Pete Jorgensen

Development  and Testing of an on-line Knowledge Exchange Tool for food and farming

As a youngster, I spent many happy hours on my mother’s allotment spreading manure, planting beans, digging up potatoes, and getting good and mucky. During my adult life I have worked in several roles, including seven years as a web designer but I have always cultivated food whenever I have been lucky enough to have access to outdoor space to grow in. However, it was not until I began studying horticulture that my passion for plants began to realise its full potential. Firstly, I completed a foundation degree in Horticulture at Myerscough College in Lancashire before moving to Cornwall for a year to top up my degree to a BSc (Hons) with Eden Project Learning.

Whilst at Eden I had the opportunity to study sustainability and ethnobotany (people and their relationship with plants) as well as conducting lab-based research on the tissue culture of Plymouth pear (Pyrus cordata L.). I also hold a Permaculture design certificate (PDC) and have completed two MOOCs – one with the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Academy – ‘Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunities’, and one with UNITAR (United Nations) – ‘Integrated Planning for Climate Change and Biodiversity’. These courses complemented my academic studies and helped to build a broad trans-disciplinary skillset that includes physical and biological science as well as a general understanding of the social, political, and economic factors that are integral to the global challenges we are all facing.

More recently I have completed an MA in Environment and Development at Lancaster University. This gave me the opportunity to delve deeper into diverse subjects such as sustainable soil management, geoinformatics, data analysis and programming, and social science research methods. I am now fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to focus on researching online knowledge exchange (KE) in food and farming with the aim of building a usable and useful tool. One of the more challenging aspects of this PhD will be trying to determine methods for measuring the effectiveness of online knowledge exchange not just in terms of audience reach but in achieving tangible real-world outcomes.