In 2012 the European Economic and Social Committee framed an Opinion on social farming.
The EESC defines Social Farming in the following way:
Social Farming adopts a multifunctional view of agriculture that combines farming with social services/health care at local level. It can help to improve social and environmental awareness, in accordance with social and solidarity principles.
Even though social farming comprises a very wide range of activities, they always have two elements in common:
- a) the activities take place on a farm or market garden and
- b) they are designed for people who – either temporarily or permanently – have specific needs, including educational needs.
Social farming could thus be provisionally defined as a cluster of activities that use agricultural resources – both animal and plant – to generate social services in rural or semi rural areas, such as rehabilitation, therapy, sheltered jobs, lifelong learning and other activities contributing to social integration. In this sense, it is about – among other things – making farms places where people with particular needs can take part in daily farming routines as a way of furthering their development, making progress and improving their well-being.