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LEAF completes review of demonstration farms


LEAF says that following a two-and-a-half year project led by the James Hutton Institute (itself a LEAF Innovation Centre), it will ensure that its on-farm demonstration projects are more effective and focus on sustainability.

The PLAID (Peer-to-Peer Learning: Accessing Innovation through Demonstration) project brought together farmers, advisors, NGO’s, industry representatives, researchers and policy makers across the EU to examine the farm demonstration model and how it promotes learning by farmers, encourages uptake of new innovations, and provides other benefits and services.

Alice Midmer, LEAF Demonstration and Innovation Manager said, “We have long known that farmers learn best from other farmers. This project has really drilled down into the specifics and addressed some challenging questions around the practical, social and theoretical aspects of on-farm demonstration. It has also delivered some tangible and practical resources and recommendations.”

Key outcomes of the project include: an on-line inventory of demonstration events across Europe; a comprehensive guide for on-farm demonstrations; case studies from farmers across Europe; and a set of best practice recommendations on effective on-farm demonstration to inform policy. There will also be a series of videos featuring LEAF Demonstration Farmers helping to further share expertise amongst the wider farming community.

“Demonstration events are a smart investment that can help accelerate the adoption of game changing innovations,” added Alice. “Learning through demonstration has the potential to revolutionise how we do things and address some our most persistent challenges around the adoption of more sustainable farming. The outcomes of this project will help to transform the effectiveness of on-farm demonstration as a vehicle to drive forward more sustainable farming – not only in the UK but across the EU.”

Photo source: LEAF