Explore the Global Farm Metric Framework

This report presents the Global Farm Metric framework, sustainability aims, and the indicators developed to support on-farm sustainability assessments.

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The Global Farm Metric framework presents a common language and holistic approach to describing farm sustainability. It has been developed with farmers to drive the transition towards more sustainable farming systems while avoiding unintended consequences of change.

A common framework for sustainability enables all involved in food and farming, from farmers to policymakers to the CEOs of major companies, to navigate the confusing array of assessments, policy initiatives, projects, and media messaging which undermine trust in the sustainability agenda among farmers and the public.

This report presents the GFM framework, sustainability aims, and the indicators developed to support on-farm sustainability assessment. These resources inform a pathway to change. This pathway begins by providing farmers and others with a common overview of what farm sustainability means in practice, paving the way for the collection of baseline data on the state of a farm across the GFM categories. It recognises the need to evaluate and adjust changes in practice through repeated assessment and highlights the importance of using data on the system and its outputs to underpin evaluations of impacts beyond the farm gate.

The GFM framework and indicators are based on a view of sustainability which requires farms to meet current needs for food, fuel, and fibre, for this production to be sustained to meet the needs of future generations, and for farming to maximise positive and minimise negative impacts on people and planet beyond the farm-gate. Therefore, the framework provides the basis for evaluating farming approaches, systems, and practices against a common, holistic view of farm sustainability – rather than prescribing particular solutions. This enables farmers, communities, and other stakeholders to find the best pathways to change in the unique contexts of specific farms and places.

We believe that a common language for understanding farm sustainability, a holistic perspective, and an agreed set of indicators for evaluating progress, enable bottom-up change by farmers and drive the realisation of a supportive economic and policy environment for the transition to a more sustainable food and farming system. We work with a coalition of over 150 partners across the food and farming sector.

Our framework and indicators are provided open access – please cite/acknowledge our work if you use our thinking and findings, to enable us to continue to provide these shared resources. The GFM approach is already influencing the adoption of more holistic approaches to understanding and assessing farm sustainability amongst farmers, in government, and along the supply chain. To find out more email and sign up to our quarterly newsletter here.