Research projects

Transitions to agroecological systems: Farmers’ viewpoints

Contract Period : 01/11/2016 - 30/09/2017

Main Funder : Scottish Natural Heritage on the behalf of the Land Use Policy Group

ORC Staff Contact : Susanne Padel

A study of the motivations, attitudes and experiences of farmers who have adopted agroecological farming, based on in-depth interviews with 14 farmers in England, Scotland and Wales and compared with two relevant models

Project Aims:

The aim of the study is to provide insight into the transition process from conventional to agroecological approaches, as perceived by a selected group of UK farmers. It aims to:

  • Undertake a social science study of farmers’ experience of transition towards agroecological approaches in the UK;
  • Identify motivations, challenges and opportunities encountered, together with the perceived benefits and disadvantages associated with the transition;
  • Gain an understanding of individuals’ trajectories in context, including social, economic, biophysical, cultural and psychological dimensions.

Project leader and partners:

ORC, project leaders
GWCT Allerton project


Padel S, Rubenstein O, Woolford A, Egan J, Leake A, Levidow L, Pearce B, Lampkin N (2017) Transitions to Agroecological Systems: Farmers’ Viewpoints. A Report for the Landuse Policy Group. Newbury and Fordingbridge: Organic Research Centre and Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.


Padel S, Levidow L, Pearce B (2019) UK farmers’ transition pathways towards agroecological farm redesign: evaluating explanatory models, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems’ DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2019.1631936

Padel S (2018) Farmers viewpoints on transitions to agroecological systems ORC Bulletin No.124

Padel S, Egan J, Rubenstein O, Woolford A, Pearce B (2017). Transitions to Agroecological Systems: Farmers’ Viewpoints. Aspects of Applied Biology 136, Sustainable Intensification, pp. 27-32

Project Output:

Scottish Natural Heritage have published five case studies.