Changing the future of food and farming

Research projects

Development of methodology for assessing the environmental, economic and social characteristics of (organic and non-organic) farming systems

Acronym : FSAM

Code : OF0386

Contract Period : 01/08/2009 - 31/03/2013

Project Webpage : http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/lifesci/wcc/research/impact/farmingsystems

Main Funder : DEFRA

ORC Staff Contact : Bruce Pearce

A range of UK farming systems will be described. A methodology will be developed, to describe their economic, environmental and social characteristics, from a life-cycle approach to capture inputs, products, outputs and impacts of the systems.

Project Aims:

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. Establish a project steering group.
  2. Review published and un-published work.
  3. Describe a range of farming systems.
  4. Identify the characteristics of those farming systems.
  5. Develop methods that can be used to assess and quantify the impact of farming systems at appropriate scales.
  6. Validate the method using case studies.
  7. Report on and discuss the results.

ORC's Role:

To advise on the productivity, economics and environmental impacts of organic and non-organic farming systems and on all aspects of organic and non-organic farming systems.

As part of this ORC is working on a concept of Total System Output as a functional indicator to complement land area, food produced and financial output.

Project leader and partners:

Deliverables:

  1. The project will identify the characteristics (and supporting indicators) which describe the many diverse farming systems in the UK.
  2. An integrated environmental, economic and social assessment should inform policymakers of the impact that different farming system (and production outputs) have on society.
  3. The project should support Defra’s ambition to encourage an expansion of organic farming by revealing its value (and impact) in comparison to non-organic systems.
  4. A review of existing literature.
  5. Methodology for assessing the environmental, economic and social characteristics of farming systems.