Special Issue "Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Valentina Cattivelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Regional Development, Eurac Research – Bolzano/Bozen (IT), Italy
Interests: social farming; urban gardening; urban agriculture; urban–rural linkages; regional economics
Dr. Christian Hoffmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Eurac Research Institute for Regional Development, 39100 Bozen, Südtirol, Italy
Interests: agricultural and forestry economics; economic transition processes in rural mountain areas; rural value-added chains; rural urban relationships; circular economy; statistics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in rural Europe will contribute to the current debate on the green care movement, presenting some innovative solutions and business models to apply social farming as an innovative diversification strategy.

The Issue will focus on the impact that social farming activities directly or indirectly have on the social-ecological transformation when fostering environmental knowledge building as well as well-being in and with nature. At the same time, it will evidence how social farming strengthens social capital in rural areas through the dissemination of culture and traditions in agriculture, the provision of social services, and the integration of people at risk of isolation.

Additionally, the Issue will present applicable governance and legal framework strategies from their countries that provide legal certainty, regulate the quality of services, and ensure financial viability.

Finally, it will investigate how social farming contributes to shifting agricultural activities from purely primary production towards service delivery. This extension of multifunctional farming enables new income opportunities to avoid farm abandonment and to counteract the typical phenomenon of de-growth, which rural areas are dealing with: demographic and agro-structural changes, brain drain, unemployment, vacant houses, or lacking services of general interest.

Dr. Valentina Cattivelli
Dr. Christian Hoffmann
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • social innovation
  • social farming
  • education
  • rural areas
  • rural development
  • diversification
  • care farm
  • green care
  • gardening
  • rural development
  • diversification

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Beyond Sustainability in Food Systems: Perspectives from Agroecology and Social Innovation
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7524; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187524 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1844
Abstract
Food security faces many multifaceted challenges, with effects ranging far beyond the sectors of agriculture and food science and involving all the multiscale components of sustainability. This paper puts forward our point of view about more sustainable and responsible approaches to food production [...] Read more.
Food security faces many multifaceted challenges, with effects ranging far beyond the sectors of agriculture and food science and involving all the multiscale components of sustainability. This paper puts forward our point of view about more sustainable and responsible approaches to food production research underlying the importance of knowledge and social innovation in agroecological practices. Increased demand for food worldwide and the diversification of food choices would suggest the adoption of highly productive, but low-resilient and unsustainable food production models. However, new perspectives are possible. These include the revitalization and valorization of family-based traditional agriculture and the promotion of diversified farming systems as a social and economic basis to foster social-ecological conversion. Additionally, they encompass the forecasting of the Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) and the drafting of a new agenda for food sovereignty. Thanks to a desk analysis, the study describes and discusses these perspectives, their trajectories and action research implications. The results suggest the need to adopt a more inclusive and systemic approach to the described problems, as the solutions require the promotion of responsibility within decision makers, professionals and consumers. This appears essential for reading, analyzing and understanding the complex ecological-functional, social and economic relations that characterize farming systems, as well as mobilizing local communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
Open AccessArticle
New Opportunities for Work Integration in Rural Areas: The ‘Social Flavour’ of Craft Beer in Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6351; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166351 - 07 Aug 2020
Viewed by 531
Abstract
The last decade has seen a flourishing of social agriculture cooperatives and the exponential growth of the craft beer sector in Italy. Social microbreweries (social cooperatives that operate in the craft beer sector) have started emerging but have not yet been a focus [...] Read more.
