Prototyping an Innovative Assessment Tool for Monitoring Socio-ecological Outcomes of Farming Practices

Project lead:Zia Mehrabi, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability; Hannah Wittman, Associate Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Food, Nutrition and Health.

Description: The Long Term Socio-Ecological Research Station at UBC Farm is spearheading an initiative to generate the decision-support technology that is needed for an environmentally sustainable and food secure future. We are developing a functional prototype of a software management tool that allows for the monitoring of socio-ecological factors that matter to farming system choices – inputs (e.g. labour, fertilizers, water, energy, fertility), biodiversity (e.g. birds, pollinators, plant life, soil invertebrates), climate impacts (e.g. carbon stocks and fluxes), water pollution (e.g. leaching, run-off), profitability, nutrient supply (calories, micronutrients), and system resilience from both ecological (e.g. yield, pollinator populations) and social (e.g, consumers – producers transactions) networks.

Impact: To develop intelligent technology that concurrently tracks the production and environmental outcomes of farm management in a scalable way – and generates the information needed by farmers, governments and consumers to undertake informed decision-making.