A multifunctional social economy offer to the Danish welfare state? The case of Farming for Health in Denmark: The case of Farming for Health in Denmark

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Social Farming and Farming for Health are both internationally accepted names for farms that in addition to their agricultural production offer social, medical care or educational services. Such services could for example be related to rehabilitation / reintegration of socially disadvantaged people to promote integration of minorities, to special education of maladjusted school pupils and to physical or mental therapeutic rehabilitation. In Europe there has in recent years been an increasing focus on this linkage between farming and social / health activities as an initiative that encourages relations between urban and rural areas that create a new basis for rural development by giving the growing number of part-time farmers an additional income and an additional offer for the social, education, nursing and health sector (Di lacovo, 2008). A number of research and resolution
initiatives have been launched; including SoFar under the EU 6th Framework Program and the EU COST cooperation program which, inter alia, seek to identify the scope, the contents and the significance of linkage between agricultural production and social activities (sofar, 2010; COST, 2010). Denmark, like several of the EU countries, experiences an increase in the number of farms that need to have an additional income (an 8% increase in Denmark in 2008 (LF, 2010)). At the same time there is also a growing demand for special education and health services. The number of pupils needing special education increased with about 1 / 3 from ‘96/’97 to ‘06/’07, and of the 11,184 children who received special education in ‘06/’07, more than one third had serious psychological and behavioral problems (UNI -C, 2008). Nevertheless, Denmark is not taking part in the above mentioned European research projects and therefore there is only limited knowledge about Farming for Health in Denmark. This paper wants to remedy this lack of knowledge and examines the conditions for Farming for Health in Denmark. To determine if the European and Danish farms with social activities are comparable, initially the next section presents some interpretations on concept clarification and reflections from the European studies. After that section 3 presents results from a Danish case study of farms with social activities and discusses those against the EU studies results. To clarify the conditions for Farming for Health in Denmark, sections 4 and 5, respectively, discuss if the results from the Danish case study are against the institutional framework inside the Danish agricultural environment and against the institutional framework within the Danish fourth sector. The paper ends by concluding that neither the institutional frames inside the Danish agriculture nor inside the fourth sector meet the practices of Farming for Health in Denmark. In addition it concludes that if Farming for Health should be an offer for the Danish welfare state then cooperation between for example bottom-up initiatives supported by the LEADER program and actors from the policy makers within the fourth sector about creation of the needed institutional frames may be a way forward.
Translated title of the contributionEt multifunktionelt socialøkonomisk bidrag til den danske velfærdsstat?: Et dansk case studie af Green Care
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference: Nordic Rural Futures – Pressures and Possibilities : Uppsala, Sweden May 3-5 2010
EditorsStina Powell
Number of pages21
PublisherDepartment of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Publication date3. May 2010
Publication statusPublished - 3. May 2010

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