Since 2015 through social farming projects the social agricultural cooperative La Rondine a Maccarello wants to give new answers to people with different disadvantages aiming to meet the needs of the citizens of the Città di Castello area, in the North of Umbria. Specifically, the social cooperative is involved in social-work inclusion in the agriculture sector and therapeutic agriculture of people with physical or mental disabilities.
The social agricultural cooperative La Rondine a Maccarello is strictly connected with the social cooperative La Rondine which provides social services in other sectors than agriculture.
- Name and Surname: Marco Romanelli.
- Birth Year: 1977.
- Gender: Male.
- Education: Master’s Degree on Pedagogical Coordination and Consulting Training Interventions.
- Address/map: Voc. Maccarello, Lerchi 06012, Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy.
- Farm Area (in ha): 3 ha (organic agriculture).
- Date of establishment of the social farm: 2015.
- No of workers: 15.
Website and social networks accounts:
Farm general description
It is a social cooperative that produces organic foods and carries out social agriculture activities such as training and social-work inclusion of disadvantaged people, and therapeutic agriculture such as ortho-therapy for people with physical and psychic disadvantages.
The project ‘Starting Point’ aimed at young people between 18 and 35 years with disadvantages purposes to enhance the individual skills of users so that they can be launched into the work world. La Rondine a Maccarello participates in the farmer markets to promote healthy, sustainable, and organic food.
In addition to social-working inclusion, are organized the following activities: delivery (or home delivery); ‘From the Garden to the Table’ initiative with the possibility for those who request it to collect directly from the field products; the promotion of purchasing groups through the cooperative ‘Raccolti di Comunità’ (‘Harvests of Community’ in English) of which it is a member.
It produces organic products, therefore enhancing the seasonality and the territory. It is part of the ‘Luppolo made in Italy’ (‘Made in Italy Hop’ in English) Business Network producing hop and processing beer with its own brand. Through the cooperative ‘Raccolti di Comunità’ La Rondine a Maccarello markets organic and local products by increasing its offer and the available products. Direct sales through farm sale points, Ecommerce, Farmers’ markets, and canteens supply are used.
Social Farm Manager Role
With twenty-years of experience in the La Rondine, the social farm manager Marco Romanelli takes care of all the management and administrative aspects of La Rondine a Maccarello. He also promotes its activities by creating networks with both public and private bodies as well as he deals with projecting concerning social agriculture participating at international, national and region founds call.
Social Farm Tutor Role
With ten-years of experience in the La Rondine, the social farm tutor and educator Sara Pruscini is graduated in Natural Sciences. She deals with the entire organizational and operational activities of La Rondine a Maccarello through a strong connection between the working members who are directly involved in the agricultural activities and the users who access the La Rondine a Maccarello. She also promotes its activities and supervisions the users in the sales of cooperative food products.
Relationships with Social/Health Services
Given the strictly collaboration with the social cooperative La Rondine, the relationship with the Social/Health Services is continuous, allowing a fruitful discussion and a search for answers and supports that could be evaluated as the best for each users.
Relationships with families
The relationship with the families of the users is constant and is based on a deep trust in all staff of La Rondine a Maccarello. On the families’ side, there is a strong recognition of the work done and the results that their children are achieving. For families, it is important the socialization aspect and the group that is forming, so that their children can live a context that is as normal as possible.
Relationships with Social Agriculture Networks
Since its foundation in 2015, La Rondine a Maccarello has considered relations with other local entities as one of its fundamental principles. It is a member and founder of the Regional Forum of Social Agriculture. In a network with some Umbrian social agricultural cooperatives, it is a partner in projects financed by the RDP 2014-2020 of the Umbria Region (‘EIP-AGRI Multinet’, ‘Cibo Nostrum’, ‘Luppolo Made In Italy’, ‘EIP-AGRI AgriSocialNetwork’ projects); moreover, it is part of the ‘Raccolti di Comunità’ social inclusion project.
It aims to be a reference point for social agriculture in its territory being an innovative cooperative that offers organic products not only good but that are the work result of fragile people and with disadvantaged. It wants to promote and support true active social inclusion through job placements.
The business development plan is aimed at the one hand to seek more and more markets channels that can expand sales and enhance products from social agriculture; on the other hand, La Rondine a Maccarello is engaged in researching and planning new activities and projects through participation in funding calls to subsidize the promotion of the employment of people with disadvantaged.
Suggestions for managing a social farm
A social cooperative should start to carry out activities of social importance and act in the interest of the recipients of such activities, the users, and the people with disadvantaged, who consequently become the beneficiaries of the cooperative. The management should always start from the mission of the social cooperative always trying to pursue its goals through teamwork characterized by different professional skills involved.