University of agribusiness and rural development, UARD Jubilee International Scientific Conference

Font Size: 
Exploring Social Innovation in the Social Farm Organizations
Maurizio Lanfranchi, Carlo Gianetto, Tindara Abbate, Augusto D'Amico

Last modified: 2018-02-12


Social farming represents an innovative approach to join healthcare and social services with agricultural production activities. It can be considered as a relevant example to foster social entrepreneurship and social innovation practices oriented to local and sustainable development of rural areas. The paper aims to explore the contribution of social farm to the definition and implementation of social innovation practices. To address this issue, the paper presents and discusses a case study of social farming drawn from the Italian context. The paper contribute to a better understanding of social innovation in the social farming organizations and to a deeper evidence-based understanding of the role of social entrepreneurs in the development of practices focused on sustainable principles. The identification of best practice examples will be to evaluate the possible implementation in other areas that are particularly resistant to innovation


Social entrepreneurship; social innovation; social farm organizations; Italian context.


  1. Alvord, S.H., Brown, D.L. and Letts, C.W., 2004, Social entrepreneurship and social transformation: an exploratory study. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 40 (3), 260-83.
  2. Austin, J., Stevenson, H. and Wei-Skillern, J., 2006, Social and commercial entrepreneurship: same, different, or both?, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30(1), 1-22.
  3. Bernard, F., M. van Noordwijk, E. Luedeling, G. B. Villamor, G. W. Sileshi and S. Namirembe, 2014. Social actors and unsustainability of agriculture. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 6 (1): 155-161.
  4. Bornstein, D., 2004, How to Change theWorld: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. Bryant, L. and B. Garnham, 2014, Economies, ethics and emotions: Farmer distress within the moral economy of agribusiness. Journal of Rural Studies, 34: 304-312.
  6. Caulier-Grice, J. Davies, A. Patrick, R. Norman, W, 2012, Defining Social Innovation. A deliverable of the project: “The theoretical, empirical and policy foundations for building social innovation in Europe” (TEPSIE), European Commission – 7th Framework Programme, Brussels: European Commission, DG Research.
  7. Certo, S.T. and Miller, T., 2008, Social entrepreneurship: key issues and concepts. Business Horizons, 51(4), 267-71.
  8. Christie, M.J. and Honig, B., 2006, Social entrepreneurship: new research findings. Journal of World Business, 41(1), 1-5.
  9. Dees, G.J., 2012, A tale two cultures: Charity, problem solving, and the future of social entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(3), 321-334.
  10. Defourny, J. and Nyssens, M., 2010, Conceptions of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Convergences and Divergences. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 120-132.
  11. Denzin, N. K., 1978, The research act: A theoretical introduction to sociological methods. McGraw-Hill, New York.
  12. Eisenhardt, K.M., Graebner, M. E., 2007, Theory Building from Cases: Opportunities and Challenges, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 25-32.
  13. Godfrey, P.C., 2005, The Relationship between Corporate Philanthropy and Shareholder Wealth: A Risk Management Perspective, The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 777-798.
  14. Haugh, H., 2007, New Strategies for a Sustainable Society: the growing contribution of Social Entrepreneurship. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17(4), 743-749.
  15. Hibbert, S., Hogg, G. and Quinn, T., 2005, ‘Social entrepreneurship: Understanding consumer motives for buying The Big Issue’, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 4: 3, pp. 159–72.
  16. Hockerts, K., 2006, Entrepreneurial opportunity in social purpose business ventures. In J. Mair, J. Robinson and K. Hockerts (Eds.), Social Entrepreneurship (pp.142-154). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  17. Jiao, H., 2011, A conceptual model for social entrepreneurship directed toward social impact on society. Social Enterprise Journal, 7(2), 130-149.
