The project concept is based on the networking of farmers and other innovators with scientists in actor groups to collate and validate relevant research-based knowledge. These actor groups draw on their own research-based knowledge, other knowledge, and on their own value-chain actors’ knowledge. The actor groups are already supported by public initiatives such as the German Plant Protein Strategy and private initiatives such as Donau Soja. Our work has cross-sectoral elements including supporting corporate social responsibility schemes and the development of sustainable value chains generally.
The project enables exchange and rigorous knowledge synthesis and compilation at four levels in a co-learning framework. The first is at the level of specific actor group farming systems and related value chain activities. The second is is between related actor groups within seven networked technical areas of the agricultural sector (sub-networks called transition networks). The third is exchange between research-based partners and the policy community. The fourth cycle is about interaction between actor group-level knowledge and the policy community.
Figure 1. A co-learning framework supports interaction witin and between actor groups, and between
The project produces practice notes and abstracts, practice and development guides, and videos on a multi-lingual knowledge internet platform (The Legume Hub). This is an open publishing facility which is open to all interested in this innovation area.
Transition networks promote increased flow of practical information between geographic areas with exchange occurring from southern Finland to Greece and from Ireland to Bulgaria. They cover a broad range of conditions and production systems (including pigs, poultry, dairy and aquaculture). Agronomic, economic and social complementarity between east and west is in focus with a strong presence in eastern Europe (eastern Germany, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania and Serbia). Donau Soja as one of the leading partners has a long-term strategic approach to innovation across Europe and is therefore well-placed to build on the project’s outcomes after it is completed.