The goal of this questionnaire is to collect experiences and opinions on agro-ecological innovation and knowledge sharing in European food and farming systems. It will identify successful examples, as well as any obstacles that exist.
The EU has put innovation at the heart of its policies and sees it as a possible way out of the economic crisis. To date however, the focus has often been limited to high-tech innovation, neglecting the complexity of problems and the diversity of possible solutions. Many research projects only involve formal research institutes and universities, thus denying the innovation potential of other actors. Agricultural research is no exception.
These other actors, which include farmers, food processing companies, consumers and rural communities are only seen as end-users of knowledge, and are therefore rarely consulted on research topics, goals or methods. Despite this, it is possible to identify examples of bottom-up initiatives where formal research institutes have engaged with civil society networks or individual farmers and enterprises. Such approaches are common in agro-ecological research. Agro-ecology aims to make effective use of biodiversity and other ecological services such as nutrient cycling, whilst establishing trust between producers and consumers, and contributing to the fair development of rural areas. Agro-ecological innovation addresses diverse issues from breeding crops and animals adapted to local environmental conditions, over food processing that maintains the quality of the food, to the diversification of farming business models. But also simple changes in crop rotation, better timing of field work or small changes in machinery can be innovative steps towards better farming.
We are asking all stakeholders involved in the farming and food sector to share their experiences and opinions on best practice in, and obstacles to, the exchange among and use of agro-ecological knowledge by scientists and non-scientists. Whether you are a farmer, gardener, scientist, advisor, food chain operator, rural development initiative, environmental group or consumer organisation...we want to hear from you!
The questionnaire below contains 2 general parts, and 3 specific parts on research projects:
1. About you
2. Your access to knowledge
If you have participated in a research project either with our without the involvement of universities or other formal research institutes, we invite you to also complete the following parts:
3. Your experience with innovation projects in collaboration with formal research institutes
4. Your experience with innovation projects not involving formal research institutes
5. General opinion on research projects
We estimate that it will take about 30 minutes of your time to fill in the questionnaire.
We expect your answers before the 1st of June 2012.
Thank you for your cooperation.
- Project funded by : Fondation de France