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Supporting Innovation in Organic Agriculture: A European Perspective Using Experience from the SOLID Project

Padel, Susanne; Vaarst, Mette and Zaralis, Konstantinos (2015) Supporting Innovation in Organic Agriculture: A European Perspective Using Experience from the SOLID Project. Sustainable Agriculture Research, 4 (3), pp. 32-41.

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Document available online at: http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/sar/article/view/50098/26954


Organic farming is recognized as one source for innovation helping agriculture to develop sustainably. However, the understanding of innovation in agriculture is characterized by technical optimism, relying mainly on new inputs and technologies originating from research. The paper uses the alternative framework of innovation systems describing innovation as the outcome of stakeholder interaction and examples from the SOLID
(Sustainable Organic Low-Input Dairying) project to discuss the role of farmers, researchers and knowledge exchange for innovation. We used a farmer-led participatory approach to identify problems of organic and low-input dairy farming in Europe and develop and evaluate innovative practices. Experience so far shows that improvements of sustainability can be made through better exploitation of knowledge. For example, it is recognized that optimal utilization of good quality forage is vitally important, but farmers showed a lack of
confidence in the reliability of forage production both in quantity and quality. We conclude that the systems framework improves the understanding of innovation processes in organic agriculture. Farmer-led research is an effective way to bring together the scientific approach with the farmers’ practical and context knowledge in finding solutions to problems experienced by farmers and to develop sustainability.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:nnovation systems, innovation process, organic agriculture, farmer-led research, SOLID, TP organics
Agrovoc keywords:
Organic agriculture
Farmer participation
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Research affiliation: European Union > SOLID
Denmark > ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC)
Related Links:http://icrofs.dk/en/research/conferences-and-workshops/innovations-in-organic-food-systems-for-sustainable-production-and-enhanced-ecosystem-services/
Deposited By: Padel, Dr Susanne
ID Code:29164
Deposited On:21 Jul 2015 10:47
Last Modified:17 Aug 2015 08:48
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:The item is available open access from the journal website

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