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A world tour of farm systems in light of biophysical economics

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

Solis Norton

New Zealand


The global primary food production system needs reconfiguring over the next 25 years to feed a growing human population under increasing resource constraints, energy in particular.  Drivers of this reconfiguration are very different from food production drivers of the last 25 years. 

Nuffield agricultural scholarships enable recipients to travel widely and learn from food production experts around the world. Through March and April 2018 our group of nine scholars engaged with over 100 experts while visiting numerous farms and food production chains. We travelled throughout the Netherlands, Oregon and Washington DC, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Kenya, and South Africa. 

A diverse range of farm systems exist in many countries, some under utilised and others we agreed were not sustainable.  The correct mix of these systems could undoubtedly meet the physical and logistical changes necessary. The impact of political and culture elements, along with current popular economic thinking represent separate challenges. My presentation highlights key themes from this experience and begins to explore them from a biophysical and EROI perspective.

Click image to see PDF of presentation.

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