The last decade has seen a flourishing of social agriculture cooperatives and the exponential growth of the craft beer sector in Italy. Social microbreweries (social cooperatives that operate in the craft beer sector) have started emerging but have not yet been a focus of research. This paper explores the relationship between social agriculture and microbreweries in Italy, bridging the gap between social agricultural cooperation and craft beer production. It deploys a qualitative multiple case study methodology, based on the in-depth analysis of three case studies: Vecchia Orsa, one of the oldest social microbreweries in Italy; Pintalpina, which operates in a unique alpine setting; Articioc, established by a group of friends with a love of craft beer. This research suggests that the craft beer sector provides important opportunities for social innovation in social cooperatives, with a particular focus on the work integration of vulnerable people. In addition, this paper highlights different pathways for scaling social microbreweries, including focusing on organisational growth (growing the size of the business), scaling out (impacting greater numbers) and scaling deep (impacting cultural roots). Different scaling approaches are united by a common scaling strategy: network and partnership building. This emerges as an essential action to increase the impact of social microbreweries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Eco-Social Agriculture for Social Transformation and Environmental Sustainability: A Case Study of the UPAS-Project
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5510; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145510 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 617
Abstract
Rural areas are facing vulnerabilities and changes caused by negative social, economic and ecological externalities resulting from industrial agriculture systems. Locally embedded farms and bottom-linked approaches such as social cooperatives that act in the field of social agriculture are small, but valuable models [...] Read more.
Rural areas are facing vulnerabilities and changes caused by negative social, economic and ecological externalities resulting from industrial agriculture systems. Locally embedded farms and bottom-linked approaches such as social cooperatives that act in the field of social agriculture are small, but valuable models to counteract these trends. This article is based on a case study conducted within the transdisciplinary research and development project Unlocking the Potential of Social Agriculture (UPAS), 2017–2020—financed by the Free University of Bolzano. The main focus of the case study is to determine the impact of social agriculture initiatives on social and healthcare systems, the natural environment and the communities in which they act. Data collection includes a literature review, observations and interviews carried out on 35 case studies of social agriculture initiatives, mainly located in Italy. The field research points out that actors in the sector of social agriculture predominantly aim to integrate disadvantaged people socially and in terms of their labor, base their production on organic methods, and that social agriculture has the potential to foster eco-social transformation and development of rural areas by the combination of social and ecological concerns. Thus, we use the term “eco-social” agriculture to describe these approaches. Furthermore, five components of eco-social agriculture have been defined, which, together, offer an ideal set of acting principles, namely: (1) the empowerment and integration of disadvantaged people, (2) the promotion of environmentally friendly agricultural practices, (3) the protection of nature, resources and cultural landscape, (4) support to the local community, and (5) education for sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Social Farming in the Socio-Economic Development of Highly Marginal Regions: An Investigation in Calabria
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5285; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135285 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 779
Abstract
This paper focuses on social farming, a new “branch” which includes activities that make use of agricultural, rural and natural resources in order to produce food and social services. It investigates the case of Calabria, one of the least developed regions in Italy [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on social farming, a new “branch” which includes activities that make use of agricultural, rural and natural resources in order to produce food and social services. It investigates the case of Calabria, one of the least developed regions in Italy and in Europe, which suffers from several serious problems; for example, the low level of accessibility, and the presence of the Mafia organisations. We wondered whether in such a region social farming can make a significant contribution to its social and economic development. Using the data collected by means of a qualitative investigation of some of the most important Calabrian social farms, we studied their characteristics, their strategies, their social mission, and their role in the local socio-economic context. We found that most of them are successful, in both economic and social terms, and their role in the local community is positive. Moreover, they are making a valuable contribution to the cultural change required to overcome the predominance of the Mafia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Farming Evolutionary Web: from Public Intervention to Value Co-Production
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135269 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 635
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Italian Social Farming: the Network of Coldiretti and Campagna Amica
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5036; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125036 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
For the last ten years, Social farming (SF) has become an innovative practice able to connect multifunctional agriculture and novel social services for urban and rural areas in Italy and the EU. By looking at the experience from Italy, it is possible to [...] Read more.
