Special Issue "Sustainable Agriculture–Beyond Organic Farming"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016)
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.
Dr. Sean Clark
Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Farm Director, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404, USA
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Interests: farming and food systems; agroecology; organic and reduced-input agriculture; comparative environmental and economic performance of farming systems; food supply chains; biodiversity and ecosystem functions
The current conception of organic farming—as a production system based on ecological understanding and management—is the result of nearly a century of intellectual thought and dialogue, field observations and experiences, systematic experimentation, and codification of rules. Today, organic production is widely recognized as a viable alternative to conventional production under many conditions and increasingly sought out by consumers concerned about environmental issues, such as agricultural pollution, the loss of biodiversity, and soil conservation.
Considerable research supports the validity of such value-based consumer choices, but there are other areas in which inherent trade-offs exist because the current performance of organic systems often does not match that of conventional systems, such as in yield per unit of land, labor efficiency and costs of production. Further, organic standards may not explicitly or sufficiently address important concerns about climate change, animal welfare and the quality of life provided to farmers, farm workers and others in the supply chain. As our understanding of the agroecology and food systems develops how is organic farming changing and evolving? Additionally, what role can organic farming and related movements play in addressing the many and complicated food-system challenges facing society?
This Special Issue invites papers on how to build upon the significant progress of organic agriculture in order to address continuing and emerging challenges to the sustainability of food systems.
Topics could include, but are not limited to:
- Fundamental lessons in agroecology learned from organic production systems
- The adaptation of organic methods and certification to evolving knowledge and values
- Integration of new and emerging knowledge and technologies into organic management
- Supply-chain certification and communication systems dealing with environmental, social/ethical and economic aspects of food systems
- Case studies or examples of agricutlural/food systems systematically and comprehensively addressing environmental, economic and social/ethical issues
Dr. Sean Clark
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- sustainable agriculture
- organic farming
- food systems
- green supply chains
- animal welfare
- third-party certification
- fair trade
- ethical consumerism
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Authors: George Martin, Roland Clift and Ian Christie
Affiliation: Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, UK
Abstract: The contemporary popular and academic surge in urban agriculture in the global North may overstate its production. Assessing the quantitative scale of urban food production and its potential contributions to food sustainability has been neglected in a focus on the qualitative nature of local produce. This exploratory study weighs the food, ecological and social sustainability contributions of urban agriculture by examining 3 cases—a community garden in the core of New York, a community farm on the edge of London and an agricultural park on the periphery of San Francisco. Our field analysis of these sites shows very low food outputs relative to the populations of their catchment areas. The great share of urban food apparently will continue to come from beyond urban peripheries, often far beyond. Cultivation rather than agriculture may be the appropriate designation for urban food growing because its sustainability benefits are more social than agronomic or ecological. A major benefit is enhancing the ecological knowledge of urbanites, including an appreciation of the role that organics may play in promoting both sustainability and health. This study indicates that benefits differ according to local conditions, including operational scale, soil quality and access to labour and consumers. Population densities and demographics as well as the availability of arable land are decisive factors. Benefits, including the promotion of sustainable diets, are analysed as local building blocks for a coordinated and tiered food system that is regional in scope.