Green Care and care farming in Finland

mkki_ja_jrvi.JPGIn Finland social farming is considered as a type of so called green care -service. Green Care is currently understood as a wide umbrella concept for the care services utilizing nature (animals, plants, landscape, farms) and community based methods for helping various target groups among social and health sector as well as in sector of education. To the target groups include different age groups as well as groups having different disadvantages: mental or physical health problems, disorders, social problems etc. Green Care services are targeting to social inclusion and integration, training, rehabilitation, care and education. In Finland, the term Green Care is much better known and better accepted than translation of the term Social Farming, SF.
 
In Finland, at resent years, providing of GC-services has been considered as a new business opportunity for farmers to build up their farm businesses to be multifunctional in order to get income from both agriculture and care sector. On the other hand from the point of view of social and health care sector, principles of Green Care services are not new at all. It seems like private farms or private care providers are the main groups providing GC-services in Finland at the moment. In Finland public sector is an important partner and client as it seems like most service usage are funded by public sector.
 
lapset_lampaitaRiding therapy is the best known form of GC-activity in Finland. The riding therapy session for rehabilitation purposes can be funded by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, or by the Social Services of Municipalities or by some patient associations. However, the riding therapist must be qualified through certain determinate education. Furthermore, the Social-pedagogic horse-assisted activity is an intervention method, which usage seems to grow all the time in Finland. To get a suitable education, social-pedagogic horse-assisted activities can be studied at least in three places at the moment. It is also possible to take some courses (10-15 grades) about garden therapy in few places, and it is commonly used by some care institutions and therapists. The Special education in Green Care is just starting in Finland by at least one of Finnish Countryside Colleges.
 
Links:
 
• MTT:n Green Care –sivut: www.mtt.fi/greencare
• Green Care Finland ry: www.gcfinland.fi