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Networking European Farms to Enhance Cross Fertilisation and Innovation Uptake through Demonstration

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NEFERTITI (Networking European Farms to Enhance Cross Fertilisation and Innovation Uptake through Demonstration)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

Nefertiti aims to connect demonstration farms across Europe through 10 thematic areas representing the most challenging issues faced by the European agricultural sector. Nefertiti also aims to improve demonstration best practices in Europe and to continuously engage more farmers into demonstration activities in order to increase and improve peer-to peer learning and foster cross-fertilisation and knowledge exchange across actors, sectors and territories. After a successful 2019 demonstration campaign with the realisation of 262 diversified demonstration events across 13 countries, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the projet had to innovate in 2020 and quickly adopt an on-line demonstration model in order to keep maintaining the project activities and to keep the links and relationships with the innovation and demonstration local ecosystems.
The compilation of available knowledge on effective network development contains the key concepts and theories that underpin the NEFERTITI project aims and provides a common glossary of definitions. The “Good practice for farm demonstrations” gives an extensive overview of good practices for both on-farm and virtual demonstrations. The project built further on this work and further developed the FarmDemo Training kit (https://trainingkit.farmdemo.eu) with all relevant materials produced in the 3 Farm Demo Projects.
Nefertiti identified and connected European demo-farmers, innovation actors and projects for each thematic and enrol them as hub/network members. As a result, 45 hubs and 10 networks were established with 1056 demo-farmers and 233 innovation actors; 126 European innovation projects were also identified. An action plan for knowledge exchange meetings was created focusing on relevant technical themes for each network and sector. The structure of cross-visits was also defined and support was given to hub coaches and network leaders in the organisation and carry out of cross-visits. A study tour was organised in New Zealand in 2020 to learn about their demonstration and knowledge exchange best practices
The project carried out concrete demonstration actions in various partner countries, with an ambition of continuous quality improvement thanks to yearly evaluations and exchanges of practices. 495 events were registered on the platform for the 2 first demo campaign (262 events in 2019 and 233 in 2020, including 107 on-line demo-events for this lats year).
The project established and maintained a collaborative platform as central tool of Nefertiti. Within the platform various actors such as farmers, innovation actors, policy advisors and project consortia members collaborated through the access to the whole range of demo-activities across Europe (Demo-agenda) but also found tangible and purposeful results from the project (Demo reports, technical sheets, videos etc…)
An effective and efficient monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approach and supporting tools have been developed. Based on the analyses of 45 Hub M&E journals of the first-year, lessons learned have been separated in wins, hurdles, emerging questions and testimonies and described in a report. Some issues will need extra attention like improvement of facilitation of farmer to farmer learning during a farm demo, organising attractive content and measuring the impact of the demo.
Nefertiti also aims at facilitating a policy dialogue with targeted stakeholders and supporting the NEFERTITI network sustainability in the longer term. NEFERTITI have been connected with an external layer of regional stakeholders and ERIAFF Network; S3 AGRIFOOD Platform; ENRD; SCAR AKIS; EIP AGRI Service Point. The project has also created a voluntary Membership: there are currently 53 regional members who subscribed the NEFERTITI Membership.
Specific activities dedicated to effectively communicating, disseminating and reaching out the targets have been settled, implemented and improved all along the project development using existing and alternative approaches. Nefertiti Communication and dissemination activities focused on the use of modern information technologies like web-based platforms and existing social media (including a resrevoir of technical videos on demonstration activities) as well as more traditional tools like farmer journals, fact sheets, booklets, conferences, etc.
The information gathered on network development and the definition of 6 easy to understand key factors for network development is useful for both the networks within the project as other networks. Specifically, in combination with the DAP-guide, a useful tool is created for networks to achieve their long-term goals, by specifying shorter term actions. The development of “good practices for farm demonstration” and the gathering of all relevant information from the FarmDemo projects in the FarmDemo Training kit provides an interesting reference work.
The activities supported by WP2, i.e. on-farm demonstrations, EU cross-visits, and knowledge exchange activities, contribute to an increased farmer-to-farmer exchange of knowledge and higher visibility of on-farm demonstrations.
495 events organised, 25 000 participants for 2019 and 2020, an online platform where all the events characteristics are registered and opened, and tools to evaluate all the events were set up in the first part of the project. The hub coaches, hub members and network leader’s involvement and the number of events and visitors all around Europe is a good sign to believe that Nefertiti could structure a sustainable innovative European networks of demonstration on the long term.
The creation of the platform is seen as a great way for knowledge shown on the demo events to be shared even further. Many of the demonstration events showcase innovative solutions which impact the socio-economic state of their farm, but also their environment. These good practices can be found on the platform and implemented onto other EU farms.
The tools, methods and activities of WP5 stimulate Hub Coaches in a structured and critical assessment of their demonstration activities. They have been trained to develop a reflexive stance and have received the tools to critically reflect and evaluate their practices, views and ways of doing things. It will lead to an improved capacity to organise effective and efficient farm demo’s and finally in better demonstrations.
NEFERTITI has shown capacity of generating awareness on the role of on-Farm P2P Demonstration activities in relevant socio-economic regional ecosystems. The participation of Regional Governments through WP6 activities can provide a broader support to Demonstration and Demo Farm in relevant National, Regional and Local policy tools and increase the possibility of an uptake of project’s methodologies and recommendations by relevant operators and decision-makers.
Finally, Nefertiti aims to widely disseminate all relevant results (technical results, demonstration best practices, governance models etc…) to a wide range of actors and stakeholders across Europe. The NEFERTITI platform and NEFERTITI website acted as an aggregator of broad range of practical information from various sources and have been widely advertised through a very-active Social media communication. The improvement of the Farm Demo Youtube channel must be highlighted as innovative tool to share knwoledge with an objective of sustainability across the time.
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