultural sector and for the health and social care sectors, and
    also the social returns of such services.
2. Development of systems to support Green care regionally and
    nationally.
3. Development of a research program – economics of Green care.
Green care in Agriculture




  WG 3: Policies related to Green care
Main aim: to discuss how Green care fits into current and future
  national health and social care systems. This includes the
  organisation of the Green care system and the building up of the
  network behind the health and social care systems. A further aim is
  to discuss how rural development is affected; creation of new jobs
  and strengthening of the economic viability of rural communities,
  those of less-favoured and remote rural areas in particular.

Milestones
1. Definition of terms and concepts for the different services of
   Green care.
2. Evaluate the contribution of Green care to rural and agricultural
   policies, but also policies in health care and social care.
3. Development of a research program – policies of Green care.
Green care in Agriculture




                        Deliverables
During the action’s lifetime, the following deliverables will be made:
  Well-functioning multidisciplinary scientific networks at two levels, a
  complete multidisciplinary network and three working group
  networks.
  At least one multidisciplinary research program on Green care in
  agriculture, being offered to EU and to national research councils.
The following are more difficult to quantify, and dependent on funding:
  Producing three scientific peer-reviewed papers based on joint work
  established early in the work of the Action, two of which are
  conceptually or theoretically based.
  Developing five international joint research projects based on work
  of the Action,
  Exchanging five young researchers (PhD students or postdocs),
  each for a few weeks.
  Further effects of new projects financed by the proposed research
  programme will come after the end of the Action.

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Green care in Agriculture: COST Action 866

