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Agriculture - Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry
Greater social caring in farming

The problem

Socially disadvantaged people (psychophysical disabilities, convicts, drug addicts, minors with problems, etc.) are too often excluded from an active participation in social life, and considered as a problem for the society. Social farming offers an opportunity to care of and reintegrate disadvantaged people within the society, and represents an additional source of income for the farmers. However, this special activity involving farmers and social/health care services in a very scattered manner throughout the EU, lacks coordination and an appropriate legal framework. SoFar will produce recommendations to policy-makers to prepare for a new institutional environment for the promotion of social/care farming in Europe.

SoFar  Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry


SoFAR – social farming – will seek ways through which to rehabilitate socially disadvantaged people within the society. The project will assess the current practices within the participating countries and will analyse the different approaches to rehabilitation and social inclusion. It will highlight good practices and produce recommendations which could be used as basis for an EU-wide policy to promote social farming in the context of the Rural development policy. It will design innovation strategies and prioritise policies to maximise the rehabilitation and full integration of the socially disadvantage within the society, while providing diversification of activities and additional income to farmers.

Contribution to policy development:

  • The inventory of current activities will inform policy makers and managers of the current status of social farming and rehabilitation practice for the socially disadvantaged across the EU
  • SoFar will highlight good practice and policy areas where such practice should be introduced to improve the rehabilitation and the social inclusion of the socially disadvantaged
  • A prioritised programme of recommendations will not only underpin improved rehabilitation of the socially disadvantaged but help stem the pan-European drift of labour from the land

Project deliverables

  • Establish project website – September 2006
  • Report: Inventory of social care for farmers and third stakeholders – January 2006
  • Report: Regional & national innovation strategies – September 2007
  • Report: European innovation strategy – May 2008
  • Report: Project conclusions and policy implementation plan – October 2008


  • An open access website will present project background, participants, progress and reports
  • Newsletters will be widely circulated and progress highlighted in a series of press releases
  • A series of 4-6 regional meetings and two international conferences will draw in a wide range of contributors and interested parties
  • The final conclusions will be prepared for publication as both a book and information DVD
  • Project participants will present findings to formal and informal meetings and other networks as opportunities arise

Technical information

Project acronym: So Far
Project’s official full title: Social Services in Multifunctional Farms (‘Social Farming’)
Research priority: Priority 8 – Specific Support to Policy
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 022682
Start date: May 2006
Kick off meeting: May 2006
Completion date: October 2008
European Commission scientific officer: Massimo Burioni

Coordinator: Professor Francesco Di Iacovo
Name: Dipartimento di Produzione Animale, University of Pisa
Abbreviated name: Uni Pi
Address: Viale Delle Piagge, 2 56124 Pisa
Country: Italy
Tel: +39 050-2216918
Fax: +39 050-2216921


Name: Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research Centre
Abbreviated name: PRI
Country: The Netherlands     

Name: Forschungsinstitut für Biologischen Landbau (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), Standort Witzenhausen
Abbreviated name: FiBL
Country: Germany         

Name: University of Ghent Faculty of bioscience, engineering, Department Agricultural Economics
Abbreviated name: UGent
Country: Belgium           

Name: Univeristy of Lubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Agronomy
Abbreviated name: ULBFA
Country: Slovenia          

Name: QAP Decision
Abbreviated name: QAP
Country: France 

Name: National University of Ireland, Dublin
Abbreviated name: UCD
Country: Ireland 

Name: Agenzia Regione Toscana Sviluppo ed Innovazione in Agricoltura, Italy
Abbreviated name: ARSIA
Country: Italy