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Call for papers on Green Care

From 1-4 April 2012, the Rural Sociology Group of the Wageningen University and Research centre is organizing the International Conference on Multifunctional Agriculture and Urban-Rural Relations in Wageningen (Netherlands). A number of members from our Farming for Health community have convened a working group on green care and published a call for papers which you can find below. The deadline for abstracts is 20 December 2011 (in two weeks!)

Call for papers

Over the past years, the use of nature/agriculture for therapeutic and inclusion purposes has been quickly growing quickly, following different models throughout Europe. Such initiatives, under different names and labels, fits many needs and demands both in rural and peri-urban areas, involving a wide variety of actors such as farmers, the third sector, health and social sectors, service-users and their families and local communities. Green care initiatives are based on some key concepts such as inter-dependency, respect and responsibility, mutual comprehension and participation., pro-activity. Such practices are based on the interaction with biological cycles as well as with a specific use of time and space.

The scientific and the societal debate on multifunctional agriculture normally underplays social outcomes even in the face of existing practices. This topic opens a trans-disciplinary debate and, consequently, may be analysed by using a wide range of theoretical and methodological tools and may be studied from many points of view. Green care is emerging in a process of deep change in  public intervention, both in agriculture and in the social and health sectors. The reorganisation of  economic processes on a global scale is re-orienting local systems and territories to providing answers to local needs and by better mobilising local non-specialised resources – such as  agriculture – for new and diverse purposes. At farm level, social farming may have profound implications for  on-farm diversification, but also for  the organisation of a more civic model of agriculture, better connected to  local communities’ needs and based on a more collaborative and responsible attitude. In the organisation of  public intervention, a different models exist regarding  services based on the concept the provision of care or  more community-based organisations linked to the idea of social justice.

The impact of interventions and their evaluation can be different  according to projects’ specific features; aspects related to particular service- users, effects on local social capital, cost/effectiveness ratio in terms of public expenditure and , impact at farm level. The social use of multifunctional agriculture lives exists in  a dynamic cycle that is connected with processes of collective learning based on the mode 2 of production of knowledge, the comparison among diverse discourses, the definition of new organisational and institutional arrangements,  all of which are  highly demanding in terms of innovation governance.

In this WG, contributions will be accepted from many diverse perspectives including  the  health/social care domains, sociological and economic research, policy analysis, in the form of with both the contribution from of researchers/academics as well as practitioners, in accordance with a process of knowledge brokerage.

Abstracts for this working group can be submitted to:

Francesco Di Iacovo | Pisa University, Italy | francovo@Vet.Unipi.IT


  • Franscesco di Iacovo | Pisa University, Italy
  • Frode Veggeland | Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute, Norway
  • Deirdre O’Connor | University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Marjolein Elings | Wageningen UR, The Netherlands
  • Jan Hassink | Wageningen UR, The Netherlands


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