  18. Lanfranchi M., Giannetto C., 2014, Analysis of producers’knowledge about Farmers’Markets, Italian Journal of Food Science, 26 (3), 335-340.
  19. Lanfranchi M., Giannetto C., Abbate T., Dimitrova V., 2015, Agriculture and the social farm: Expression of the multifunctional model of agriculture as a solution to the economic crisis in rural areas, Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science,        21 (4), 711-718.
  20. Lanfranchi M., Giannetto C., Dimitrova V., 2017, Economic analysis and management of bread waste from producers: Results of a survey conducted in sicily (Italy), Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 23 (4), 544-550.
  21. Lee T.,1999, Using Qualitative Methods in Organizational Research. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  22. Miles, M. B. and Huberman, M. A., 1994, Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  23. Mort, G.S., Weerawardena, J. and Carnegie, K., 2003, Social entrepreneurship: towards conceptualization. International Journal of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 8(1), 76-88.
  24. Mulgan G., Tucker S., Rushanara A., Sanders B., 2007, Social Innovation: What It Is, Why It Matters and How It Can Be Accelerated, Skoll Centre For Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford Said Business School, The Young Foundation.
  25. Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J. and Mulgan, G., 2010, The Open Book of Social Innovation, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Art, LondonNicholls, A. (2006). Playing the field: a new approach to the meaning of social entrepreneurship. Social Enterprise Journal, 2(1), 1-5.
  26. OECD, 2010, Social entrepreneurship and social innovation. In: SMEs, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Paris: OECD, pp. 185-215. Available at:
  27. Ozer, O. O. and H. Akcay, 2013, The examination of differences in terms of socio-economic, stock period and information needs of the enterprises engaged in stock-farming activity. Bulgarian, Journal of Agricultural Science, 19 (6): 1351-1357.
  28. Peredo, A. and McLean, M., 2006, ‘Social entrepreneurship: A critical review of the concept’, Journal of World Business, 41:1, pp. 56–56.
  29. Peters, R. and M. Gregory, 2014. Networking, Small Farms and EU Rural Development Policy. Euro Choices, 13 (1): 36-39.
  30. Phills, J., Deiglmeier, K. and Miller, D., 2008, Rediscovering Social Innovation. Social Innovation Review, 6(4), 1-11.
  31. Pruteanu, E. M., L. M. Furdui and V. M. Şerbu, 2012, Cooperation- The future of peasant farms in Romania. Quality - Accessto Success, 13 (3): 801-808.
  32. Roberts, D. and Woods, C., 2005, Changing the world on a shoestring: the concept of social entrepreneurship. University of Auckland Business Review, 19(1), 45-51.
  33. Short, J.C., Moss, T.W. and Lumpkin, G.T.,2009, Research in social entrepreneurship: Past contributions and future opportunities. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 3(2), 161-194.
  34. Sulemana, I. and H. S. James, 2014. Farmer identity, ethical attitudes and environmental practices. Ecological Economics, 98:49-61.
  35. Tan, W.-L., Williams, J. and Tan, T. M., 2005, ‘Defining the “social” in social entrepreneurship: Altruism and entrepreneurship’, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 1:3 pp. 353–65.Thompson, J., 2008, Social enterprise and social entrepreneurship: where have we reached?: a summary of issues and discussion points. Social Enterprise Journal, 4(2), 149-61.
  36. Yin R.K.,2003, Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.), Thousand Oaks, Sage (CA).
  37. Zahra, S.A., Gedajlovic, E., Neubaum, D.O. and Shulman, J.M., 2009, A typology of social entrepreneurs: Motives, search processes and ethical challenges. Journal of Business Venturing, 24, 519–532.
  38. Zahra, S.A., Rawhouser, H.N., Bhawe, N., Neubaum, D.O. and Hayton, J.C., 2008, Globalization of social entrepreneurship opportunities. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 2(2), 117-31.
  39. Zietlow, J.T., 2002, Releasing a new wave of social entrepreneurship. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 13(1), 85-90.

Full Text: PDF