Methodologies

Co-creation of knowledge happens when new knowledge emerges from sharing, learning and working together with other people” (Jessica Milgroom , Janneke Bruil , Cees Leeuwis in Farming Matters 32.1 Editorial)

We believe that everyone can contribute to the creation of new knowledge. During the FEI, all the participants get plenty of opportunities to share their perspectives, experience and questions. At the actual farm internship, the participants will learn a lot by working and living together with the farmer. At the same time, the curiosity of the participants will also shed a new light on the farming- and lifestyle of the farmers. During these interactions new ideas are born and new insights are created.

What is needed to create new knowledge together? There are three main ingredients for the co-production of knowledge. The first ingredient is an open mind. What do the participants and the farmers want to learn? What type of knowledge could someone offer? The second ingredient is critical reflection. What kind of new knowledge has been created? What kind of knowledge is still missing? The third ingredient is interaction. Interactive methods could help to visualize existing knowledge as well as to facilitate the emergence of new ideas.

Interactive methods during week 1 and 4 of the FEI
During week 1 and 4 of the FEI, all the sessions are very participatory. The invited speakers align their presentations to the background and existing experience of the participants. Regularly the participants are divided into small groups and are asked to discuss topics and create new ideas. This could be expressed in several ways, such as on posters, in a play or a physical design. In addition, during several moments participants get the chance to present their knowledge to each other. At the end of the FEI, the experiences, ideas and insights of the participants are combined and visualized in a hand-drawn/written storybook.

Interactive methods during the farm internship
During the farm internship, a lot of knowledge exchange happens spontaneously, for example during weed picking or coffee breaks. In order to create new knowledge, there are several interactive methods which the participants could use when interviewing the farmers. You could for instance make a rich picture together with the farmer, illustrating the main elements, stakeholders and relationships involved in the farm, or you could create a new design for the future. Other interactive methods could be the ranking of specific items (such as market outlets or agro-ecological methods) or the drawing of a timeline of the farm history. These visual methods stimulate the farmer to express unconscious or embodied knowledge. By referring to the visualizations (such as a map, a diagram, or a timeline) participants could ask more in-depth questions to the farmers. Often the visualizations are just a start of a conversation and could open up a whole new world which cannot be reached by talking alone.

Some websites for more inspiration and more methods:

Participatory interviewing methods
Workshop Michelle Steggerda 29-07-2016

Simple ranking
Purpose: get to know more about the priorities of the farmer on topic X
Step 1: choose a question starting with “what are the different … (topic X) on/of your farm?” Topics could be e.g. animals, crops, activities, markets, machinery, agro-ecological principles
Step 2: ask the farmer to write down all the possible answers on separate post-its
Step 3: ask the farmer to put the post-its in order of importance

Graph ranking
Purpose: get to know more about the considerations of the farmer on topic X
Step 1: choose a question starting with “what are the different … (topic X) on/of your farm?” Topics could be e.g. animals, crops, activities, markets, machinery, agro-ecological principles
Step 2: let the farmer write down all the possible answers on separate post-its
Step 3: draw a graph with two axis defined by your group
Step 4:
let the farmer put the post-its on the graph
examples 1: personal energy which it costs v.s. personal energy which it will give
example 2: economic benefits v.s. ecological benefits

Season ranking
Purpose: get to know more about the seasonal differences of the farm on topic X
Step 1: choose a question starting with “what are the different … (X) on/of your farm?”
Topic X could be e.g. animals, crops, activities, markets, machinery, agro-ecological principles
Step 2: let the farmer write down all the possible answers on separate post-its
Step 3: draw a calendar or a circle with all the seasons
Step 4: let the farmer put the post-its on the calendar/circle

Social mapping
Purpose: learn about the location of different people on the farm
Step 1: ask the farmer to draw a map of the farm
Step 2: ask the farmer to write down all the names of the persons who are involved in the farm on different post-its (could be people who are working/visiting/living on the farm).
Step 3: ask the farmer to put the post-its on the map by asking where on the farm the different persons usually are

Mobility mapping
Purpose: learn about the routes the visitors takes on the farm and what the obstacles are
Step 1: ask the farmer to draw a map of the farm
Step 2: ask the farmer to draw the mobility of the typical visitor (e.g. costumers or tourists)
Step 3: ask the farmer to write down all obstacles of these routes on different post-its and put them on the map

Resource mapping
Purpose: learn about the location of resources on the farm
Step 1: ask the farmer to draw a map of the farm
Step 2: ask the farmer to write down all valuable resources of the farm on different post-its (resources could be natural, human or capital).
Step 3: ask the farmer to put the post-its on the map by asking where the resources are located on the farm

Please note: it is allowed to move up and down between the different steps, but don’t lose sight of the purpose!

Future mapping:
Purpose: learn about the desired future by the farmer
Step 1: ask the farmer to draw a map of the farm
Step 2: ask the farmer to point out the negative and positive places of the farm
Step 3: ask the farmer about his/her dreams for the future
Step 4: let the farmer write/draw possible additions to the farm on different post-it
Step 5: ask the farmer to put the post-its on the map

Institutional diagram
Purpose: learn about the relationships between the farm and the outside world
Step 1: ask the farmer to write down the different organisations that the farm has relationships with on different post-its
Step 2: ask the farmer to write the name of the farm at the middle of a poster
Step 3: ask the farmer to draw lines between the farm and the different organizations
Step 4: ask the farmer to write down the kind of relationship between the farm and the different organizations next to the lines

Social venn diagram
Purpose: learn about the different roles of workers on the farm
Step 1: ask the farmer to write down the different tasks of workers on different post-its
Step 2: ask the farmer to come up with different 2 or 3 different categories of work
e.g. white/blue collar work or voluntary/internship/paid work
Step 3: ask the farmer to draw circles which represent these categories and see if/how they overlap
Step 4: ask the farmer to put the post-its in the circles or in the overlapped area

Natural venn diagram
Purpose: learn about the different ecological services of species type X on the farm
Step 1: ask the farmer to write down all the species of type X (e.g. insects or trees)  of the farm on different post-its
Step 2: ask the farmer to come up with different 2 or 3 different categories of ecological services e.g. pollination/decomposition/biological control or shading/removing pollutants/reduce run-off
Step 3: ask the farmer to draw circles which represent these categories and see if/how they overlap
Step 4: ask the farmer to put the post-its in the circles or in the overlapped area

Please note: it is allowed to move up and down between the different steps, but don’t lose sight of the purpose!