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Cluster working groups

The cluster projects are working together to demonstrate the benefits of crop diversification to farmers and society and to engage with stakeholders in the upstream and downstream value chains, by transferring knowledge in:

Barriers to crop diversification and their solutions

The barriers working group has gathered information from stakeholder consultations carried out by each of the six cluster projects and identified common themes from these consultations. These common themes included how farmers obtain advice on diversified practices and post-farm marketing systems. The group discussions have highlighted areas where there are opportunities to address common challenges and where effort should focus on future projects. As an output, this group is working towards a synthesis of the consultations carried out by the projects.

Contact: Ali Karley, James Hutton Institute, UK, Ali.Karley(at)

Innovative cropping methods, decision tools and new resources for crop diversification

Members of the six cluster projects are developing a typology of tools which are being developed by the projects. This will identify the features of the different tools and how these tools help us meet the objectives of the cluster. A paper describing this typology work will be presented at the AAB conference on Intercropping for Sustainability in January 2021.

Contact: Dr Christine Watson, Scotland's Rural College, UK, christine.watson(at)

Multi-criteria assessment of system performance at field, farm, value chain and landscape levels

The group has developed a comparative analysis of the indicators developed by and used in the cluster projects. The next steps involve developing an integrated database of available indicators and a toolbox to assist in the selection of sustainability indicators tailored to assess the impact of crop diversification. The group are also writing a glossary encompassing the wide range of terms relating to crop diversification and sustainability assessment.

Contact: Dr. Stefano Canali, CREA, Italy, stefano.canali(at)

Policy recommendations to facilitate uptake of crop diversification

The group's main objectives are to deliver common messages from the cluster projects to different stakeholders. This will be achieved through workshops and policy briefs. The policy briefs will focus on project results relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the UK Agriculture Bill, the EU Farm to Fork strategy and Food Security.

Contact: Dr. Barbara Pancino, University of Tuscia, Italy, bpancino(at)

Communicating joint activities in the cluster and disseminating joint outputs

The communications group work with the projects to ensure the cluster is represented at relevant conferences and other communication routes. The group has developed an external website for the cluster alongside an internal workspace for all working groups to share documents and other information. The group is also working with the project coordinators on the legacy plan to continue the cluster work on crop diversification into the future beyond the end of the individual projects.

Contact: Beatrix Keillor, James Hutton Institute, UK, Beatrix.Keillor(at)