Transdisciplinary knowledge production in organic agriculture

Especially in the initial phase of organic agriculture practical knowledge and the cooperation between farmers, researchers and extension agents played a central role in knowledge production. At this time knowledge exchange shows many characteristics of transdisciplinary knowledge production. Since then the potential of the collaboration of practice and science has more and more been neglected. This tendency is regretted by a majority of key actors of organic agriculture in Switzerland who were interviewed in the framework of this study. The present article illustrates wishes and visions of these actors regarding the future development of knowledge production in organic farming. The analysis reveals that the decreasing intensity of knowledge exchange could be in connection with an increasing influence of traditional institutional structures and a decline of the discussion of the fundamental ideas and philosophical bases of organic agriculture, which relate to a holistic worldview. With regard to a successful further development of organic farming as a sustainable form of agriculture the study recommends to restimulate the formerly intensive knowledge exchange among actors of organic farming by the application of transdisciplinary concepts and research projects.

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