The international LEONARDO DA VINCI On-Farm Education project of ÖMKi
Over the next two years the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi) will participate in a Leonardo da Vinci project with goals promoting development of on-farm research and education in cooperation with the organic farmers. In the project, four partners – IBLA from Luxemburg, FiBL from Austria, Bioinstitut from the Czech Republic and ÖMKi from Hungary – will share experiences on research and education based on participation and define best practices so far. In addition, a further objective is to define and imporve the skills required for the effective transmission of knowlegde for the organizers of research and education. As usual, farmers are in focus for the project – they determine problems needing to be solved throughout the research, as well as educational events consisting of 4-5 workshops and a final seminar take place mostly on the organic farms. The participants are farmers, consultants and researchers. The Leonardo project helps finance travel and lodging for the organization participants.
On-farm research projects at ÖMKi
The On-farm research network is a system of practical trials realized on organic farms in Hungary. It is made up of trials that are implemented and set in life-like situations conforming to the goals of production defined by the farmers. The subjects of the trials are established together with the participating farms. The particular method, species, produce or seed mixture is tested in the varied practice of everyday life concerning its productivity rather than under strictly controlled circumstances. Thus, the farmers taking part in the network get feedback right from their own farming area and how this fits with their production technology. However, when the trials are established on multiple farms with different features for each subject, results provide a more comprehensive understanding of organic production in Hungary as well as specific solutions.
The essence of the on-farm research is cooperation: the selection, implementation, evaluation of the trials and the assessment of the results all create a strong connection between the farmers with typically several decades of experience and the practitioners, researchers and breeders involved in the project. The meetings, field events, sampling events or result assessment workshops also give the possibility to form a communitiy or farmers’ society during the year. The professional information is passed more effectively through conversation between the players, the mutually shared experience and competence get multiplied, and all participants can acquire various elements that would be difficult or impossible to be received without the other members of the system.