Science - November 25, 2004

Hoge Born new therapeutic farm

The old test farm De Hoge Born, just outside Wageningen, is being transformed into a therapeutic farm.The building will undergo extensive conversion so that there is residential accommodation for patients.

The aim is to make Hoge Born the centre of the growing movement for therapeutic farms in the Netherlands, which will also include research. There are already mentally handicapped people and psychiatric patients doing horticultural work on the farm, which is in the process of converting to organic farming. In a few years the farm will be able to sell organic produce.
There are big plans: at the beginning of December Wageningen UR will sign an agreement with the Arta-Lievegoedgroep, a mental health care organisation that works according to the principles of Rudolf Steiner. Arta-Lievegoedgroep will lease the building from Wageningen UR for twenty-five years and will run the therapeutic farm community and finance the conversion. There will be space for fifteen clinical psychiatric patients, which will entail accommodation with nursing, psychological and psychiatric care on the farm itself, so that patients can live there. There will also be work for day patients on the farm. The staff will be about thirty strong, consisting of carers, work supervisors, psychologists, psychiatrists, farmers and researchers.
The idea to create a therapeutic farm came from a researcher, Dr Jan Hassink who works at Plant Research International. Hassink has done many years of research on therapeutic farming and presented the idea to the task force WaardeNvolle Landbouw after they made a call for innovative ideas. / JT

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