How can the quality of social farming be improved by training measures? The quality of social farming last not least depends on the qualification of the people involved – on levels of profession, humanity and interdisciplinarity. The project INCLUFAR – Inclusive Farming combines experiences of the FAMIT education established in the North-German federal state Schleswig-Holstein with the Northern Camphill federation CNRS that offers a training within the “Baltic Seminar” based on an own curriculum. The project aims to transfer and to adapt those experiences to other European countries which are lacking of such training experiences in social farming so far.
Social Farming as an interdisciplinary field of work faces lots of challenges due to disciplinary professional training of its professionals. Initiatives that have gained experiences in caring for people with special needs and involving them into work with nature can be helpful. Although the positive impact of therapeutic and pedagogical work on farms has been estimated for long, there is a lack of well-educated experts that have competences both in organic farming as well as in social work. The European Union has supported several projects to support Social Farming and to improve the development of education in this field. The SoFar (Social Farming) project elaborated recommendations for European policies, the DIANA (Disabilty in sustainable Agriculture) focused ob a new approach for training of practitioners with different educational background, and the MAIE project developed a curriculum to train farmers being interested in converting to a social farm. INCLUFAR builds on those experiences by involving eleven partners from nine European countries. The aim is to develop an innovative curriculum that helps to improve the social and ecological inclusion in Social Agriculture. Seven partners are working on Social Farms and aim to improve the social integration on their farms.
An important starting point are the experiences of the living and working community Weide-Hardebek and the FAMIT curriculum that was set up there. “FAMIT” is the abbreviation for “expert in milieu building and participation”. Weide-Hardebek perceives itself as a social service being situated on two farms in Northern Germany. Its work has started 40 years ago. Today 64 people with special needs live and work on the farms. They work in horticulture, gardening, landscaping, bakery, packaging, carpentry, home economics, a farm café and the different areas of food production as well as in the administration office. The aim of inclusion has been essential right from the start. Weide-Hardebek is accepted by all German authorities of social care. Also a network of further eight cooperating farms has been estabilished. The FAMIT curriculum was developed based on their practical experiences with Social Farming. It gathers aspects if social inclusion and organic farming in educational training in an interdisciplinary way.
The curriculum shall support farmers, gardeners, house economists, administrative professionals, artists, craftsmen, orderlies and other professionals in rural areas to include people with special needs into daily work and life on farms, into gardening, house economy or public administration. Therefore their chances to improve personal and professional skills will be supported; furthermore there can be an impact on employment opportunities in rural areas.