For the last ten years, Social farming (SF) has become an innovative practice able to connect multifunctional agriculture and novel social services for urban and rural areas in Italy and the EU. By looking at the experience from Italy, it is possible to note that SF has not developed homogeneously along the national territory. It is characterized by a wide range of practices and activities related to the development of a welfare in which several topics such as subsidiarity, the value of relationship, and co-production find multiple meanings and applications. This paper provides a further contribution to the knowledge on this type of activity and opens the way to deeper considerations on the topic. The information reported in this study refers to a project born in 2018 and carried out by Fondazione Campagna Amica, a foundation promoted by Coldiretti, the main organization of agricultural entrepreneurs in Italy. This paper focuses on the analysis of data collected during this project, through in-depth interviews carried out from July 2018 to March 2019 among 229 agricultural enterprises, as well as meetings with representatives of the regional offices of Coldiretti that are involved in SF. This study aims to reach a better understanding of the development of SF in Italy through the perspective of a national network of farmers and to compare SF practices across regions in order to examine their similarities and differences. The most important results show big individual farms with a great variety of agricultural activities and livestock systems, with a clear predominance of horticulture. These SF farms mainly provide direct sales and educational activities and are involved in training and job placement services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Farming: Heterogeneity in Social and Agricultural Relationships
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4824; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124824 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1110
Abstract
Social farming (SF) has emerged as a social innovation practice shaping heterogeneous approaches and results. This study discusses the complexity of SF policy and practices, and it is led by the main hypothesis that the relationship between agricultural and social dimensions might be [...] Read more.
Social farming (SF) has emerged as a social innovation practice shaping heterogeneous approaches and results. This study discusses the complexity of SF policy and practices, and it is led by the main hypothesis that the relationship between agricultural and social dimensions might be very heterogeneous, not only in different national contexts but also within the same national and local level. SF policy and practices are investigated testing the hypothesis of three main different modalities of interaction according to how the social and the agricultural perspectives interact. In the first, social target is not involved in the production system of the farm and the farm is the context where actions and measures of a social nature take place. In the second type of interaction, the farm employs the beneficiaries in some of its production activities collaborating with the social services. The third is where the farm organizes its activities to actively employ targeted people to enhance their social inclusion and integration in the community. Italian SF policy and practices are analyzed as case study, through the lens of sociological critical discourse analysis regarding the regional regulatory documents, and interviews for local case studies. The results of the study show that SF policy and practices might be very heterogeneous also within the same national and local level, outlining different hybridization of social and agriculture actions that can be properly analyzed through the three SF model proposal. This study contributes to the broader debate on the various dimensions of sustainability, suggesting the need for further research on the efficiency of SF as local development model sustainable in economic, social and environmental terms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
Open AccessArticle
Social and Ecological High Influential Factors in Community Gardens Innovation: An Empirical Survey in Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114651 - 06 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
In 2015, The United Nations adopted an agenda for sustainable development in order to obtain “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and for the world now and in the future (United Nations). The United Nations has defined 17 main goals, [...] Read more.
In 2015, The United Nations adopted an agenda for sustainable development in order to obtain “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and for the world now and in the future (United Nations). The United Nations has defined 17 main goals, such as ending poverty, improving health, preserving the ocean, and tackling the climate change, in order to achieve worldwide sustainable development. Sustainable development is a crucial worldwide topic that encompasses three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. Nowadays, social ecological innovation has envisaged a new prominent business model focusing on social and environmental goals to achieve sustainable development. The intent of this paper is to propose the community garden framework as a social and ecological innovation tool in order to boost sustainable development in urban areas as well as rural areas. For this purpose, an empirical analysis based on a structured interview was conducted in the area of Naples on a sample of 150 gardeners. The results of the interviews have been aggregated by using a variance and correlation analysis in order to explore to what extent the social and environmental dimensions are linked to the community gardens and to identify a pattern between community gardens and social ecological innovation. Two attributes of community gardens, that is, urbanization effects mitigation and wellness and community, were identified as having the ability to influence other community garden attributes. Thus, the paper suggests using these highly influential factors to define a social and ecological innovation strategy based on a community gardens framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
Open AccessArticle
The Return on Investment in Social Farming: A Strategy for Sustainable Rural Development in Rural Catalonia
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4632; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114632 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 683
Abstract
Although social farming (SF) has been a successful endeavor in Catalonia over the last 30 years, it has not been visible for part of society, which is largely unaware of its existence. Nevertheless, this study has demonstrated after studying five cases that the [...] Read more.
