Soil Association field labs

Jan 10, 2016

an opportunity to test ideas 

David Michie, recently appointed Agricultural Development Manager for Soil Association Scotland, has asked us to share this article with you as he starts to build a new Field Lab programme.

David writes:
Have you ever wanted to find out if doing something different on your holding actually makes a difference? Or have you heard of a different way of doing things, but you’re just not sure if it will be worth it? Have you any nagging doubts about whether the advice you have taken is actually making a difference? 

Now is the time to find out. A new  Field Lab programme has recently been launched, and we are looking for ideas. This is an opportunity to test new approaches, share existing best practice, and help solve problems. Field Labs bring agricultural research directly to the field and in the shed, putting farmers and growers at their heart. 

Field Labs work out effective practical approaches to tackling real problems in sustainable farming, learn how to do more effective DIY trials, and identify gaps where academic research could make a crucial difference. 

Each Field Lab will bring farmers and growers together with a researcher and a dedicated facilitator (me) to focus on research questions posed by you. Each Field Lab group will meet up to four times during the trial to track progress and compare notes. Field Labs are there to directly test solutions, rather than discuss issues, or rely on received wisdom. 

If you have an idea that you would like to test out, or if you want to look at something you are doing with a fresh pair of eyes, then please call me on 07718 570 946 or email me at Field Labs are available to all farmers and growers, not just organic ones. 

Field Labs in Scotland are delivered by Future Farming Scotland, and are free to attend and open to all. Funding is provided through Duchy Future Farming, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in partnership with the Scottish Government, Forestry Commission Scotland, and QMS. 

Click here for a sample Field Lab report.

We’d love to know if any of you take the opportunity of being involved in the programme; please leave a comment below or email us using

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