Talks on Social and Didactic Farming are taking hold in the last years. The rising interest is mainly linked to the need of bringing growingly sustainability into the socio-economic systems. Sustainability into socio-economic system is an expression broadly embodying both the outcomes that worldwide communities aims to accomplish and the contest in which people act on.

Sustainability means at least fulfilling three main achievements: satisfying economic performance, high-level environmental preservation and  valuable actions for social inclusion.

Socio-economic system means considering all elements (resources: people, natural and cultural heritage, bio-diversity, seas,  industries, farms, cities, financial capacity etc.) existing in the world, and related linkages connecting them each other. To better grasp the meaning of this holistic approach to see the world, let us think at a container in which all compounding elements are just an arrangement and more and more complex re-arrangement of the scarce basic ones (raw materials) as it was at beginning of the container development itself. Now transpose this way of thinking into the real world and consider the earth as being the container initially made only of raw material represented by natural resources. Then use the metaphor of the container as paradigm to understand that any transformation of human hands is just a re-arrangement of the natural resources by increasing of complexity degrees.

The word sustainability is, therefore, a way to say that re-arrangement of natural resources should change to get the world closer to the original state in order to hand down to next generations socio-economic systems in which the life will be still possible.

Social and Didactic farming constitute just a dimension of the multifunctionality to steer subsets of the socio-economic systems toward sustainability.

Let us try to comprehend how this happens.

Social Farming

To be social with farming means conducting activities that usually social organizations deal with. In the purpose of this article, “social organizations” refers to organizations dealing with refugees, immigrants, former convicted, former addicted, elderly and mentally/physically challenged people. Let these people work, make them feel accepted and helped by the surrounding social environment so that they improve the quality of their life.

This is a typical way to engage in valuable actions for social inclusion.

On the other hand, let people work in private organizations is a way to save public financial resources. For example, elderly can be valued for their know-how on traditional methods and recover crafts; immigrants, refugees, former addicted and convicted might get confident with farming and build up a passion on it, so that, moving away from their past, they become an added value for the territory.

Didactic Farming

Didactics refers to the education that people shall acquire over the span they grow up. This implies that it conveys the values whereby people build up their mindset and conscience. In such way, individuals make choices and decisions. When values lead individuals to take choices and decisions returning unsustainable behaviours, the socio-economic system they live in, fails. To avoid this happening, schooling systems shall strongly address the mindset and conscience formation.

In the wake of this introduction to the importance of the didactical role for a long-run sustainability, didactic farming is a solution to aspire that people become more environmental sustainable with their behaviours. This happens because the learning process let kids strongly interact with the nature in order to acquire knowledge to respect it since they begin their schooling journey.

Even in that case, there are savings of public financial resources. Indeed, lower environmental impacts are highly expected in the long-run.