Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Hajnalka Petrics

Organization: FAO OSG
Country: Italy

Hajnalka Petrics is Programme Officer at FAO’s Office of Sustainable Development Goals (OSG). She leads OSG's workstream on Prototyping and Scaling up innovative agrifood initiatives for SDG integration and acceleration. Previously she was the Global Programme Coordinator of the EU-RBA Joint Programme on Gender Transformative Approaches for Food Security and Nutrition. Between 2010 and 2019 she worked as Gender and Development Officer at the Inclusive Rural Transformations and Gender Equality Division and before that as a Rural Development and Gender Technical Officer in FAO’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. Her BA is in Economics from the Budapest Business School and her PhD is in International Cooperation and Sustainable Development Policies from the University of Bologna. In 2007 she was a fellow researcher at the Rural Sociology Group of the University of Wageningen where she researched rural development theories and practices with a focus on multifunctional agriculture. Between 2008 and 2010 she represented Hungary in the EU COST Action Programme (European Cooperation on Science and Technology) on Green Care in Agriculture.

This member contributed to:

    • Dear contributors,

      The e-consultation on 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?’ is now over and I would like to thank you all for the ideas, insights, experiences shared to enrich our discussion.

      We received 46 contributions from 24 countries: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and the United States of America.

      The consultation helped us gain a better understanding of how the term social (or care) farming is known outside of academic circles that have been studying this farming practice. 

      We recognize that what we mean by social/care farming may not be so clear and that the term can be interpreted very broadly. We hope that the methodological approach and the country implementation framework we are elaborating will define social/care farming more clearly. This will help practitioners and policy makers recognize and promote it.

      We appreciate the concrete examples of social farming in action that have been shared with us by Gemma Todd (Tanzania), Simone Staiger (Colombia) and Magda Rich (India), among others.

      We are also grateful for those who contributed methodological notes. These will be valuable for further defining the concept paper and the Rapid Social Farming Appraisal Framework.

      We will be in touch with you to further discuss aspects of social/care farming as we go ahead with our analysis and the preparation of the country implementation framework.

      In the meantime, we will retain your comments for others to read and look forward to your engagement on future themes. A summary of the key points from the discussion which highlights the case studies will be made available on the FSN forum website.

      Many thanks,

      Hajnalka Petrics


    • Dear Colleagues and Friends,

      Many thanks to you all who have submitted a contribution to this forum discussion until now...

      We encourage you to come back and provide further reflections or also comments to other people’s contribution. I was delighted to see how George Kent actually summarized previous contributions and made some further thinking on them. Thank you George!

      We also hope that many others will still contribute as the forum will be open until 16 May 2014.

      Peter Steele’s contribution is highly appreciated. I personally feel delighted that he provided his comments as he with other colleagues from FAO were the pioneers of one of the themes that is closely related to Care/Social Farming, namely the one which concentrates on how to involve people with disabilities in Agriculture. I am grateful for his insights and the Guidelines he shared will be very useful for the development of the framework on Care/Social Farming.

      Among others, Peter refers to the government’s responsibilities in providing care services for the disabled and to the fact that often people with disabilities rely only on public authorities to provide the much needed services. This is a very important aspect, and raises further thoughts about the roles of the different sectors, including the public, private, public-private and the community.

      He also mentions that nonetheless of the many well-intended initiatives, laws and regulations to provide people with disabilities the same life opportunities, they continue to live marginalized. Among the main reasons is that these initiatives often focuses only on health and social development, but do not manage to have a real empowering effect, that is, an effect that makes people with disabilities feel useful and appreciated. Creating opportunities for them to engage in meaningful employment through care farming can be a means to achieve this effect. The importance of gainful employment for empowerment was confirmed earlier also by Magda Rich when she shared her experience from India and said that “another reason why they (people with disabilities) are considered as a curse or a burden to their families is because they are not financially productive. ... financial inclusion is extremely important. It is one of the basic ways to gain respect and become part of the community.”

