Social farming (SF) is a traditional as well as an innovative activity for farmers. It involves the use of resources from agriculture for rehabilitation and social inclusion. The term SF has recently entered the scene of rural development in the EU, embracing a wide constellation of different practices that are emerging in the territories; experiences that, in many cases, were born as bottom-up actions and have 'grown in the shade' for a long time. SF activities involve a large number of target groups, both in urban and rural areas (youngsters, elders, disabled people, migrant, prisoners, added people). SF is also connected to a large number of issues related to rural development like the organisation of local services, the evolution of farmers' attitudes in the relationships with local communities and their reputation, the re-organisation of local economy and the introduction of new elements of solidarity and reciprocity. The paper presents some first results of the SoFar project funded by the VI EU Research Framework (http//:sofar.unipi.it) and rooted in seven EU countries. The aim of the project is to support EU agricultural policies on multifunctional agriculture and to support local pathways of rural development.