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Developing the Welsh organic sector: knowledge sharing and learning processes

Morgan, Selyf Lloyd 2010. Developing the Welsh organic sector: knowledge sharing and learning processes. [Working Paper]. Cardiff: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS), Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This paper follows research on how full-time family farmers learn about organic farming in Wales. The study surveys the sources and the support services used by farmers: as they made the decision to convert; during conversion; and as they became more proficient organic farmers. Whilst there are potentially extensive networks of knowledge sources ava ilable, organic farmers continue to be reliant on their own initiative, and show preference for learning from peer groups. However, farmers in the study also show differing expectations of organic farming, which is reflected in the ways that they learn about the system, and farmers’ learning processes are shown to be influenced both by their attitudes and motivations to business, as well as to organic conversion. Differentiation among organic farmers also indicates the differential ‘framing’ of organic farmers, organic agriculture, and sustainable agriculture in general. Such framing, and farmers’ response to it, affects the development of organic farming, and indicates how farmers and others act as co-producers of knowledge about organic agriculture. Interaction between organic and conventional farmers also shows potential to produce hybrid farming practices, the development of which may have implications for policy ranging from agri-environment to climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The study explores the ways farmers interact in associations, analysis of which has made use of the Community of Practice (CoP) framework to explore social learning processes in agriculture. Understanding social learning processes is of general interest in extension practice, and this paper is, therefore, relevant to those working on extension methods and learning processes in agriculture, as well as to those interested in the development of organic and other alternative or innovative practices in Welsh agriculture.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Geography and Planning (CPLAN)
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organic agriculture ; Farmer learning ; Social learning ; Communities of practice
Additional Information: BRASS Working Paper Series No.63 ISBN: 9781906644420
Publisher: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS), Cardiff University
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:40
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/23701

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