Although social farming (SF) has been a successful endeavor in Catalonia over the last 30 years, it has not been visible for part of society, which is largely unaware of its existence. Nevertheless, this study has demonstrated after studying five cases that the social return on investment (SROI) has been significant in rural areas. In this study, five in-depth interviews were carried out, and a general questionnaire was sent to 161 SF projects in Catalonia with a view to analyzing the participation of stakeholders and the returns they have achieved. The SROI method and the benefits to different stakeholders are concisely described. Our main foci are people at risk of social exclusion, their families, and the project promoters, but we also believe it is essential to analyze the administration of projects and the settings in which they take place. It is calculated that there is a social, economic, and environmental return on investment in terms of the benefits to the territory’s sustainable local development at an approximate proportion of three euros for every euro invested. Without a doubt, SF can help to support proximity agriculture, thus favoring its development and viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Agency in the Emergence and Development of Social Innovations in Rural Areas. Analysis of Two Cases of Social Farming in Italy and The Netherlands
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4440; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114440 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 908
Abstract
Social innovation is considered a relevant concept to tackle societal challenges and needs in rural areas and to promote smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The characterising sector of rural areas is agriculture; therefore, the focus of this paper is on social innovation in [...] Read more.
Social innovation is considered a relevant concept to tackle societal challenges and needs in rural areas and to promote smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The characterising sector of rural areas is agriculture; therefore, the focus of this paper is on social innovation in the field of social farming. Among the many factors leading to the emergence and development of social innovation, agency has been considered relevant in the literature on transformability and transformative social innovation as it is the ability to turn contextual difficulties into opportunities for social innovation and for inclusive growth. This paper proposes an evaluation framework to assess the different dimensions of agency by triangulating quantitative with qualitative data and by using indicators. This paper adopts a case study approach, analysing two cases of social farming in Italy and the Netherlands. The results show that the social innovation idea and the resilience of the agency are among the most relevant dimensions for the emergence and development of social innovations. Finally, this paper discusses the three most relevant factors for agency to lead to social innovation: idea and embeddedness of the agency, transformability of the context through agency´s resilience, and agency as catalyst for empowerment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
The Motivation of Urban Gardens in Mountain Areas. The Case of South Tyrol
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104304 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1196
Abstract
Urban gardens have attracted considerable academic attention in recent years. Several studies have, in fact, emphasized their positive contribution in terms of social integration, community health, urban regeneration, and food security, and explored individual gardeners´ motivations behind these practices. While these topics are [...] Read more.
Urban gardens have attracted considerable academic attention in recent years. Several studies have, in fact, emphasized their positive contribution in terms of social integration, community health, urban regeneration, and food security, and explored individual gardeners´ motivations behind these practices. While these topics are well-documented with reference to metropolitan urban areas, few studies have been carried out in relation to other contexts such as mountain areas. This limited interest is probably due to the reduced urbanization of these areas, a preference for other forms of horticulture (essentially those practiced in people’s own homes) or the use of different solutions to mitigate the negative effects of social problems. The recent proliferation of urban gardens in South Tyrol (IT) makes this mountain province an interesting laboratory for practices and narratives associated with socially innovative urban gardening experiences. This paper presents a characterization of all urban gardening initiatives in South Tyrol through cartographical representation. It explains gardeners´ and public institutions´ motivations, as well as non-gardeners’ perceptions of urban gardening. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in the various South Tyrolean municipalities where urban gardening projects have been undertaken. The results suggest the great importance of the social and environmental aspect of urban gardens, and an interest in reconnecting with food practices even when food access is not a priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Migrants Workers and Processes of Social Inclusion in Italy: The Possibilities Offered by Social Farming
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 3991; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12103991 - 13 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 811
Abstract
The agricultural sector, even though it has been greatly reduced and is in constant transformation, continues to be of strategic importance. Although it does not represent a quantitatively relevant employment sector, the dynamics are interesting because they reflect the structural, economic, and social [...] Read more.
