Behind the scenes of a learning agri-food value chain: lessons from action research

Charis Linda Braun, Vera Bitsch, Anna Maria Häring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The development of sustainable agri-food systems requires not only new academic knowledge, but also concrete social and organizational change in practice. This article reflects on the action research process that supported and explored the learning process in an emerging agri-food value chain in the Berlin-Brandenburg region in eastern Germany. The action research study involved value chain actors, academic researchers, and process facilitators in a learning network. By framing the network’s learning and problem solving processes in concepts of organizational learning, lessons were drawn for researchers and value chain developers. The results underline the importance of process facilitation in a learning value chain to create a social space, in which the actors in the value chain can interact and find a common basis for collaboration. In the learning process, facilitators used an iterative design to consistently align learning activities with the needs of practitioners to ensure practical relevance. To establish new practices and partnerships, value chain actors challenged existing routines and developed new ideas and visions, while at the same time improving established practices within their organizations and along the entire value chain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-134
Number of pages16
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Action research
  • Grounded theory
  • Local and organic food
  • Organizational learning
  • Process facilitation


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