Participatory Research and Demonstration Network Launched

The Organic Research Centre’s Participatory Research & Demonstration Network was launched at Abbey Home Farm on the 21st July. Dr Bruce Pearce ORC’s Senior Programme Manager, who will coordinate the network, said “Over the past 30 years we have aimed to put the farmer and producer at the heart of our research and advisory work, this network has been established to further improve our engagement with the industry and strengthen these links”.

Mark Measures who will also work with the network added “There are particular benefits for producers within the network in that we want to work with them to find solutions to running a more successful organic farm and to ensure that our research is relevant and focused on their needs”

The meeting was attended by 30 organic producers, advisors and scientists. Bruce Pearce introduced the day, the reasons for the network’s establishment and its aims. This was then followed by a scientists and a farmers view on the pros and cons of participatory research. Bruce presented his experiences of undertaking participatory research from the scientist point of view which was followed by John Newman (Farm Manager of Abbey Home Farm) who has engaged with a range of research over many years, gave the farmers perspective. There was a reassuring agreement between the two of the pros and cons. A workshop was then facilitated by Mark Measures on what research is needed to improve organic systems and to running a more successful organic farm. These ideas were then illustrated on a tour of the farm where producers spoke about their experiences of research, what they have gained by it and what their future needs might be.

The network is currently working with producers that it has worked with over many years but if others would like to join or would like further information visit the ORC website.

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