Taking farmers on a journey: experiences evaluating learning in Farmer Field Labs in UK

Reed, Matt and Ingram, Julie and Mills, Jane and MacMillan,, Tom (2016) Taking farmers on a journey: experiences evaluating learning in Farmer Field Labs in UK. In: IFSA Conference, Harper Adams, June 2016, Harper Adams. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper presents results from an evaluation of the Soil Association’s Duchy Originals Future Farming programme which supported regular farmer group meetings (Field Labs) and problem based field experiments. Drawing on the theoretical ideas of the three learning loops (Argyris & Schön, 1996), the paper examines the nature and extent of farmer learning that can be attributed to participation in the initiative. Using data from a survey, detailed interviews and a discussion forum, the evaluation found that farmer understanding of Field Lab topic, practices and skills, and research methods has been enhanced to different extents as a result of participating in Field Labs. However, overall farmer learning is as much about being given the tools and the confidence to go away and try things, as it is about acquiring specific knowledge, skills and practices. The paper concludes by reflecting on methodologies employed for evaluation of learning approaches and arguing for a more embedded and reflective approach.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Field labs; Farmer learning; Participatory approaches; Learning loops; Evaluation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Matthew Reed
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 09:58
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2018 20:40
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5231

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