Organic farming systems are increasingly recognised throughout the world as a realistic alternative to intensive industrial agriculture. Consequently there is also an increasing amount of research activity both formal and informal linked to the study of organic farming systems. This biennial conference aims to provide a forum where approaches to, and unresolved issues arising from research in organic farming systems can be aired and new thinking enabled. In this conference, we will take as our focus the question on the lips of many policy-makers and consumers – what will organic farming deliver? and how can this be facilitated? Organic farming systems are characterised by: crop diversity in time and/or space to assist with weed pest and disease control and the recycling of nutrients; achievement of self-sufficiency in nitrogen through the use of biological nitrogen fixation; extensive management of livestock; and the prohibition of many synthetic nutrient sources or plant treatments. Organic farming systems are very diverse with a range of crop and animal enterprises often linked together. However, strong unifying principles link them and in many countries organic farming now has a clear legislative basis and certification schemes for production and processing. The conference sought to be cross-cutting and, while encouraging researchers with a wide range of interests to attend, it did not separate the sessions into discipline-orientated parallel sessions. The themes identified for the main platform sessions were consequently broad; the widest possible interpretation being made about topics suitable within each theme.
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|Published - 2006