Transmitting and Transforming (Agri)-Cultural Values of Mountain Farming: Farm-Based Educational Services in South Tyrol
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SubjectSocial farming; Family farms; South Tyrol; Agri-cultural values; Traditions; Farm-based educational services
Social farming helps mountain farms to bear with the current socio-economic challenges that threaten the cultural identity and traditions of mountain areas. It is an innovative bottom-up initiative that addresses societal needs and complements institutionalized social services. In the north Italian province South Tyrol, social farming is mainly implemented by women farmers offering educational services on their farms. This paper explains how these activities influence the transmission and transformation of (agri)-cultural values of mountain farming in South Tyrol. Therefore, we extracted data from an online survey to farms offering educational services, carried out in 2017. The results demonstrate that farms offering these services are well accessible for the target groups because of their distribution through the whole region. With the variety of topics included in their lessons, farmers have a key role in transmitting (agri)-cultural values and traditions to non-farmers. Although educational services in general may increase the farming income, our results show that the investigated offer contributes only little to the economic viability of the farm. Nevertheless, they provide an interesting field of action, where all the family members can bring in their ideas and get in contact with new people, children, teachers and parents. In parallel to cultural transmission, farm-based educational services therefore transform traditional (agri)-cultural values in family farms, linked to patriarchy: especially for women farmers it is an opportunity to acquire new skills and a personal salary, independent from agricultural production. Therefore, the provision of educational services contributes to the social sustainability of family farms.
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