The organization of multifunctional agriculture for the provision of social/health/educational services is spreading throughout Europe and elsewhere. This concept is not new, and the organization of practices differs according to each country’s welfare model. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the existing practices and trends and to provide a suitable comprehensive framework. Starting from long-term research action on this topic started in 1999 and from participation in European research projects and networks, this paper reflects on the features of existing practices and distinguishes emerging social farming models. Specific attention is given to the potential of social farming for both global change and the re-organization of local societies and welfare organizations. The diverse social farming models and their interactions with emerging constraints and needs during times of challenge and crisis, such as those we are currently experiencing, are considered in order to understand their basic principles (from direct support to co-production models), as well as how they correlate with the ongoing process of welfare reorganization and evolutionary societal demands.
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