The impacts associated with alternative methods of agricultural cultivation, and the factors that drive their adoption, are critically dependent on the scale at which they are applied. Using organic farming as a case study, the project undertook an integrated assessment of scale effects by studying matched sets of farms situated in landscapes with high and low concentrations of organic farming.
The research strategy was built on the three principles:
- Engagement with those involved in the topics we are analysing improves the quality and substance of our work as well as ensuring that what we do contributes to learning.
- Interaction with diverse groups – from government, the private sector and civil society – can help protect against undue influences by any one group.
- Independent researchers can provide a setting in which to bring together diverse groups from across society to discuss difficult challenges.
Sources of funding
It has been made possible to establish the team with a grant from the Rural Economy and Land Use programme (RELU; link to: relu.ac.uk) of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC; link to: esrc.ac.uk), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC; nerc.ac.uk) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC; bbsrc.ac.uk). Members of the group were and are involved in a range of projects with funding from other sources, including the European Commission, European Science Foundation, NERC, ESRC, DEFRA, Scottish Executive – Environment and Rural Affairs Department, and others.