Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum


Social farming (also called care farming): an innovative approach for promoting women’s economic empowerment, decent rural employment and social inclusion. What works in developing countries?

Social farming (also called care farming, more information available here) is a farming practice that uses agricultural resources to provide social or educational care services for vulnerable groups of people. It is widely practiced in Europe and now we are looking for examples of care farming in developing countries.

Concrete care farming examples include:

  • the provision of on-farm child and elderly care services
  • the integration of disadvantaged groups in productive activities to promote their rehabilitation, social inclusion and employability.

Social / Care farming experiences from European countries have shown that economic participation helps vulnerable persons (e.g. people with intellectual or physical disabilities, ex-combatants, convicts, etc.) integrate back into society. It does this by providing them with new skills and by rewarding them with a feeling of utility and self-appreciation.

Other experiences which focus on providing care and educational services are good models (e.g. the Italian kindergarten farms –‘agriasilo’-) for delivering innovative and effective social services in remote rural areas where public care services are often non-existent or inadequate, inaccessible and of poor quality.

The purpose of this discussion

While many examples of the use of care farming in developed countries exist, we are looking for examples from developing countries contexts, specifically in rural areas. The case studies will be analysed to develop a framework for promoting care farming practices in developing countries.

We hope that this forum discussion will solicit lots of interest around care farming practices, how they work and what makes them successful, and how the concept can be adapted to less developed countries. We would be interested in how care farming may help fill gaps in social service provision as well as provide rural employment opportunities – especially to women. Please include as many details as possible in your contribution, for example:

  • details about the service providers (organizational form, agricultural activities, type of service offered, motivation of the provision of such services);
  • users (who they are, what is the main benefit for them);
  • financing methods or business model;
  • main challenges;
  • who else is involved (public health sector, private sector, professional organizations etc.);
  • related regulatory or policy frameworks;
  • any other relevant information.

The examples you will share will be part of a compilation of care farming practices. Through these cases we wish to explore the potential of social / care farming for care and educational service provision in poor rural areas with the goal of strengthening rural women’s economic empowerment, decent rural employment creation, and social inclusion. In collaboration with the University of Pisa and other international and national partners, we will also develop a country implementation framework to support countries’ efforts for reducing the burden of rural women’s unpaid care work by promoting social / care farming practices.

We look forward to a very interesting and rich discussion.

Thank you very much in advance for your contribution!

Hajnalka Petrics
Gender and Development Officer
Social Protection Division
Cross-cutting Theme on Gender

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