Caring in, for, and with nature : An integrative framework to understand green care practices

Moriggi, Angela; Soini, Katriina; Bock, Bettina B.; Roep, Dirk


Green Care practices have received increasing scholarly attention in the last decade. Yet most studies are concerned with the aspect of human well-being, with less attention given to other caring dimensions and their relation to sustainability. This paper aims to contribute to an integrative understanding of Green Care by proposing an analytical framework inspired by the ethics of care literature and, in particular, Tronto's five stages of caring (about, for, with, giving, and receiving). The goal is to use a relational lens to appreciate the diverse caring practices and their potential in three Finnish cases studies-a care farm, a biodynamic farm, and a nature-tourism company. We apply the framework on data gathered during three years through an in-depth participatory action-oriented research. Findings show that: (a) Green Care practitioners share sustainability concerns that go beyond human well-being and that translate into practices with benefits for the target users, wider community, and ecosystems; (b) caring is a relational achievement attained through iterative processes of learning. Two concluding insights can be inferred: a care lens sheds light on practitioners' moral agency and its sustainability potential; in-depth creative methods are needed for a thorough and grounded investigation of human and non-human caring relations in Green Care practices.