Small-scale farmers all over the world face a number of common biophysical and socio-economic challenges. In this paper we draw on data from a workshop held in the UK in 2005, to assess whether experiences in addressing these challenges, as gained in the global South, may be used to inform solutions to similar challenges in the UK. In doing so, we contribute to a growing body of literature that seeks to challenge predominantly North-South flows of knowledge and resources. We first identify specific common challenges faced by small-scale farmers in the global North and South. We then compare the different solutions used to address these problems, drawing on the first-hand experiences of the academics, small-scale farmers, NGO staff and policymakers who participated in the workshop. Next, we examine the transferability of solutions between locations, elucidating the conditions that support and hinder such transfers. Finally, we evaluate the potential for a workshop approach to act as a 'learning space', in which the sharing of experiences can foster learning for participants and lead to new, creative ways of thinking about the process-based challenges faced by small-scale farmers. © 2008 The Author(s). © 2008 Royal Geographical Society.