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Special Issue "Sustainable Organic Agriculture and Food Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020) | Viewed by 6012

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Rebecka Milestad
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Strategic Sustainability Studies at the Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Sciences and Engineering (SEED), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: local organic food systems; food system resilience; scaling up of organic food systems
Dr. Maria Wivstad
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Organic Food and Farming, Department of Crop Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Interests: organic crop production; cropping systems; sustainable nutrient management; resilient farming systems
Dr. Heidrun Moschitz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Interests: organic agriculture; social movements; rural sociology; urban food systems; short food supply chains

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue seeks to collect papers about the current development of organic production and food systems. The organic sector is in constant development, but it also faces a number of challenges. The overall question for this Special Issue is how organic agriculture and food systems can remain relevant while being at the forefront of sustainable food systems. In Europe, for example, organics has taken market shares and is institutionalized through EU regulation on organic production and agricultural support measures. Going from niche to mainstream has a number of implications, partly discussed in the so-called conventionalization debate. How can the organic sector scale up with maintained integrity? Can organic yields be increased sustainably, and what does that mean for organic practice? Further, initiatives have been taken to obtain stronger sustainability goals, as in the work on Organic 3.0, but how can this be put into practice? Other challenges are the need to adapt to climate change, and also contribute to climate change mitigation. How do organic production systems fare under extreme weather events? Which practices can improve adaptation to climate change and increase resilience of production systems in general? Additionally, production systems less dependent on animals will have to be developed, and other sources of proteins produced. What are the implications for organics in this respect? We invite papers about all the above topics and other topics of relevance to this issue.

Dr. Rebecka Milestad
Dr. Maria Wivstad
Dr. Heidrun Moschitz
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 semimonthly 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 2000 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.

Keywords

  • organic agriculture
  • organic food systems
  • sustainable yield increase in organic production
  • scaling-up of organic food production and consumption
  • sustainability assessments of organic agriculture
  • organic 3.0
  • adaptation to climate change
  • mitigation of climate change
  • organic plant proteins
  • organic stock-less cropping systems
  • climate-friendly diets

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Technical Efficiencies and Yield Variability Are Comparable Across Organic and Conventional Farms
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104271 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1319
Abstract
Cotton is essentially a smallholder crop across tropical countries. Being a major cash crop, it plays a decisive role in the livelihoods of cotton-producing farmers. Both conventional and organic production systems offer alternative yet interesting propositions to cotton farmers. This study was conducted [...] Read more.
Cotton is essentially a smallholder crop across tropical countries. Being a major cash crop, it plays a decisive role in the livelihoods of cotton-producing farmers. Both conventional and organic production systems offer alternative yet interesting propositions to cotton farmers. This study was conducted in Nimar valley, a prominent cotton-producing region of central India, with the aim of categorically evaluating the contribution of management and fixed factors to productivity on conventional and organic cotton farms. A study framework was developed considering the fixed factors, which cannot be altered within reasonable limits of time, capacity and resources, e.g., landholding or years of age and/or practice; and management factors, which can be altered/influenced within a reasonable time by training, practice and implementation. Using this framework, a structured survey of conventional and organic farms operating under comparable circumstances was conducted. Landholding and soil types were significant contributors/predictors of yield on organic farms. In contrast, landholding was not the main factor related to yields on conventional farms, which produced the highest yields when led by farmers with more than five years of formal education and living in a joint family. Nitrogen application, the source of irrigation (related to timely and adequate supply), crop rotation and variables related to adequate plant population (seed source, germination rate and plant thinning) were the main management factors limiting cotton yields among conventional and organic farms. Both organic and conventional farms in the Nimar valley exhibited a similar pattern of variation in cotton yields and technical efficiency. This study highlights the enormous scope for improving cotton productivity in the region by improving technical efficiency, strengthening extension services and making appropriate policy interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture and Food Systems)
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Article
Improving Animal Health on Organic Dairy Farms: Stakeholder Views on Policy Options
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3001; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12073001 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
Although ensuring good animal health is a stated aim of organic livestock farming and an important reason why consumers purchase organic products, the health states actually achieved are comparable to those in conventional farming. Unfortunately, there have been no studies to date that [...] Read more.
Although ensuring good animal health is a stated aim of organic livestock farming and an important reason why consumers purchase organic products, the health states actually achieved are comparable to those in conventional farming. Unfortunately, there have been no studies to date that have assessed stakeholder views on different policy options for improving animal health on organic dairy farms. To address this deficit, stakeholder consultations were conducted in four European countries, involving 39 supply-chain stakeholders (farmers, advisors, veterinarians, inspectors, processors, and retailers). Stakeholders were encouraged to discuss different ways, including policy change, of improving organic health states. Acknowledging the need for further health improvements in organic dairy herds, stakeholders generally favoured establishing outcome-oriented animal health requirements as a way of achieving this. However, as a result of differing priorities for animal health improvement, there was disagreement on questions such as: who should be responsible for assessing animal health status on organic farms; and how to define and implement minimum health requirements. The results of the study suggest that future research must fully explore the opportunities and risks of different policy options and also suggest ways to overcome the divergence of stakeholders’ interests in public debates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture and Food Systems)
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Article
The Diversity of Organic Box Schemes in Europe—An Exploratory Study in Four Countries
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072734 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2693
Abstract
Box schemes provide an opportunity to scale up local organic food systems by aggregating products from multiple producers and efficiently delivering them to consumers. However, there is limited knowledge about the overall organic box scheme landscape and how it develops. This article explores [...] Read more.
Box schemes provide an opportunity to scale up local organic food systems by aggregating products from multiple producers and efficiently delivering them to consumers. However, there is limited knowledge about the overall organic box scheme landscape and how it develops. This article explores organic box schemes in four European countries and thus contributes by comparing box schemes of different sizes in different geographical and organisational contexts. Survey results from 44 box schemes were used to analyse box schemes in relation to size and growth, organisation, communication with customers, delivery modes, distances travelled by produce and boxes, and values adhered to. Although the surveyed box schemes differed in size and organisation, similarities between box schemes were found in many aspects. For example, most surveyed box schemes had grown considerably since their start, and wished to grow further, and they all rated certain values as important. A tendency for larger box schemes to offer more imported produce, to have operated for a longer time, and to use social media for advertising more often was found. Despite the heterogeneity of the box schemes in the survey, we conclude that box schemes are a useful category to explore in the sustainability transition of food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture and Food Systems)
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