Research projects

Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains Towards Sustainability

Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains Towards Sustainability

Acronym : DiverIMPACTS

Code : H2020-RUR-2016-2 (727482)

Contract Period : 01/06/2017 - 31/05/2022

Project Webpage :

Main Funder : EU Horizon 2020

ORC Staff Contact : Katie Bliss

Crop diversification systems for the delivery of food, feed, industrial products and ecosystems services – from farm benefits to value-chain organisation.

Project Aims:

The overall goal of DiverIMPACTS is to achieve the full potential of diversification of cropping systems for improved productivity, delivery of ecosystem services and resource-efficient and sustainable value chains by:

  1. Assessing performances of crop diversification through rotation, intercropping and multiple cropping
  2. Providing rural areas actors with those key enablers and innovations that would remove existing barriers and ensure actual uptake of benefits of crop diversification at farm, value chain and territory levels and
  3. Make recommendations to policy-makers to facilitate the coordination of all relevant actors within the value chain.

DiverIMPACTS will build on existing experiences of crop diversification by networking and expanding 10 existing field experiments to quantify impacts of crop diversification and by accompanying 25 multi-actor case studies in their dynamic transition.

DiverIMPACTS will propose a range of technical and organisational innovations to remove lock-ins from farmers to consumers as well as strategies and recommendations to sustain crop diversification.

The consortium gathers a wide range of actors (farmers and farmer organisations, advisory services, cooperatives, logistic providers, scientists, industry, representatives of civil society and of rural areas).

Through a multi-actor approach, DiverIMPACTS will accompany and support innovation groups in their dynamic process to develop sustainable value chain systems characterised by a high level of crop diversification and new market products. The consortium involves pioneer actors of crop diversification and has strong experience in both the design and multicriteria assessment of innovative systems and the analysis of barriers that impede the transition towards sustainable diversified systems that contribute to the Rural Renaissance objectives.

ORC's Role:

ORC is leading work on ‘Strategies, methods and tools to sustain crop diversification all along the value chain’ (WP6), which will develop comprehensive and long-term strategies, recommendations and tools to promote the adoption of crop diversification within the current sociotechnical system. We will:

  1. Set up a Stakeholder Platform to monitor the project and make recommendations for the sociotechnical system
  2. Update existing decision-support and social learning systems with European advisory services to develop a fit-for-purpose crop diversification toolbox that helps farmers to assess various diversification alternatives and select the ones most suited to their specific system
  3. Propose training and education strategies adapted to crop diversification
  4. Set up, with local public and territorial managers, a roadmap to include cropping system diversification as a key target in their strategies
  5. Propose, with national and European managers, agricultural policy instruments and economic incentives that could be implemented to foster crop diversification.

ORC is leading on the three UK case studies (WP2), looking at examples where crop diversification has been done successfully.

  1. Crop diversification in protected vegetable systems (in collaboration with Tolhurst Organics)
  2. Growing pulses and innovative crops for a less resource intensive diet (buckwheat, quinoa, lentils etc.) (in collaboration with Hodmedod’s)
  3. Service crops to sustain soil fertility, herbal or diverse leys in arable systems valorised through grazing.

For each case study, an iterative co-innovation process, including already identified value chain actors beyond those involved as partners is implemented to:

  1. Define the current motivation and specific objectives for crop diversification
  2. Co-adapt innovative diversified cropping systems in an iterative and context-dependent way
  3. Identify the bottlenecks and technical solutions that will be further addressed by other work packages
  4. Define indicators that are most relevant to assess the sustainability of innovative, diversified cropping systems.

ORC also has some involvement in ‘Transfer, dissemination and communication of the project outcomes’ (WP7) and ‘Consortium coordination and project management’ (WP8).

Current progress highlights:

DiverIMPACTS webinar series

Read article in ORC Bulletin No.125 (Summer 2018) by Charlotte Bickler and Katie BlissDiversity from field to fork

A successful kick-off meeting was held on 7-9 June at INRA in Versailles, near Paris in France.

Download DiverIMPACTS project flyer

Project leader and partners:

  • Institut national de la recherche agronomique (Inra)
  • Assemblée permanente des chambres d’agriculture (APCA)
  • Association de coordination technique agricole (ACTA)
  • Association groupe École supérieure d’agriculture d’Angers (ESA)
  • Bioforum Vlaanderen (Bioforum)
  • Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria (CREA)
  • Fondazione Italiana Per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica (FIRAB)
  • Forschungsinstitut für Biologischen Landbau Stiftung (FiBL)
  • Inagro, Provinciaal extern Verzelfstandigd Agentschap in Privaatrechtelijke Vorm VZW (Inagro)
  • Inra Transfert SAS (IT)
  • Instytut Uprawy Nawozenia I Gleboznawstwa, Panstowowy Instytut Badawczy (IUNG-PIB)
  • Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen (LWK)
  • Okologiai Mezogazdasagi Kutaointezet Kozhasznu Nonprofit KFT (ÖMKI)
  • Progressive Farming Trust LTD (ORC)
  • EuroConsultants (ERC)
  • Services opérationnels du collège des producteurs (Socopro)
  • Stichting Bionext (Bionext)
  • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek
  • Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)
  • Thünen Institut für Biodiversität (VTI)
  • Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)
  • Wageningen University (WU)
  • Wal. Agri SA (Walagri)


Bliss K, Bickler C, Villa A, Tippin L, Vieweger A, Meldrum J, Padel S, Pearce B, Lea M (2019) Getting out of the commodity trap: Enabling diversity through alternative food networks. In First European Conference on Crop Diversification. September 18-21, 2019 Budapest. Book of abstracts. 310-311.

All sources of funding:

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under agreement No. 727482.