Publications

The Care Farming Sector in The Netherlands: A Reflection on Its Developments and Promising Innovations

Hassink, Jan; Agricola, Herman; Veen, Esther J.; Pijpker, Roald; Bruin, Simone R. De; Meulen, Harold A.B. van der; Plug, Lana B.

Summary

This paper describes the development of care farming in the Netherlands, one of the pioneering countries in this sector, where care farming has developed into a very diverse sector, with some farmers focussing primarily on agricultural production and others more specifically on providing care services. Care farms are increasingly open to a diversity of participants. The sector has become professionalised with the establishment of strong regional organisations and a steady growth increase in revenues, providing employment opportunities and boosting the economy of rural areas. In this paper, we highlight two promising innovations in care farming: education for school dropouts and the establishment of social farming activities in cities. These innovations face the challenge of connecting not only the agricultural and care sectors, but also the educational sector and the urban context. Initiators face a number of challenges, like trying to embed their activities in the educational sector, a mismatch in regulations and a lack of legitimacy in the case of education on care farms, as well as problems gaining access to land and a lack of recognition in the case of social farming in urban areas. However, the prospects are promising in both cases, because they match the changing demands in Dutch society and are able to integrate social, ecological and economic benefits. View Full-Text