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That’s why we facilitate research projects among our members—who farm at diverse scales and employ a vast array of strategies—that measure the dimensions of sustainability they care about: the financial viability of their farm business, the health of their soil, and the nutrient-density of their products. Measuring these sustainability indicators lets us establish benchmarks for what’s typical—and what’s possible.
Benchmarks are industry standards, or points of reference, that you can use to measure your own performance against. With access to benchmark data, farmers can see in measurable terms whether their production and business models are achieving intended results. They can also see where they stand relative to their peers, and collaboratively develop new management ideas to move the sustainability dial forward.
This benchmark data also let us show, in measurable terms, how farmers are positively impacting their communities and the environment.
Citizen-scientist farmers. Home-grown data.
We conduct our studies on working farms, instead of research plots, which lets us compare a wide range of farming models in real-world settings. We also employ participatory research methods by training farmers to be citizen scientists and conduct research on their own farms. Equipped with these skills, farmers can more effectively assess their farming methods and business models for years to come.
Through our Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange, we facilitate field days and forums to put our research findings to practical use. At these events, farmers work together to address the challenges and opportunities revealed by our studies.
If you’re interested in participating in one (or more!) of our research studies, please contact us.