The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) procures research to support the sustainable development of the organic farming sector. In support of the longer term development of organic farming policy and research investment, Defra wishes to consider socio-economic information relating to the sector and its future development. The provision of data and analysis to Defra on the socio-economic aspects of organic farming should be aimed primarily at supporting policy makers. However the information will also be valuable for the private sector in terms of business development, increasing consumer interest and awareness and predicting the economic impact of the market.The main purpose of the proposed study is to (a) collate and assess accurate evidence of the socio-economic impacts of the organic farm supply chain on rural development; (b) assess how well the organic food chain delivers public expectations and (c) identify barriers affecting conversion to organic farming and expansion of existing organic farms. The study should consider national, regional and local organic markets and socio-economic influences and interactions for the arable, horticulture and livestock sectors. It should provide a succinct analysis of potential market development and associated barriers which prevent this potential being fulfilled. This project might be managed as three sub-projects, directed by an overarching consortium. A relevant network of stakeholders should be created, in order to ensure as full an assessment of the different aspects as possible. Defra is pleased to invite submission of a full proposal covering these aspects within a single project.Specifically the research provider is required to:1. Analyse the effect of organic farming enterprises on rural development for England and Wales and assess potential for further development of organic farming. The analysis will cover employment and local economic impact (including for example on school/hospital meals supply), use and saving of environmental resources and consider the need for additional promotion and information. The study should take into account previous and current work such as Defra projects OF0189 and RE0117.2. Characterise the organic market, and develop national benchmark and simple value chain models for the organic business (considering demand, alternative procurement and supply). Specifically the study will analyse how local organic supplies respond to local public expectations (local food supply, variety of products, seasonality) and the effectiveness of local marketing. The study will also identify more general public expectations on food quality and safety, impact of organic farming on the environment, etc. The information would then be collated and analysed at regional and national scales. The results will provide relevant and updated evidence to policy makers and will help producers to respond to public expectations. 3. Identify the main barriers to conversion (available land and labour, land value, conversion cost, stability of markets, profit etc.) and provide advice on how to tackle them.