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Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 6721-6741;

Evaluating the Sustainability in Complex Agri-Food Systems: The SAEMETH Framework

Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Torino, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, Grugliasco, 10095 Torino, Italy
Department of Culture, Politics and Society—University of Torino, Lungo Dora Siena 100/A, 10100 Torino, Italy
Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences (SAF), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 11-90128 Palermo, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 3 April 2015 / Revised: 18 May 2015 / Accepted: 22 May 2015 / Published: 27 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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During the last few years, the definition of sustainability and the translation of its general principles into practical and operative tasks have come into the foreground of scientific research and political agendas throughout the world. The understanding and the evaluation of the environmental, social and economic performances of complex agricultural food systems is probably the real challenge, and the design of more sustainable alternatives has been recognized as necessary for a correct territorial management. This study’s primary goal is the proposition of an interpretive structure “Sustainable Agri-Food Evaluation Methodology” (SAEMETH), able to guide the evaluation of the sustainability of the various organizational forms of the small-scale agri-food supply chain. As a case study, the methodology was applied to 10 small-scale agri-food systems. The application of SAEMETH, as a monitoring tool based on qualitative indicators that are user-friendly and strongly communicative, demonstrates that it is possible to carry out sustainability evaluations of the small-scale agri-food systems through a long-term approach that is participatory, interdisciplinary and multi-institutional and that integrates a solid theoretical base with an operative framework tested in the field. SAEMETH can, in this way, generate a cyclical process that increases the probability of success in the design of sustainable alternatives and the implementation of projects and initiatives at the local/regional scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability assessment; indicators; small-scale agri-food systems; SAEMETH sustainability assessment; indicators; small-scale agri-food systems; SAEMETH

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Peano, C.; Tecco, N.; Dansero, E.; Girgenti, V.; Sottile, F. Evaluating the Sustainability in Complex Agri-Food Systems: The SAEMETH Framework. Sustainability 2015, 7, 6721-6741.

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