21 March 2018
Amendments for soil health in top fruit

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27 March 2018
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15 March 2018
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Workshop report on practical uses of woodchip in organic horticultural systems

12 March 2018
New organic potato guide

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



Project code:


Contract period:

1 August 2009 to 31 March 2013

Project webpage:

Main funder:


Contact staff at ORC:

Dr. Bruce Pearce

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


  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.

Previous relevant work