Empowering rural communities through social and solidarity economy: observations and case studies (March 2021)

The whole rural economy is a much more complex ecosystem of activities than farming and forestry. It’s about services; it’s about quality of life; it’s about creative economy and tourism. Rural areas provide a wide variety of flora and fauna and natural resources that can contribute to employment, economic growth and prosperity, preserving the environment and cultural heritage. Which supportive factors can help to overcome identified vicious circles in rural areas? How do social and solidarity economy (SSE) empower rural communities and unlock the potential of rural regions in Europe? The research investigates the potential contribution of SSE in empowering rural communities. After a literature review on the topic, the research focuses on analysing various case studies to reveal the path that social and solidarity economy can take to regenerate positive rurality based on sustainable, innovative and inclusive development.