The role of intuition in managing organic farm system health.

Published online
17 Oct 2018
Content type
Bulletin article; Conference paper

Paxton, R. & Klimek, M. & Vieweger, A. & Döring, T. & Bloch, R. & Bachinger, J. & Woodward, L.
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Publication language
UK & Austria & Germany


This article concerns the organic movement's aim to promote health across the entire farm system as outlined by the IFOAM Principle of Health (IFOAM 2005). It discusses the implementation of Health by organic farmers in Austria, Germany and the UK. Results from an international survey and a series of workshops on health promoting strategies and principles suggest that intuition is a key feature of organic farmers' management of farm health when the farm is understood as a system consisting of interdependent domains of soil, plants, animals, humans and ecosystems. Intuition is discussed with regard to the challenges of knowledge sharing and producing shared strategies for organic health promotion. It raises questions about how farmers can better reflect upon, learn from, and articulate seemingly intuitive decisions. The empirical results demonstrate the challenge and the possibilities of developing shared frameworks that support organic farmers in making decisions to promote farm health.

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