Green Care: A Review of the Benefits and Potential of Animal-Assisted Care Farming Globally and in Rural America




Artz, Brianna
Davis, Doris Bitler

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The term Green Care includes therapeutic, social or educational interventions involving farming; farm animals; gardening or general contact with nature. Although Green Care can occur in any setting in which there is interaction with plants or animals, this review focuses on therapeutic practices occurring on farms. The efficacy of care farming is discussed and the broad utilization of care farming and farm care communities in Europe is reviewed. Though evidence from care farms in the United States is included in this review, the empirical evidence which could determine its efficacy is lacking. For example, the empirical evidence supporting or refuting the efficacy of therapeutic horseback riding in adults is minimal, while there is little non-equine care farming literature with children. The health care systems in Europe are also much different than those in the United States. In order for insurance companies to cover Green Care techniques in the United States, extensive research is necessary. This paper proposes community-based ways that Green Care methods can be utilized without insurance in the United States. Though Green Care can certainly be provided in urban areas, this paper focuses on ways rural areas can utilize existing farms to benefit the mental and physical health of their communities.