Social Return and Economic Viability of Social Farming in Catalonia: A Case-Study Analysis

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Abstract

In Europe, Social Farming (SF) and agritourism are multifunctional agriculture activities that arise when agricultural land is abandoned in rural and peri-urban areas; it is difficult to develop commercial agriculture if it is not intensive. In our research, we studied SF in Catalonia, carrying out a census and classification of 161 initiatives and a more in-depth analysis of 10 projects (or 9 in some cases), identifying their viability and the economic, social, and environmental return on investment (SROI) for the resources used in each case. The methodology included questionnaires, in-depth interviews, and Canvas and SROI analyses. Although SF has developed in many European countries, it is incipient in the Iberian Peninsula. The projects in Catalonia combine agrarian activity, socio-health care and social policies, with the aim of offering innovative solutions to the needs of different groups at risk of social exclusion.

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