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Social/Care Farming in Slovenia

In Slovenia, as in many EU countries social farming is not organised yet, but rather a patchwork like reality mostly developed on voluntary bases, bottom-up actions, and not supported by any specific policies and/or institutional framework. However, an increasing interest for making use of the positive effects of farming/gardening, as well as domestic animals on quality of life of different groups of people with special needs is emerging. Also key stakeholders – farmers and people with special needs – know very little or nothing about social farming and practically have no experience in it, they show a fair interest and preference for possibilities offered by social farming. Furthermore, through good practices in the field of interlacing agriculture with occupational therapy and activities in many of welfare institutions the needed know-how is building up. But for the national-wide expansion of social farming its’ “inclusion” and “normalisation” are needed. This means that social farming has to be included into (common) agricultural policy, as well as into social welfare policies. Thus, it is apparent that the building of a new institutional environment is a crucial prerequisite for the economic viability and public recognition of social farming as a new dynamic scenario of sustainable rural development.