Developing participatory methods and metrics for the assessment of agroecological farming systems and food and nutrition security
The amount of documented evidence on the performance and benefits of permaculture and other agroecological production approaches is disproportionately low compared to the degree of practice on the ground. Yet practitioners are demanding both guidelines and methods with which to record and analyse their work and to feed this into a broader evidence database. Such a database could be used for research and advocacy to promote more sustainable policy and practise.
Summarising the collaborative work of several NGO and research partners, this paper presents the state of the art with regard to the participatory development of a set of metrics and tools for measuring the performance of permaculture systems. Such systems are complex and multi-faceted, and as a first step this paper focuses on two facets that are of major current concern in the development context: agroecological farming systems and food and nutrition security. Recording and monitoring changes in these two areas, and any corresponding relationship between the two areas, will serve to increase our understanding of the way in which agriculture impacts on nutrition and vice versa, and what we can do to improve this relationship.