Economic Analysis of Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems

Image of an analysts pencil and paper with grass growing in backgroud to introduce the Economic Analysis of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Sustainable agricultural and food systems meet the needs of today’s generation without compromising the ability of tomorrow’s generations to do the same.

Economic viability is a necessary condition for sustainable agricultural and food systems. Profitability is a good place to begin. Evaluating the likely profitability of potentially more sustainable practices can start with budgeting.

But economic viability is about more than profitability. Economics is the study of how people attempt to meet unlimited wants with limited means. Among the things that people care about are many that cannot be bought and sold in markets. Not least of these are health and environmental quality that we value for ourselves and our communities. Within limiting assumptions, economics offers ways to measure these more hard-to-quantify values.

This web site introduces basic techniques that can be applied to analyze the economic viability of sustainable agricultural and food systems. The site aims to provide clear explanations of both how to do the analysis and what assumptions must be met. Wherever possible, this site relies on links to other good sites, both to explain these techniques and to provide helpful data and examples.