- Understanding care farming as a swiftly developing sector in the Netherlands
- Award date
- 19 September 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Care farming or social farming is a swiftly developing sector across Europe. Care farms combine agricultural production with health and social services. The Netherlands is one of the leading countries in care farming. The aim of this study was to better understand how the new sector of care farming emerged so quickly in the Netherlands using basic concepts from transition theory´s multi-level perspective (MLP) as a canvas. The story is one of different types of care farms developing over time, starting with pioneering activities by entrepreneurial farmers and health care professionals in niche experiments, the creation of supportive regime structures by the care farming sector and regime changes that affected the development of the sector. In the pioneering phase, financing structures, legitimacy and support structures were lacking. After this pioneering period, support of ministries and. changes in the care regime created a fertile ground for fast growth. MLP was helpful in understanding how the regime changes came about, it however did not have sufficient conceptual tools to understand agency and had examined multi-system transitions to a limited extent only. Insights into entrepreneurship, institutional entrepreneurship and social movement theory helped to better understand agency in MLP. The transition across system boundaries posed additional challenges: separated sectors, a lack of legitimacy, a lack of embeddedness and having to deal with different logics. Actors who used their dual identity, actors combining entrepreneurial and institutional behavior and actors connecting with embedded actors with corresponding logics were important in overcoming these challenges.
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