The agricultural sector, even though it has been greatly reduced and is in constant transformation, continues to be of strategic importance. Although it does not represent a quantitatively relevant employment sector, the dynamics are interesting because they reflect the structural, economic, and social transformations that are affecting the sector in recent years; there is a growing need for external labor that corresponds to a massive recourse of foreigners to work. Innovative approaches are required to explore the capacity of social farming to create a sustainable and inclusive workplace for migrants. The overall methodological approach of the paper seeks to synthesize fieldwork research and qualitative interviewing to validate the Italian inclusive model. To do this, we have selected four experiences of Italian social agriculture in which migrants are included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
The Care Farming Sector in The Netherlands: A Reflection on Its Developments and Promising Innovations
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3811; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093811 - 07 May 2020
Viewed by 934
Abstract
This paper describes the development of care farming in the Netherlands, one of the pioneering countries in this sector, where care farming has developed into a very diverse sector, with some farmers focussing primarily on agricultural production and others more specifically on providing [...] Read more.
This paper describes the development of care farming in the Netherlands, one of the pioneering countries in this sector, where care farming has developed into a very diverse sector, with some farmers focussing primarily on agricultural production and others more specifically on providing care services. Care farms are increasingly open to a diversity of participants. The sector has become professionalised with the establishment of strong regional organisations and a steady growth increase in revenues, providing employment opportunities and boosting the economy of rural areas. In this paper, we highlight two promising innovations in care farming: education for school dropouts and the establishment of social farming activities in cities. These innovations face the challenge of connecting not only the agricultural and care sectors, but also the educational sector and the urban context. Initiators face a number of challenges, like trying to embed their activities in the educational sector, a mismatch in regulations and a lack of legitimacy in the case of education on care farms, as well as problems gaining access to land and a lack of recognition in the case of social farming in urban areas. However, the prospects are promising in both cases, because they match the changing demands in Dutch society and are able to integrate social, ecological and economic benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
Open AccessArticle
Caring in, for, and with Nature: An Integrative Framework to Understand Green Care Practices
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3361; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083361 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1401
Abstract
Green Care practices have received increasing scholarly attention in the last decade. Yet most studies are concerned with the aspect of human well-being, with less attention given to other caring dimensions and their relation to sustainability. This paper aims to contribute to an [...] Read more.
Green Care practices have received increasing scholarly attention in the last decade. Yet most studies are concerned with the aspect of human well-being, with less attention given to other caring dimensions and their relation to sustainability. This paper aims to contribute to an integrative understanding of Green Care by proposing an analytical framework inspired by the ethics of care literature and, in particular, Tronto’s five stages of caring (about, for, with, giving, and receiving). The goal is to use a relational lens to appreciate the diverse caring practices and their potential in three Finnish cases studies—a care farm, a biodynamic farm, and a nature-tourism company. We apply the framework on data gathered during three years through an in-depth participatory action-oriented research. Findings show that: (a) Green Care practitioners share sustainability concerns that go beyond human well-being and that translate into practices with benefits for the target users, wider community, and ecosystems; (b) caring is a relational achievement attained through iterative processes of learning. Two concluding insights can be inferred: a care lens sheds light on practitioners’ moral agency and its sustainability potential; in-depth creative methods are needed for a thorough and grounded investigation of human and non-human caring relations in Green Care practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Community-Supported Agriculture as a Perspective Model for the Development of Small Agricultural Holding in the Region
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072656 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 712
Abstract
Globalization and the related processes of land and capital concentration are also present in Polish agriculture. As a result of the occurring changes in agriculture itself and in its environment, the importance of small agricultural holdings is permanently declining. The gradual disappearance of [...] Read more.
