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Femke Hoekstra
Junior researcher
Rural Sociology, Wageningen University
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 317 483032

What is a Community of Practice (CoP)?

A Community of Practice (CoP) is a group that evolves or is created specifically based on common interests in a particular field, with the goal of gaining knowledge related to that field. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences within the group that members learn from each other and have an opportunity to develop. Though this type of learning has been going on for centuries, spatial barriers have hindered this type of exchange and therefore new techniques will be experimented with in our project, such as online networking tools.

The three communities of practice the Foodlinks project is exploring have been created specifically for this project with the strong desire that these groups evolve and grow over the length of our project and beyond.

Join us on the Knowledge Hub

To share your views on the different themes and to find documents and case studies that might be interesting for you, please join our Discussion Groups on the Knowledge Hub:

Knowledge brokerage in Foodlinks

A key characteristic of the Foodlinks project is that it brings together different types of knowledge and experience, not only from research but also more practical and tacit knowledge from policy and civil society representatives. Foodlinks organises a collective process of sharing and integrating this knowledge around particular problems of food systems.

By engaging in ongoing interactions and joint activities, the process will deepen actors’ knowledge and expertise, foster what they learn from each other, and develop a mutual understanding about the topic at stake.

The Communities of Practice (CoPs, see right margin) go through different phases (scoping, envisioning, exploring the existing knowledge reservoir and reflecting on learning) in which knowledge brokerage can fulfil different functions e.g. exchange, transfer, translation and dissemination.

These knowledge brokerage activities mainly take place at the Communities of Practice  level but we will also ensure exchange between CoPs.

Since the members of the CoPs in the Foodlinks project are distributed across Europe, activities are challenged by cultural contexts and distance. Most activities in the CoPs therefore take place online.

These activities include for example the sharing of publications, discussions around specific themes in online meetings and collaborative writing of strategic documents. In the face to face meetings we also apply participatory techniques. The document "A Compilation of Tools and Methods for Knowledge Brokerage (560 KB)" includes a compilation of knowledge brokerage tools which are  supposed to facilitate the decision on which tools could best support the CoPs in the different phases.

The project monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of linking research, policy and practice within the thematic CoPs through the conducted knowledge brokerage activities by means of value creation narratives, reflection interviews (see videos) and social network analysis.  

Further information

Foodlinks publications

Project results achieved thus far (in draft form):

Link to Foodlinks videos