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About the Living Laboratories Initiative

The Living Laboratories Initiative is a new approach to agricultural innovation in Canada, which brings together farmers, scientists, and other collaborators to develop and test innovative practices and technologies. Through a nation-wide network of living labs, the initiative focuses on innovative solutions to environmental issues related to agriculture, such as climate change, soil health, water quality and biodiversity. The goal of the Living Laboratories Initiative is to accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable practices and technologies by Canadian farmers.

Core principles

The initiative is based on three core principles:

Innovation cycle

At the start of a living lab project, farmers, scientists, local collaborators, and others come together to discuss the farmers’ needs and to identify common priorities and objectives.

Then, working together, they design innovative new practices or technologies to help address these needs. These innovations are then tested, evaluated, and further improved through a set of repeating steps.

Innovation cycle

With each cycle of innovation, we learn more about the practices and technologies under development. As the cycle is repeated, the innovations are continually adjusted to address feedback from farmers, collaborators and scientists, as well as prioritize agri-environmental challenges.

Because the resulting innovations are co-developed with farmers from beginning to end, they are more likely to be adopted by farmers. The co-development process ensures that innovations are economically viable, technically feasible and desirable for the producers in addition to being scientifically sound. Collaboration with farmers throughout the cycle of innovation is therefore essential.

Expected results

The initiative will lead to the development and local use of practical technologies and sustainable farming practices to help Canadian farmers:

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