      Finally, Peter confirms that developing a long term strategy in consultation with all relevant actors is the one that can have lasting and sustainable impact.  This is what we intend to do, to develop with a participatory approach a framework that can be useful to help national initiatives to encourage and sustain care/social farming practices for the benefit of small-scale local farmers, rural women and those in need of social services, in particular, the children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other socially disadvantaged groups. The overall aim is to foster sustainable initiatives that can lead to improvements in food security, poverty reduction and social inclusion

      Nuttitude K. Price from Australia suggested that we watch the Food Inc movie. I have not seen it but could watch the trailer online. It seems that the movie is really relevant. It calls for a change in farming and in our eating habits and campaigns for local and nutritious food production. Care/social farming is a farming practice that fully promotes these values. Care/social farms promote sustainable farming practices, often organic farming, local food systems, short food supply chains and they are able to create niche markets with the produce that has an important social value. Besides being healthy and nutritious and a source of income for local farmers, care/social farming products are products that were created through a process that have given sense of dignity and self-confidence to the people who produced them.   

      Mr Wayne Roberts shared with us the title of his book so that we can look for it and read. It seems from available book reviews, that in The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food he was very successful in giving a comprehensive view on what characterizes industrialized agriculture, its weaknesses and impact on our lifestyle and health, and on the alternative models. What I found really useful is his reflection on the link between cheap food and cheap labour.  [Cheap food] ... “sustains poorly paid workers in factories, and it leads farmers unable to compete with cheap imports to leave rural areas, in turn lowering the cost of urban labor.” (Book review from Daniel Bornstein)

      Dr Jacqueline Fletcher from France mentions the relation between care farming and permaculture. If we consider that the philosophy behind permaculture is looking at plants and animals in all their functions and that one of the principles of permaculture is care for the people, then it is certainly an interesting link and desires further reflection.

      Magda Rich from the Czech Republic shared a very interesting experience. This is a project she was involved in and through which they created a butterfly garden for therapeutic and training reasons for disabled students who receive practical gardening training to increase their chances to be hired outside the school to earn their living. The garden functions also as an environmental education centre and thus visited by school children and the public. They have a chance to see the work of the disabled which hopefully positively influences their way of seeing the PWD’s.    As she explains, this is not a care farm as we know it from Europe. But this is exactly what we are looking for: examples that carry the aspects and principles of care/social farming adjusted to the local context.

    • Cher Huguette,

      Merci beaucoup d'avoir envoyé votre contribution et votre proposition pour ce qui pourrait être inclus dans le cadre méthodologique. Ceci est commentaire très précieux et nous examinerons lorsque nous serons en train de rédiger la partie conceptuelle et méthodologique. J'espère que nous pourrons vous consulter plus tard dans ce stade et ainsi recevoir vos nouvelles entrées! Nous nous réjouissons de notre collaboration.



    • Dear Kanchan,
      Thank you for writing to us from Nepal! So great to see also WOCAN's participation in this forum! Please share with us your experience related to the child care facilities you mentioned becasue our plan is exactly this: to discover what is out there, analyse and develop the conceptual and methodological framework that can describe the best care/social farming type experiences in less developed countries. Therefore we are open to any experience which managed to provide alternative/innovative care service in rural areas.  There is already a sort of definition for care/social farming for the cases that are common in European countreis but that will not or not fully apply in other parts of the world.
      Let us know if you find other examples, we look forward to receiving your news!
      All the best,


    • Dear Dr. Hossain,

      Thank you for having shared this case with us. This is the first case we received through this forum! We would be very happy to see that this forum becomes also food for thought and could encourage colleauges like you to explore if care/social farming experiences exist in their country. And yes, please share them with us. It will be our pleasure to include them in our analysis and also to build a partnership with your organization.

      With best regards,


    • Dear George,

      Lots of greetings from Budapest to Havaii!

      Thank you very much for providing the first and very motivating comment to this online discussion on care farming! The perspective of mutual care you introduced is very important and we intend to include in our analysis also this form of care provision. The essays you shared will be very useful for us to further deepen our thinking about the relation between care, well functioning communities and food security. Considering that FAO works for the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition your essay on food systems, care and hunger is really of high value added.

      Your further contributions, comments are very welcome and we look forward to keeping in touch!