At La Junquera (Spain) one of the students of the Regeneration Academy is researching how didactic farms can help the transition to more sustainable farming practices.
Farms can play a central role in creating environments of practical learning
and passing on knowledge, where academia, research, farmers, students and consumers can meet and connect through activities in a real-world farm environment.
Didactic farms can take many different forms, ranging from demo farm plots that train and demonstrate practices to other farmers, to university run farms, farms that do educational activities for children and youth to fully complex didactic farms that not
only run their day-to-day farm operation but combine many of the above elements.
It is clear that formal and academic education can only cover a part of this education. Action-learning, or learning within actual cultural and social contexts and where practical agroecological experiences are not just seen as an addition for students but rather a focal and starting point, is very important for La Junquera. Real-life
observation and experiences are central to this learning process for students and researchers but also children, consumers and farmers. Previous research shows “that the provision of educational services on farms is a beneficial element of practical education. Furthermore, educational farms are an innovative example of didactics in rural areas, with their focus on thematic cohesion with respect to sustainable
social, economic and environmental development.“ (Kowalska et al 2016, p. 81)
LaJunquera is not only a working and profitable farm but also a successful and well-known didactic farm and considered a key demo farm for regenerative agriculture in Spain. It regularly hosts students, interns, volunteers and researchers at its Regeneration Academy, works with different universities, various organisations and is part of the regional regenerative initiative and network “AlVelAl” that focuses on
farmer-to-farmer workshops and training in order to spread regenerative practices. The Regeneration Academy has the aim to contribute directly to the improvement of practices by utilising knowledge to enable practical innovation and to bringing together stakeholders to facilitate knowledge and best-practice exchange and forge new cooperation. (regeneration-academy.org).
The results of this study will be shared on the Regeneration Academy website in four months.