Whereas in the developed and industrialized countries family farms are seen as an archaic and old-fashioned system, in developing ones they continue being perceived as an attractive and functional model for promoting the rural development and the welfare of rural families. Besides, family farming is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, which make it difficult to grasp. In many rural areas family farms maintain specific ways of interaction with the territory and markets, and consequently they show a great variability from an organizational and socio-economical point of view. In this article, the author reviews firstly the traditional notion of family farming in order to check which of its characteristic elements continue to make any sense and which do not. Secondly, he proposes some ideas in order to encourage debate about the family farming, and claims to build an updated notion that allows better to grasp the particularities of those non-entrepreneurial oriented farms.
Family farms; Agriculture; Rural society; Farming policies