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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

LEAF assesses farm demo model

Project gives rise to new online inventory of events, six-step guide to organising a farm demo and set of best practice recommendations

LEAF assesses farm demo model

Pepper grower Tangmere is one of LEAF's Demonstration Farms

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LEAF has concluded a two-and-a-half-year project to assess the effectiveness of its on-farm demonstrations in driving forward more sustainable farming. 

PLAID (Peer-to-Peer Learning: Accessing Innovation Through Demonstration) was led by the James Hutton Institute and brought together farmers, advisors, NGOs, industry representatives, researchers and policy makers across the EU to examine the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the farm demonstration model.

Specifically, the project assessed how effective on-farm demonstrations have been in promoting learning by farmers, encouraging the uptake of new innovations, and providing networking and social connections, as well as identifying how the model needs to develop to support the uptake of more sustainable farming.    

Outcomes of the project include:

- An online inventory of demonstration events across Europe, the FarmDemo Hub, produced in collaboration with the AgriDemo project. It allows farmers to access events, register as demonstration farmers, and find resources and support, including case studies and videos

- A six-step guide to designing an effective farm demonstration, including setting objectives, selecting the right farm, event set-up, promotion, learning methods and evaluation

Case studies from farmers across Europe involved in demonstration activities sharing their experiences and expertise

- A set of best practice recommendations on effective on-farm demonstration to inform policy

Virtual Demonstration – a series of videos featuring LEAF Demonstration Farmers helping to further share expertise among the wider farming community 

LEAF demonstration and innovation manager Alice Midmer said:“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.  

“We know more now about the specific ingredients of effective on-farm demonstration; we have better insights into how it can be used to promote learning and encourage adoption of new ideas and technologies; we have learnt more about what motivates farmers to host and participate in demonstration events; and we have developed a clear road-map of how we want to take the demonstration farm model forward.

“We are hugely excited about the opportunities the results of this project offer our members and the wider farming community to boost their own learning and engagement at farm level.”

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