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Abstract

This paper takes the capital based approach to sustainability and applies this to examine the sustainability of different farming methods. The capital based approach argues that for future generations to be as well off as the present than the capital base should at least be maintained. The paper explores some of the issues around this approach such as the definition of capitals, their measurement and weakness in the approach which do not account for the resilience of system and/ or the substitutability of capitals. The paper outlines how this could be applied to agriculture and show sustainability across different farming methods. The data used is from the ARGOS (Agricultural Research Group on Sustainability) project which has collected data on social, economic and environmental factors from kiwifruit orchards green, green organic and gold, for five years. The results show little significant differences across orchard types. This may be due to the homogeneity of kiwifruit orchards and it is intended to expand this to the sheep sector to examine this further.

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