Green Care

Green Care refers to all activities that lead to an improvement in the quality of life of human beings through the use of nature’s resources. In Europe, scientific research in this field has spread over the last few decades, and it also includes Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) and social farming, as the involvement of animals and plants is fundamental in both fields. Social farming is a complex phenomenon that links multifunctionality in agriculture to social innovation, providing new opportunities for rural and peri-urban areas in both production and service provision.

In Italy, social farming is regulated by Law no. 141 of 18 August 2015, which applies to social cooperatives and agricultural entrepreneurs and distinguishes four specific areas:

  • a) social and work inclusion of disabled, disadvantaged and minors of working age in rehabilitation and social support projects;
  • b) social services and activities for local communities through the use of the tangible and intangible resources of agriculture to promote, accompany and implement actions aimed at the development of skills and capacities, social and work inclusion, recreation and useful services for daily life;
  • c) activities and services that work alongside and support medical, psychological and rehabilitative therapies aimed at improving the health conditions and social, emotional and cognitive functions of the subjects involved, also with the help of farm animals and the cultivation of plants;
  • d) projects aimed at environmental and food education, the safeguarding of biodiversity and the dissemination of local knowledge through the organisation of regionally recognised social and educational farms, such as initiatives to welcome and accommodate pre-school children and people with social, physical and mental difficulties.

In Italy, in addition to the scientific context, legislation also links AAI to social farming. In 2018, with Ministerial Decree No. 12550 of the Ministry of Agriculture, AAI (provided according to the Agreement between the Government, the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano) were included among the activities of letter c described above. This connection opens up a wide range of applications on the various territories with the prospect of an integration of AAI and social farming practices with traditional welfare useful for bridging welfare gaps and providing an innovative approach based on the concepts of Community Care and One Welfare.

This is the context for the research line on Green Care that the Italian National Reference Centre for Animal Assisted Interventions (NRC AAI) is developing, also in compliance with its tasks of promoting research and enhancing collaborations with human medicine.


Publications about Green Care topics by researchers of the Italian National Reference Centre for Animal Assisted Interventions.


Abstract and Conferences