  • 1. COST Action 866: Green Care in Agriculture (modified from a presentation to COST’s Technical Committee of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Food, July 2005) Bjarne O. Braastad (Chairman), professor of ethology, Dept. of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
  • 2. Green care in Agriculture What is Green care? The health sector and social services need alternatives to traditional medical treatment, therapy, rehabilitation, and work training. ‘Green care’ is the utilization of agricultural farms as a base for promoting human mental and physical health. Animals, plants, gardens, forests, and the landscape are used in recreational or work-related activities for: Psychiatric patients, mentally disabled persons, people with learning disabilities, burnout problems, or a drug history, including youth and elderly people, and social service clients.
  • 3. Green care in Agriculture Animal-assisted therapy: Physical contact with animals is thought to be particularly rewarding Photo: Bente Berget
  • 4. Green care in Agriculture Horticultural therapy and landscape Working in the garden creates growth and beauty Photo: Eva Vike People feel better in a preferred landscape (from a PhD course)
  • 5. Green care in Agriculture Background There is much practical experience in utilization of farms, farm animals, plants, gardens and the landscape for rehabilitation and therapy, but: There is until recently not much scientific research documenting the effects on the various target groups; for farm animals research is almost non-existent. For “green services” to be generally recognized, particularly by the medical professions, positive effects on clients and optimal ways of implementation must be scientifically documented. Among European scientists, there is a growing interest in starting or extending such research. This multidisciplinary effort should be coordinated through a scientific network to improve efficiency, ensure optimal methods, and increase the scientifically validated output. Methodological and theoretical challenges are predominating. This is a major reason for the proposal of this COST Action.
  • 6. Green care in Agriculture Relevance for agriculture and this TC Multifunctionality is regarded as one of the future goals of European agriculture that could be an alternative to further reduction of the number of farms. Such multi-functions can be to combine the production of cash crops or animal production with social functions, like providing space for recreation, care for disabled people, or care for landscapes. Farmers need a scientific basis for green services, and they need development of health policies and economical systems that make such services a predictable income. We believe this TC is the closest to realising the innovative potential of this effort.
  • 7. Green care in Agriculture Objectives of the Action The main objective of the Action is to increase the scientific knowledge on how to implement Green care in agriculture most efficiently in order to improve mental and physical health, as well as quality of life, of humans. This objective requires the following: Establishing a well-functioning multidisciplinary scientific network of scientists working on topics of relevance to Green care. Establishing three working groups of scientists working on more specialized scientific topics of relevance to Green care. Development of an international research program within Green care, to be offered to EU and national research councils. Improving the relevance, efficiency, and quality of ongoing and new research within Green care in Europe.
  • 8. Green care in Agriculture Organisation of the Action MC and three WGs WG1: Health effects of Green care Coordinate research and develop new research in biological, medical and health sciences. Conceptual and theoretical discussions and developments. Research methodologies. WG2: Economics of Green care Coordinate research and develop new research on economics and management of Green care farming. Cost-benefit effectiveness of Green care on micro, mezzo and macro levels, marketability. WG3: Policies related to Green care Discuss how Green care fits into current and future national health and social care systems. Organisation of the Green care system and the networks. How rural development is affected.
  • 9. Green care in Agriculture How to work and Time plan Plenary seminars and meetings WG workshops Short-term scientific missions (STSM) financed by COST will be sought to enable exchange of young researchers. Aim: to exchange five young researchers (PhDs, postdocs) within the frame of the COST Action, each for a few weeks. Website with documents and a discussion forum Time plan (2006-2010) Each of four years: A plenary meeting and WG workshops Last year also: A dissemination seminar could be held if funding is obtained.
  • 10. Green care in Agriculture Why is COST the proper programme? The flexible, informal organisation of COST Actions is an excellent platform for extending and strengthening our multidisciplinary scientific network on Green care across Europe. The funding of network building by national research councils, under the COST umbrella that funds the coordination of it, is the most feasible method, in comparison with EU and EUREKA programmes. Our work covers most of the main addresses of COST Actions: International topic, beneficial to most countries, of particular interest to the society that is concerned about mental health services, and involves cooperation on a newly emerging and multidisciplinary scientific topic. It strengthens urban-rural relationships by giving new values to agriculture (multifunctional agriculture, Green care as amenity goods) and provides a perspective for farmers searching for new ways of maintaining a farm that otherwise might be closed.
  • 11. Green care in Agriculture Dissemination plan Target audiences of output from the Action: scientists and professionals working with various aspects of Green care including farmers, EU scientific committees and national research council committees working on development of research programs, and international and national health and social authorities. Such external users may be invited to a final dissemination seminar, also to give input that could be used for the final report and research programs. Website: Information and results of the Action work will be presented on a public website. This will include reports of seminars, minutes of meetings, publications from participants, contributions to other conferences, links to relevant information from other sources, and the final report that will include a proposal for research programs on Green care. Proposal of research programs will also actively be sent to relevant research funding bodies.
  • 12. Green care in Agriculture Multidisciplinary work Sciences involved in the Action: Animal science, ethology, horticulture, forestry, landscape architecture, landscape ecology, agricultural economics, psychiatry, psychology, nursing, ergo therapy, sociology, and social economics. Others involved: Farmers, social workers, policy makers, client organisations Experience from exploratory workshops: The feasibility of this multidisciplinary work is demonstrated. The persons are open-minded, enthusiastic and eagerly looking forward to this Action. Common concepts and terms must be defined across disciplines and across countries.