Globalization and the related processes of land and capital concentration are also present in Polish agriculture. As a result of the occurring changes in agriculture itself and in its environment, the importance of small agricultural holdings is permanently declining. The gradual disappearance of small family farms not only disrupts the direct relationships between food producers and consumers, but also puts food security at risk, primarily on a local and regional scale. The purpose of the article is an attempt to present that the development of Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) can offer an alternative to the occurring current distribution channels. The article is focused on the possibilities of CSA development in the Wrocław district resulting from the proximity of the largest market in the Lower Silesia region—Wrocław (the capital of Lower Silesia in Poland). The survey covered 400 agricultural holdings located in nine municipalities of the Wrocław district. The conducted research has shown that the CSA model opens opportunities for a long-lasting cooperation between farmers and consumers, but its implementation requires an increase in the prices of agricultural products offered by farmers by about 50%, as well as solutions to the cost-related problems of agricultural product transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Farms in Progress-Providing Childcare Services as a Means of Empowering Women Farmers in South Tyrol, Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020467 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
In recent years, social farming has developed into an opportunity for income diversification in the South Tyrolean agricultural sector. In the northern Italian province, predominantly women farmers implement the provision of social services on farms. Starting from rural gender studies and women empowerment-literature, [...] Read more.
In recent years, social farming has developed into an opportunity for income diversification in the South Tyrolean agricultural sector. In the northern Italian province, predominantly women farmers implement the provision of social services on farms. Starting from rural gender studies and women empowerment-literature, we hypothesize that social farming promotes the empowerment of the involved women. Accordingly, our study investigates the recognized impacts of offering farm-based childcare services on three types of power: power to, power with, and power within. In order to test our hypothesis, we conducted semi-structured interviews with seven women farmers that provide childcare services and with four experts. The results show that the provision of childcare services has enhanced the autonomy of women farmers and has had positive impacts on their skills and competences. This activity has changed their social role in the community by revalorizing rural lifestyles and by enabling the reconciliation of work and personal life for working mothers. Nevertheless, women farmers have recognized some negative effects on their workload, and on their interfamilial as well as other social relations. Finally, the study discusses the relationship between the specific ethno-linguistic context in South Tyrol and the effects of the activity of childcare provision on women farmers’ empowerment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)

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Open AccessCase Report
Social Innovation and Food Provisioning during Covid-19: The Case of Urban–Rural Initiatives in the Province of Naples
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4444; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114444 - 30 May 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2228
Abstract
This paper draws on the theoretical framework based on social innovation determinants to analyze how and to what extent the recent and self-organized initiatives for food provisioning are contributing to increase food accessibility at the time of personal and mobility restrictions due to [...] Read more.
This paper draws on the theoretical framework based on social innovation determinants to analyze how and to what extent the recent and self-organized initiatives for food provisioning are contributing to increase food accessibility at the time of personal and mobility restrictions due to Covid-19. Based on this, the paper firstly maps the initiatives activated during the first months of the Covid-19 emergency (March and April 2020) in the urban–rural territories in the province of Naples (Italy). Secondly, it characterizes these initiatives in relation to their capacity to enhance outcome and social well-being, as well as to involve local society in answer to social challenges through a desk research. Thirdly, the paper describes the case of Masseria Ferraioli, which emerges as social innovative best practice among the previous mapped initiatives. Even in these days, the Masseria distributes to people who cannot afford the purchase due to the emergency vegetables grown on land confiscated from the Camorra, the local mafia. Its configuration as social innovative experience is also confirmed directly by the Masseria´s project manager, who was required to answer to a semi-structured interview. Based on the evidence of the desk research and this interview, the paper demonstrates the importance of the combined commitment of local communities and volunteering association as a reaction to food provisioning problems in the time of Covid-19, as well as an increasing interest in reconnecting with local food practices, above all when food access has become a priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Farming for Social Innovation and Viability in Rural Areas)
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