Social Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, a Sustainable Practice for Social and Economic Cohesion in Rural Areas: The Case of the Czech Republic

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Abstract

This article pursues an innovative dimension of social entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector that keeps rural areas viable, so-called social farming. Social entrepreneurship appears as an essential driver in the European economy and it heads toward new opportunities mainly through its impact on social integration, economic sustainability, and fair society. Social farming and social farms can successfully respond to the challenge of social exclusion and lack of social services provision and other opportunities in rural areas through alternative therapeutic activities, sheltered working places or integrative educational activities in a farm environment. From this perspective, a social farm should correspond to the definition of a social enterprise. By introducing the basic frames of social entrepreneurship and social farming in general and in the Czech Republic, and by concentrating on fifteen Czech social farms, this paper presents an insight into this retro-innovative practice of social integration systems in the countryside. It mainly answers the question, whether social farming complies fully with social entrepreneurship stream, and it explores the role of the social farm in rural development by using semi-structured and in-depth interviews.

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