  • 13. Green care in Agriculture Conclusions Green Care in Agriculture: much practical experience, but limited scientific documentation is available. Multidisciplinary scientific effort is essential to develop green services as part of a multifunctional agriculture. A network of enthusiastic experts is established, but needs funding for further development and work, in order to coordinate ongoing research, develop concepts and terms, theories, research methods, and a research programme.
  • 14. Green care in Agriculture Benefits of the Action Improved mental and physical health and quality of life of humans with particular problems, by low-cost therapy and rehabilitation forms. This is the most important benefit. Scientific knowledge acquired in the Action that could be included in teaching of health personnel – psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social service personnel, etc. – as well as in teaching of farmers. (MSc programme in Norway) Improved efficiency in future research, ensuring optimal value for money given to research projects. Additional source of income for farmers; improved efficiency in the process of adapting to the changes in European agricultural structure. Increased rural-urban interactions and social cohesion. Increased human-animal contact on farms may enhance animal welfare by reducing the fear of humans – an important aspect of animal welfare. In addition, the clients may gain increased respect for animals and their nature, which may be of advantage to other animals that later encounter these persons.
  • 15. Green care in Agriculture Countries involved in proposal (2005) Country No. of experts Austria 2 Belgium 2 In total: Denmark 2 Finland 3 14 countries France 1 54 experts Germany 5 Italy 6 Greece and Netherlands 10 Norway 8 Poland now Slovenia 5 joins the Sweden 3 action Switzerland 1 United Kingdom 5 U.S.A. 1
  • 16. Green care in Agriculture Examples of ongoing and planned research-I Measuring the effects of green care farms for clients with psychiatric problems and addiction history (NL) 2005-2008 Developing a model describing and explaining the health promoting qualities of green care farms (NL) 2005-2006 Effects of green care farms on food consumption of clients (NL) 2006-2008 Working with plants on quality of life and well being of clients (NL) 2006-2009 Interaction between clients’ wellbeing and health and farm values at green care farms with emphasis on client-animal interactions (NL) 2005-2009 Interactions between client-wellbeing and health and farm values at green care farms with special emphasis on plant-human interactions (NL) 2005 - 2009 Study into the effects of working at a green care farm: increase in life satisfaction, skills, and quality of life of mentally handicapped people (planned) (NL) 2005-2008 Green care with farm animals for persons with mental diseases (NO) 2003-2006 Assessing the evidence for landscape-based positive and negative health effects (NO, ES) 2004-2006 Human landscape experience in production landscapes. Impact of landscape structure on human aesthetic appreciation (NO) 2004–2008 Visulands 5th Framework EU Shared Cost project to develop visualisation tools to support public involvement in the assessment of landscape change (NO) 2003-2005
  • 17. Green care in Agriculture Examples of ongoing and planned research-II The human being and the good earth (I) 2006 Social enterprise incubators (I) 2005-2007 The disabled in agricultural families (I) 2004-2005 SoFar (social farming). (I) 2005-2008 Movements and institutions of social development courses of rural communities and of social farming (I) 2005-2006 Feasibility study and modelling the employment of and/or care for mentally handicapped persons as supplementary on-farm activity (SI) 2002-2005 Modelling and testing a methodology of inclusion of the farms into a system of community care for people with special needs (SI) 2005-2008 Network of care farms for the mentally disabled in the municipality of Ljubljana (SI) 2005-2007 Effects of contact with assistance dogs on immediate physiological responses and later behaviour of humans with Downs’ syndrome and on welfare of animal as measured by physiological and behavioural responses. Might be extended to farm animals. (UK) 2005-2009
  • 18. Green care in Agriculture WG 1: Health effects of Green care Main aim: to coordinate research and develop new research in biological, medical and health sciences for the purpose of gaining new insight into the effects of various types of Green care on various aspects of physical and mental health and quality of life of clients. The work must include conceptual and theoretical discussions and developments, as well as discussions on research methodologies. Milestones 1. Develop a conceptual framework and theoretical models for the health promoting mechanisms of Green care. 2. Comparison and discussion of ongoing research projects related to health effects on clients. 3. Establishment of a set of good research methodologies. 4. Joint research project between participating countries. 5. Development of a research program – health effects for clients of Green care.
  • 19. Green care in Agriculture WG 2: Economics of Green care Main aim: to coordinate research and develop new research on economics and management of Green care farming. This includes the cost-benefit effectiveness of Green care on the micro, mezzo and macro levels within the framework of multifunctional agriculture, market based versus governmental based economics, marketability of pubic goods and positive agricultural externalities, as well as measurements of the positive externalities of Animal Assisted Therapy and Horticultural Therapy. Milestones 1. Development of a methodology to determine the economic benefits of Green care services for farmers, for other parts of the agricultural sector and for the health and social care sectors, and also the social returns of such services. 2. Development of systems to support Green care regionally and nationally. 3. Development of a research program – economics of Green care.
  • 20. Green care in Agriculture WG 3: Policies related to Green care Main aim: to discuss how Green care fits into current and future national health and social care systems. This includes the organisation of the Green care system and the building up of the network behind the health and social care systems. A further aim is to discuss how rural development is affected; creation of new jobs and strengthening of the economic viability of rural communities, those of less-favoured and remote rural areas in particular. Milestones 1. Definition of terms and concepts for the different services of Green care. 2. Evaluate the contribution of Green care to rural and agricultural policies, but also policies in health care and social care. 3. Development of a research program – policies of Green care.
  • 21. Green care in Agriculture Deliverables During the action’s lifetime, the following deliverables will be made: Well-functioning multidisciplinary scientific networks at two levels, a complete multidisciplinary network and three working group networks. At least one multidisciplinary research program on Green care in agriculture, being offered to EU and to national research councils. The following are more difficult to quantify, and dependent on funding: Producing three scientific peer-reviewed papers based on joint work established early in the work of the Action, two of which are conceptually or theoretically based. Developing five international joint research projects based on work of the Action, Exchanging five young researchers (PhD students or postdocs), each for a few weeks. Further effects of new projects financed by the proposed research programme will come after the end of the Action.