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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061282

Farming for Life Quality and Sustainability: A Literature Review of Green Care Research Trends in Europe

1
Department of Applied Research and Agricultural Extension, Madrid Institute for Rural, Agricultural and Food Research and Development (IMIDRA), Finca Experimental ‘‘El Encín’’Ctra N-II, Km 38, Madrid 28800, Spain
2
Social-Ecological Systems Laboratory, Department of Ecology, Edificio de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, C/Darwin 2, Madrid 28049, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 17 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Environment, Green Operations and Sustainability)
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Abstract

Green care is an innovative approach that combines simultaneously caring for people and caring for land through three elements that have not been previously connected: (1) multifunctional agriculture and recognition of the plurality of agricultural system values; (2) social services and health care; and (3) the possibility of strengthening the farming sector and local communities. The current research provides a comprehensive overview of green care in Europe as a scientific discipline through a literature review (n = 98 studies). According to our results, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway and Sweden followed by Italy have led the scientific studies published in English. Green care research comprises a wide range of perspectives and frameworks (social farming, care farming, nature-based solutions, etc.) with differences in their specificities. Green care studies have mainly focused on measuring the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. Studies that evaluate its relevance in socio-economic and environmental terms are still limited. According to our results, the most common users studied were people suffering from psychological and mental ill health, while the most common activities were horticulture, animal husbandry and gardening. Finally, we discuss the potential of green care to reconnect people with nature and to diversify the farming sector providing new public services associated with the relational values society obtains from the contact with agricultural systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: connective agriculture; nature-based rehabilitation; relational value; social inclusion; systematic literature review; therapeutic horticulture; vulnerable stakeholder connective agriculture; nature-based rehabilitation; relational value; social inclusion; systematic literature review; therapeutic horticulture; vulnerable stakeholder
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García-Llorente, M.; Rubio-Olivar, R.; Gutierrez-Briceño, I. Farming for Life Quality and Sustainability: A Literature Review of Green Care Research Trends in Europe. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1282.

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