What was the challenge/ problem that was addressed? 

The Corona crisis clearly showed that many citizens are interested in working on farms, helping farmers in various ways. This project involves a group of farmers who are open to cooperation with citizens and departs from their own needs, as well as the more general needs of the industry to involve citizens – paid and unpaid – in farming activities. 

Closer cooperation between farmers and citizens in various forms (volunteering, care, educational practice, paid work, citizen involvement, public services) indeed has many different potentials. However, this potential is largely untapped. 

The project will reduce barriers to citizen participation and aims to promote innovative forms of cooperation. Re-evaluating volunteering and employment statutes based on legal expertise. What conditions need to be taken into account, such as competition rules, how governments can become facilitators of farmer-citizen co-creation food strategies. 

How did you solve the problem? 

We created a project where farmers, experts and scientists are working on: 

  1. a breakthrough notes on farmer and citizen participation. 
  1. a learning network for experimenting with farmer and citizen cooperation.  

Develop policy strategies by exploring new labor market programs based on existing campaigns and platforms that emerged and were strengthened during the lockdown period. 

What are the success factors in solving the problem? 

  • Find appropriate legal models for cooperation between farmers and citizens. 
  • Providing an enabling system for training citizens. 
  • Providing innovative platforms for cooperation between farmers and citizens. 

Unexpected fails if any 


Lessons learned. 


What role does the advisor or advisory service play within the practical case? 

ILVO played an important role in the creation and writing of the project proposal. Even if it is a farmer-centric issue and farmers are at the center of the steering group. 

Can your approach be transferred and/or adapted for other innovation challenges and regions? 


Estimated transferability on a scale from 1 to 5  

(where 1 is easy and 5 very difficult) 


For sharing the experience on the good practice, please contact Maarten Crevits (maarten.crivits@ilvo.vlaanderen.be)