Facilitating Participatory Processes


Society has increasing expectations about farms, the agriculture industry and the rural area. A diverse array of stakeholders are involved in this process.

  1. Farmers are facing increasing expectations about the environmental and societal aspects of farming. At the same time they have to increase or at least maintain their economic competitiveness. Sustainable agricultural production systems are becoming ever more important. It is therefore necessary to monitor the economic, environmental and social aspects of the farm in order to enable and support the sustainable development of individual farms. ILVO conducts research on learning processes in farmers as well as the role of sustainability assessment tools in sustainable farm development.
  2. An increasing number of stakeholders are using the rural area for different purposes (e.g. nature, recreation, economic activities, etc.). The dominant position of agriculture in this rural area is no longer a given. Various types of users are staking a claim on the available space. Constructive and supported solutions to these challenges rely on a dialogue between the different stakeholders. ILVO researches multistakeholder processes. We ask, “How can we organize such processes? What are critical success factors? What techniques are useful to obtain a good result?” The questions are myriad.

facilitating participatory processes


  1. Setting up Learning Trajectories for Sustainable Farm Development
    In social learning processes, where farmers and advisors exchange and discuss results in a social setting (e.g. discussion groups), they exchange knowledge and experience on sustainability issues. Important aspects in such a trajectory are the stakeholders involved, tools and methods used in this aspect, and the process. The goal of the trajectory is to motivate farmers to actively choose for a more sustainable farm management which incorporates economic, environmental and social aspects. ILVO can initiate and guide such trajectories for farmers associations, advisory services and government services.
  2. Process Design and Facilitation of Multistakeholder Processes
    ILVO offers support in processes where a wide range of rural stakeholders are involved. This support includes the construction of an optimal process design: what is the goal of the process, who should/will be included and when? What are the opinions of the different stakeholders, and what are the possibilities to reach a consensus? We also offer support in moderating and facilitating workshops, discussions, and focus groups. By using an array of techniques and methodologies a lively and balanced debate is organised that is specifically tailored to the stakeholders involved as well as the goal of the process.


Setting up learning trajectories for sustainable farm development: Fleur Marchand and Lies Debruyne
Process design and facilitation of multistakeholder processes: Elke Rogge and Joost Dessein