Green care in Norway: farms as a resource for the educational, health and social sector
AbstractIn Norway, Green Care comprises farm-based services to schools as well as health and social care. Farms can be used to host a wide range of activities, such as kindergartens, after-school programmes, school projects and theme assignments, education adapted to pupils with special needs, activities and tasks designed for psychiatric patients, mentally impaired and elderly with dementia. Green Care farms can also assist child-welfare authorities, e.g., by acting as day-care centres or foster homes. Three case presentations of service farms are given. As a large fraction of Norwegian farms are rather small, they are well suited for such services, which in most cases are paid by the local municipality. The county departments of agriculture provide advice and help in developing quality-assurance tools for the Green Care services and their physical environments. For persons with mental disorders, e.g., a psychiatric institution has the professional responsibility. Scientific research on Green Care is performed at two institutions. The Centre for Rural Research has conducted a nation-wide survey of Green Care farms. At The Agricultural University of Norway, research focuses on effects of working with farm animals on persons with mental disorders, and on health effects of plants indoors and in the working environment. This university also gives courses on Green Care at Bachelor level and as continuing education to farmers and health personnel. The chapter ends with a discussion on future challenges related to Green Care
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