In July 1987, around 50 social and natural scientists met at a workshop on ‘Farmers and Agricultural Research: Complementary Methods', which later became known as the ‘Farmer First' workshop. It marked a key moment in the development of approaches to farmer participation in agricultural research and extension, drawing together experiences from a diverse range of individuals and organisations from both North and South. It was followed by a second workshop, 'Beyond Farmer First', in 1992.
Now, 20 years after the initial workshop, Future Agricultures Consortium in association with the STEPS Centre at Sussex are hosting an international workshop, ‘Farmer First Revisited', to reflect on 20 years of experience in the field and assess opportunities and challenges for the future. The workshop will be held at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, on 12-14 December 2007.
The opening sessions on Wednesday 12th of December include a series of short scene-setting presentations as well as opportunities to share materials and experiences in the open space sessions. Over the following two days, the workshop will focus on three broad themes:
(1) Agricultural innovation systems – putting farmers first?
(2) Organising agricultural research and development for the 21st century
(3) Methodological innovation, personal and organisational change: looking to the future.
A Farmer First Website has been set up to share information among participants of the workshop and with a wider audience. It includes information on all the Farmer First conferences, a 'wiki' timeline (which allows participants and others to add milestone publications, events, ‘moments’, processes and so on which they think are important), a blog and useful links.
For more details, see the website
and the documents listed below: