Farm-based day care on the market: The case of dementia care services in Norway

ABSTRACT: In line with the multifunctional agriculture discourse, care farming is highlighted by governments as a promising
service—as an additional source of income for farmers and as a current alternative or supplement to ordinary
public care services. Based on the rather modest number of care farming services and their often unstable existence,
this paper examines critical aspects of the market relation between providers and buyers when it comes
to ensuring sustainable and persistent farm-based day care services. Our analysis is based on interviews with
farmers as providers of farm-based day care services for people with dementia living in their own homes and with
representatives from the municipal health sector as buyers of these services. One of the findings is that the askew,
yet harmony-characterised, power structure between the market actors makes professional ordering of care
farming services critical to the providers’ endurance and wellbeing. The paper concludes that the market relation
between providers and buyers could be strengthened, but vulnerabilities related to such a relationship are