European agriculture and rural areas are facing multiple socio-economic changes, including a transition from an agriculture-based to a service-based economy. This restructuring forces agricultural and rural actor-networks to reformulate their (self-)definitions. One reformulation prevailing both in policy and scientific circles focuses on the notion of multifunctional agriculture (MFA). This paper critically examines the dominant role that this notion has played in legitimising and shaping the pathways of rural development now present in Europe. More specifically, we examine MFA's role in promoting and organising Green Care as an innovative agricultural activity in the Netherlands and in Flanders (Belgium). We will demonstrate that the MFA frame does not sufficiently grasp the complex reality of Green Care developments. More importantly, the dominance of the MFA frame and related practices and institutional structures enable as well as constrain Green Care's continuity and further development.
- policy discourses