Social Farming in the Virtuous System of the Circular Economy. An Exploratory Research
Multifunctionality and social farming represent forms of resilience and innovation within urban and rural systems, making use of agricultural, rural, natural, and cultural resources to produce multiple benefits and eco-systemic services. Social farming (SF) introduces innovative activities capable of representing a factor supporting the competitiveness of the production system and represents a tool for responding to the growing needs of urban and rural populations in social, economic, and
... economic, and environmental terms, in relation to the offer of social- health, social-work, recreative and educational services. SF is an innovative model of territorial, participatory, relational, and community service development that looks to an inclusive, sustainable, fair, and supportive society. Its success is linked to the ability to spread within the economic system and become a circular economy model highlighting good practices and as a virtuous example for other companies. The purpose of this work is to examine the role and social impact that Social Farming has in the environmental, social, and cultural changes of the territories where they are located. Case studies in an area of Southern Italy—the Calabria region—were examined with multicriteria methodologies (social network analysis; multiple correspondence analysis) to identify the type of social activity carried out and the propensity to introduce innovations based on services ecosystems on farms. The results show the potential and value of the companies that carry out these social innovation activities. The analysis carried out has drawn some indicative profiles of socially oriented multifunctional companies.