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The development of social farming in Italy: A qualitative inquiry across four regions

Dell'Olio, M.; Hassink, J.; Vaandrager, L.


J. Hassink

L. Vaandrager


In Italy, social farming (SF) did not develop homogeneously across the national territory. In this context, actors with SF aspirations may benefit from knowledge of the factors that fostered the development of SF in the areas in which it showed more remarkable progress. This study adopted a multi-level perspective in order to understand how SF developed in Italy, and to examine its evolution across regions at different stages of development. In order to achieve such aim, a literature study about the development of SF in Italy was carried out, and was followed by in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with 29 stakeholders coming from four Italian regions (Tuscany, Latium, Abruzzo and Molise). The findings indicate SF practices at the niches level managed to establish connections with the regime as positive results emerged, networks and support organizations were set up, universities became interested in SF, and policymakers started recognizing and funding SF. The different degrees of support coming from the public sector, SF and agricultural organizations, universities, and policymakers, contributed to the differences between the SF practices in the four regions under study. In particular, in the southernmost regions, several SF's stakeholders showed less entrepreneurial skills, while the public authorities tended to have less knowledge about SF, and sometimes diffidence towards it. In conclusion, some recommendations to foster the development of SF are to make SF practices’ success visible, to cultivate entrepreneurial skills, and to build and support networks between actors with different backgrounds, thus facilitating knowledge exchange.


Dell'Olio, M., Hassink, J., & Vaandrager, L. (2017). The development of social farming in Italy: A qualitative inquiry across four regions. Journal of rural studies, 56, 65-75.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 2, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 13, 2017
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Deposit Date May 10, 2023
Journal Journal of Rural Studies
Print ISSN 0743-0167
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 56
Pages 65-75
Public URL