Research - Current projects
The Sustainable Organic Vegetable Systems Network(Defra OF 0340)
Aims:To identify the agronomic, economic and management factors that contribute to sustainable vegetable production systems
Background:This project was conceived in response for the need to increase self sufficiency in the UK organic vegetable market. At present 43 % of organic vegetables are imported and there is the scope to increase the UK supply to the levels found in the conventional sector which in 2000 was 71% for vegetables. To achieve this growers need increasing levels of technical knowledge and information to be able to improve efficiency of production and quality and consistency of produce. A wide range of variation in performance between farms have been identified in other projects and the reasons behind this need to be explored more fully. The project will work closely with a group of vegetable growers and seeks to advance knowledge on production systems.
Approaches:The project adopts a participatory approach where the growers are involved in the process of identifying the areas of focus for research. The key factors which contribute towards sustainable organic vegetable systems are identified by monitoring eleven organic vegetable growers for three growing seasons. Monitoring takes place by collecting farm records, interviews and crop walks to provide a snapshot of the growing season.
Monitoring innovation is an integral part of the project. Areas of innovation are identified through interview and farmers