Volume 6, Issue 1, 2014
Authors: Antoni Francesc TULLA, Ana VERA, Anna BADIA, Carles GUIRADO, Natàlia VALLDEPERAS
RURAL AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICIES IN EUROPE: SOCIAL FARMING IN THE COMMON STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK (HORIZON 2020)
Social Farming (SF) is an emerging sector in the rural European context, but the European Economic and Social Committee (2013/C 44/07) emphasizes that SF should be planned and implemented under the new 2014-20 rural development policy because of the positive results obtained. The SF concept can be associated with agriculture as a multifunctional activity, giving agricultural practice new meanings and functions and incorporating social services, medical treatment and rehabilitation, and educational training and support. In addition, agriculture must be considered as a means of employment and social integration for groups as diverse as individuals who are unemployed or living with mental retardation, mental disorders, or addictions, among others. As a result, innovative SF activities are contributing to the social economy, rural and regional development, and support for a new agro-social paradigm. These are mainly activities linked with the endogenous resources of the territory that generate new enterprises, together with complementary activities that consolidate an economic network as the basis for regional development.Key words: social farming, regional development, European structural funds, rural areas, Catalonia.