The role of Demo Farms in Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems: a workshop for policy makers

The family of FarmDemo projects – NEFERTITI, PLAID and AGRIDEMO – organised a workshop to raise awareness among local and regional authorities about the need to support demonstration activities on the ground. These activities foster peer-to-peer learning and innovation uptake in the agrifood sector. Yet there is still a gap in the policy support of demonstration activities across Europe.

Representatives of eight European regions took part in the interactive discussions with the project partners, advisers and farmers. Alfred Grand, organic farmer from Austria and member of the Horizon Europe Mission Board on Soil Health, provided a testimony on the benefits for the farmers to be part of a demo farm network. From his perspective, demo farms serve as a bridge between farmers and researchers. They are an excellent tool to showcase new developments to peer farmers and at the same time, to bring their own innovation to the scientific community. Importantly, demo farms allow to engage non-farming communities such as schools, universities or consumers.

To make these demo farm networks really effective, a systemic approach is needed, emphasized Alfred Grand. Such an approach entails a focus beyond the production and farming issues: it should also include topics of relevance to the whole society. Among them are for example societal challenges such as climate change, employment, biodiversity loss, and revival of rural areas.

Interested to find a farm demo in your area? Check out the network’s website and follow the NEFERTITI project for the updates on the upcoming events.

The NEFERTITI project is an EU-wide connected network of demonstration and pilot farms to enhance knowledge exchange and innovation uptake. It established 10 interactive thematic networks, connected 45 regional clusters of demo-farmers and related actors in 17 countries. IFOAM Organics Europe is a partner in the project.

Make sure to follow @NEFERTITI EU on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube to stay tuned about the latest updates.

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