Structuring and guiding knowledge exchange within the organic farming sector in Flanders: A transdisciplinary and system approach

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Abstract

In Flanders, organic farmers, advisors and researchers within the “bio-firm network” meet on a regular basis to exchange knowledge related to farm management. These meetings take place at a farm and discussions are mainly focused on agro technical issues. However, to deal with environmental and societal concerns, besides achieving a satisfying income, organic farmers have to address a wide range of issues, when considering new farm strategies. This complexity calls for new ways of thinking and of structuring knowledge to improve strategy design and strategic choices on the farm. The farmers and advisors from the bio-firm network requested to guide and structure their knowledge exchange process. Literature provides two key issues in approaching this. First, a system approach delivers tools to understand the complex interactions within and between farming systems (Darnhofer et al., 2012). Second, a transdisciplinary co-production of knowledge is recommended (Aeberhard & Rist, 2009). Transdisciplinary research aims at identifying, structuring, analysing and handling real world problems by understanding complexity of the problem, by linking abstract and case-specific knowledge, with the ultimate goal to develop knowledge and practices that promote what is perceived to be the common good (Pohl and Hirsch Hadorn, 2007). The uniqueness of the approach lies in the partnership and sharing of knowledge between research of different disciplines and other stakeholders (farmers, advisors, farm networks, and educational institutions). As a result, this paper aims to describe a transdisciplinary and system approach to improve knowledge exchange in the organic farming sector.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2015
Event4th Belgian Agroecology Meeting (BAM) - Leuven, Belgium
Duration: 17-Nov-201517-Nov-2015

Conference

Conference4th Belgian Agroecology Meeting (BAM)
CountryBelgium
CityLeuven
Period17/11/1517/11/15

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