We divide the research of our Working Group Knowledge Systems and Innovation (AGWI) in two thematic areas: i) Local and traditional knowledge systems, and ii) innovation processes.

In both thematic areas, we examine certified and non-certified (“organic by default”) organic farming systems in a multitude of socio-ecological contexts, spanning from rural to urban and from Austria to other European and non-European countries.

Local and traditional knowledge systems

In our research, we are interested in the holders of knowledge in local and traditional knowledge systems and in knowledge itself, its development and transmission. We put our focus on ethnobotanical research – hence the interactions between humans and plants –, whereas we also contribute to research in other ethnosciences and local and traditional knowledge systems in larger contexts.

Selected projects


Ethnoclimatologie and -meteorology: LICCI

Ethnopedology: Boden:Kultur

Ethnoveterinary medicine: Ethnovet

Local and traditional knowledge systems: OxapampaCombioserveDynamics of local knowledgeWays of knowing

Selected publications


Ethnoclimatology and -meteorology: (Reyes-García et al., 2024a; Reyes-García et al., 2024bReyes-García et al., 2024cOgalleh et al., 2012)

Ethnoecology: (Hollaus et al., 2022a2022b)

Ethnopedology: (Wahlhütter et al., 2016)

Ethnoveterinary medicine: (Mayer et al., 2014Stucki et al., 2019)

Methodological research: (Caruso et al., 2016Grasser et al., 2016Vogl et al., 2004)

Local and traditional knowledge systems: (Molnár et al. 2023Haselmair et al., 2014)

Innovation processes

We investigate innovation processes in organic farming and their significance for smallholder farms and rural development. We put our focus on innovations and experiments, which are initiated by farmers themselves, and innovations in the organic control and certification system.

Selected projects

Control and certification system: Participatory guarantee systems

Educational innovations: McKioto

Farmers’ innovations: Organic Farmers‘ Experiments

Selected publications

Control and certification system: (Hruschka et al., 2022Kaufmann et al., 2023Leitner & Vogl, 2020López Cifuentes et al., 2018)

Farmers' innovations: (Kummer et al., 2012Leitgeb et al., 20142016Vogl et al., 2015)