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Learning and Change Through Monitor Farms

Monitor Farm in field discussion

This research evaluates learning and change by farmers based on two Monitor Farms located in the Lothians and Morayshire regions of Scotland. Findings are based on observations and interviews conducted across the three-year Monitor Farm programme period (2017-2020) and a virtual workshop conducted one year after the programme concluded (April 2021). Our study contributes in-depth qualitative insights into key features of successful on-farm demonstration found to underpin community engagement and support capacity building among farmers, including acquisition of knowledge, approaches to decision-making, and challenging norms towards achieving individual and community legacy.


Our findings suggest lessons that may underpin future programmes and other demonstration events, interventions, or facilitated interactions. These lessons are founded in the importance and definition of key roles (particularly host farmers and facilitators) in terms of characteristics that underpin success and implementing approaches that challenge and support farmers to become active participants in community-based demonstration programmes or events. Effective leadership shown by host farmers, mediation and support provided by facilitators, and engagement by community members are essential for on-farm demonstration to build capacity, challenge norms, and support change in the farming sector through peer-to-peer learning.

“Farming is more isolated than it’s ever been because there’s less people, and the more you can bring the people together, well, it boosts the morale in the farming industry, I think. But it also shares ideas and I think that’s – it’s a win-win.” (Participating farmer)

Final report

Download full report here

Download summary report here

Interim findings

Download report here

Download summary here

Conference presentations

ESRS Congress Trondheim, June 2019

RESAS Deliverables

Gamification for farmer engagement and learning. March 2022


Virtual Tour development guidelines and future work recommendations March 2022



Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project
SEFARI – Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research InstitutesSEFARI is the collective of six Scottish world-leading Research Institutes working across the spectrum of environment, land, food, agriculture and communities – all topics which affect how we live our lives, in Scotland and beyond.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.