Fostering inclusion through Social Farming

Start: 01-10-2019 - End: 31-08-2021
Project Reference: 2019-1-IE01-KA202-051446
EU Grant: 265.863 EUR
Programme: Erasmus+
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training


Visit the project website and stay up to date with news and project events: https://farcura.eu/


Social farming (also known as care farming) is one of the most common forms of green care or nature-based interventions. It is based on concepts of multifunctional agriculture and community-based social and health care (Di Iacovo and O’Connor, 2009). Social farming refers to the therapeutic use of farming landscapes and practices on part or all of a working farm in order to provide health, social, educational and/or vocational supports to a small number of people at risk of social exclusion. Social farming activities can be targeted towards multiple groups within society - disabled, elderly, NEETS; ex-offenders; addicts / substance abusers. All social farming activities are organised within a supervised, facilitated and structured programme of farming-related tasks involving livestock, horticulture, crops, machinery or woodland (Sempik et. al 2010).

Social farming is considered an innovative approach to enhancing social inclusion amongst marginalized groups within rural areas, but their exists multiple innovative models of operating the social farming sector both within individual countries and throughout Europe. This transnational project operating across Ireland, Slovenia, Germany, Portugal and Belgium wishes to identify innovative models of social farming and associated case studies, thereby allowing the information to be shared to farmers through a training course offered as an OER, by the use of an training website. The developed courses are planned to be aligned with EQF standards. There is a tendency for social farming to operate around a small number of participants per family farm, in many instances just one or two. This implies that the farmer requires sufficient expertise in working with participants' needs and abilities; and to communicate effectively, especially with participants who are non-verbal. These training requirements can be resolved through this transnational project by creating suitable blended training and learning resources for farmers, thereby bridging critical gaps in their knowledge, skillsets and competencies.


The key objectives of the project are:

  • To ascertain the training needs and requirements for key stakeholders (host farmers / participants / service providers) involved in the various models of social farming.
  • To develop a training course syllabus and associated course materials. The main training for farmers could potentially focus on: participants needs and abilities; how to communicate effectively with participants; and health and safety (risk assessments).
  • To engage with policymakers, rural development organizations and health care / social care providers with regard to replicating this innovative training programme on completion of the project.

The target groups for this project include all the key stakeholders (social care providers; social workers; rural development organizations; farmer representative bodies; social farming representative organizations; educators) involved in social farming but particular attention will be focused on farmers hosting participants on their farms or farmers who have a desire to adopt this innovative approach to fostering social inclusion and development within a farming environment.

The main intellectual outputs to be developed as part of this project include:

  • O1 national and summary reports on the state of the art on innovative models of social farming
  • O2 training course syllabus and associated course materials
  • O3 Project and Training website
  • O4 Testing and Optimization

All intellectual outputs will be available free of charge. Awareness of their availability will be made via social and conventional media and tagged as being free on-line resources.

At the completion of this project it is anticipated that there would be an increase in the number of social farms with a mission to address social exclusion amongst marginalized groups living in rural areas; and an increased awareness by all stakeholders of the benefits of social farming; and an appreciation of the necessary requirements for its implementation amongst policy-makers. Taking into account the total benefits of social farming for farmers but for the participants as well, the specific project is of an evident European added value since it promotes social inclusion and consists a measure of battling unemployment for people at the risk of social exclusion. Furthermore, through the described learning procedure, farmers will be provided with a new approach of running their businesses and enhancing their competitiveness.

Overall, the FARCURA project wishes to equip stakeholders (farmers; social farming representative bodies; social and heath care providers; farming representative bodies) with the necessary knowledge, skill-sets and competencies to develop and enhance social farming, an innovative approach to fostering social inclusion amongst marginalized groups within rural society throughout Europe.


Project coordinator:


Project partners:

  • ADRIMAG - Associação de Desenvolvimento Rural e Integrado das Serras de Montemuro, Arada e Gralheira (PT)
  • Mosaic - Association for Social Inclusion (SI)
  • Hof und Leben GmbH (DE)
  • Biotehniski center Naklo (SI)