FASST - Formazione per l'Agricoltura Sociale
 e Sviluppo Territoriale

Social Farming and rural skills Unit 2


Social Farming and rural skills Unit 2

Social Farming Rural Skills



The objective of this module is to illustrate the different types of agricultural activities and the reasons for their adoption in social farming projects. The case of the San Michele Arcangelo Cooperative and the activities carried out in social agriculture will also be presented.

 Contents in bullet points
1. Module : Social Farming Rural Skills 1.1. Unit: The Green activities 1.1.1. The main areas of social farming 1.1.2. The beneficiaries 1.1.3. Benefits for users 1.1.4. Multifunctionality in agriculture 1.1.5. Care for nature 1.1.6. Agricultural activities 1.2. Unit: The experience of San Michele Arcangelo 1.2.1. San Michele Arcangelo Cooperative 1.2.2. Organic Agriculture 1.2.3. The users 1.2.4. The partnership for SF initiatives 1.2.5. The social farming laboratories 1.2.6. Agricultural resources 1.2.7. The choose of agricultural sectors 1.2.8. How to assign the task 1.2.9. The choose of activities 1.2.10. The activities in the horticulture sector 1.2.11. The pruning 1.3. Unit: Work Organisation 1.3.1. Which job to assign 1.3.2. Work organization 1.3.3. Critical Issue


 The experience of San Michele Arcangelo

The experience of San Michele Arcangelo

  San Michele Arcangelo Cooperative

San Michele Arcangelo was founded in 2007 and carries out its activities in collaboration with the Cooperative PARS, offering disadvantaged people opportunities for integration in an agricultural working environment.

San Michele receives about 50 disadvantaged people every year, mainly former drug-addicts or mentally disabled persons undergoing residential treatment.

  Organic Agriculture

San Michele uses cultivation techniques with low environmental impact, without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and GMOs.

  The users

Subjects affected by addictions (drugs, alcohol and behavioral) that are in therapeutic/rehabilitation centres.
People with psychiatric demand
Young people up to 16 years old, no longer in compulsory schooling, with family problems or addictions.

  The partnership for SF initiatives

  The social farming laboratories

The main laboratories organized in collaboration with the other partners:

  • Piggery - farmyard animal
  • Horticulture
  • Carpentry
  • Fruits and vegetables transformation
  • Green maintenance

The laboratories organized at San Michele:

 -  Horticulture – fruit growing

 -  Fruits and vegetables transformation

  Agricultural resources

  •  Fruit tree: 
    •  peach
    •  apricot
    •  plum
    •  strawberry
    •  cherry
  •  Vegetables
  •  Olive trees
  •  Vineyards


  The choose of agricultural sectors

Why choose this sectors?

Activities that are more suitable for the therapeutic-educational objectives defined for the participants (drug addicts)

The natural cycle of plant growth (sowing, transplanting, growth, development, flowering) is synonymous with the path of personal growth and well-being, and creates a sense of usefulness and self-esteem.

These sectors require manual activities with different levels of physical commitment



  • Simplicity and repetitiveness of operations
  •  Importance of well-timed intervention
  •  Concentration of work in limited time

User does not enjoy the result of his work


Olive trees

  • It requires a lot of manual work
  • Long processing time
  • Flexibility in the times of intervention

Vegetable garden

  • Define the layout of the vegetable garden according to the production target:
    • Internal consumption
    • Direct sales
  • Autonomous production of seeds
  • Specific processing techniques
  • Well-timed intervention


Choice of the most suitable breeding form:
  to facilitate harvesting and pruning operations
  possibility of using machines
  to organize manual operations

Choice of species:
Depending on the type of users and the difficulty of breeding
E.g.    apple ,pear tree: more complex management
           cherry, apricot, plum tree: simpler management


  How to assign the task

  The choose of activities

  The activities in the horticulture sector

  The pruning

It is planned in winter (for the vineyard) and in the other months of the year depending on the different types of fruit trees and olive trees.

Pruning requires a lot of precision and is entrusted to the most expert users who are guided and trained on the different techniques by the company's referent and by a specialized technician (agronomist).


• Understand the benefits of social farming initiatives • Evaluate the link between social farming activities and the concept of multifunctionality of the farm • Choose the most suitable agricultural activities for social farming projects. • Evaluate how to organize social farming initiatives based on the specific needs of users • Identify how to organize work in the field, based on real experiences.


Comunello F., Berti E., (2013) "Fattoria sociale" Erickson.

Di Iacovo F., O’Connor D. (a cura di) (2009), Supporting Policies for Social Farming in Europe: Progressing Multifunctionality in Responsive Rural Areas, Arsia, Lcd, Firenze.

Di Iacovo F., Durastanti F., Galasso A., (2012), Agricoltura sociale e competitivitĂ 

multifunzionale. Rurale Sociale per la competitività multifunzionale dell’impresa

agricola, Corso di formazione ASSAM Regione Marche

Elings, M. and J. Hassink, Green Care Farms, A Safe Community Between Illness or Addiction and the Wider Society. Journal of Therapeutic Communities, 2008, 29: 310?323.

Haller R., Capra L. C. (2016), "Horticultural therapy methods", CRC Press,

Kinsella J. (2014), Social Farming Handbook: Guidelines for considering, planning, delivering and using social farming services in Ireland and Northern Ireland, School of Agriculture and Food Science,University College Dublin.

Sempik J., Hine R., Wilcox D., (2010) “Green Care:A Conceptual Framework”, Loughborough University.

Zampetti A. - Sabatini Scalmati P., 2014, Agricoltura sociale e progettazione educativa. La costruzione di percorsi destrutturati in contesti agricoli multifunzionali, in Orientamenti Pedagogici vol 61, n.3, pp. 585-602.


Zampetti A. (2017), “Agricultura sociale. Seminare innovazione nei territori”, Kairos Cooperativa Sociale. http://www.kairoscoopsociale.it/agricultura-sociale/

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