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Abstract- This paper aims to reveal, and contribute to an understanding of, the linkage processes that connect innovation networks in sustainable agriculture to elements of the mainstream agricultural regime. It draws on findings from analysis of 17 Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture (LINSA) analysed within the EU research project SOLINSA (Support of Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture). The LINSA examined represent networks of actors engaged in: agricultural food production, alternative food marketing, urban food systems, care farming and farm energy production. The notion of compatibility and linkage at the macro level structures provides a framework in which to examine the linkage processes that enable LINSA (as niche projects) to adapt and the regime to accommodate them. Five modes of interaction are distinguished based on the level of LINSA compatibility with the regime; these are labelled: Compatible; Complementary; Emergent; Divergent; and Oppositional. The study reveals the dynamic and complex nature of both the LINSA and the regime entities and their interactions and the range of linkage processes that enable LINSA to adapt and the regime to accommodate them. In conclusion, although the challenges of transition to a more sustainable agriculture are often articulated at a macro level, this study shows that at a sub-niche or project level multiple linkage processes are operating which can help to bring about a transition to sustainability.
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