Organic and Sustainable Farming - (15 credits)

Over the last forty years organic farming or close-to-nature agricultural practices across Europe have attracted the attention of scientists, policy-makers, consumers and environmentalists, although such practices have been widespread for many years across Asia, Africa and Central – South America. Specifically, in Europe, government agencies and large NGOs involved in land management have become increasingly involved in regulating and supporting environmentally sensitive agricultural practices including organic farming, and currently there exists a complex range of policy measures that have been developed and implemented to support the organic sector. However, there remains considerable challenges for policy makers in meeting sustainable development goals while satisfying societal, consumer/market needs , and balancing institutional and private stakeholder interests in the environmental farming sector. Organic and close-to-nature farming are approaches to agriculture that adopt ethical practices in safeguarding the environment and biodiversity, give due care to the welfare of animals, focus on food quality and human well-being, sustainable resource use and social justice objectives. The utilization of the market and campaigning strategies are important mechanisms employed to support these objectives and help compensate for the internalisation of externalities. This module is designed to provide learning opportunities to enable graduates to acquire the knowledge and understanding, skills and aptitudes necessary to systematically analyse and evaluate the development of organic and other sustainable farming and eco-friendly food production systems. It is also intended to produce graduates capable of assessing organic farming and food production units/businesses in different macroclimatic, agronomic and market contexts.