Social Farming has come to the attention of an increasing range of rural stakeholders in recent years and numerous examples of social farming activities can be found around the EU-27 Member States. This interest is the result of a growing understanding of the potential role of agricultural and rural resources for enhancing the social, physical and mental well-being of people. At the same time, social farming also represents a new opportunity for farmers to deliver alternative services to broaden and diversify the scope of their activities and multi-functional role in society. This integration between agricultural and social activities can also provide farmers with new sources of income and enhance the image of agriculture in the ‘public eye’.
Joint Thematic Initiative
The NRN Joint Thematic Initiative for Social Farming was launched in December 2009 in response to a proposal from the Italian Rural Network for a group of NRNs to work together to identify and analyse the opportunities and obstacles presented by national/regional RDPs 2007-2013 for the implementation of Social Farming/green care activities in the EU-27. The specific aim of the Social Farming Thematic Initiative was “…to improve the implementation of RDPs in support of Social Farming and to provide inputs to the development of the future programming period at national and European level”. A total of seven NRNs participated in the Initiative – namely Austria, Belgium–Flanders, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom – and began to collect information on the state-of-play of Social Farming activities in their countries