A new online training module has been launched to explore the concept of sustainability and what it means for farming.

Co-created by the Sustainable Food Trust and BASIS as part of the Defra ELMS Test and Trials, the module has been designed primarily for farm advisors, while also highly relevant for farmers and others in the food and farming sector.

The module introduces a holistic definition of farm sustainability which recognises the vital role of farming in providing the food we need to live. It applies the Global Farm Metric (GFM) as a practical framework for understanding and prioritising improvements to farm sustainability and discusses current approaches and challenges to sustainability assessment. The module also highlights how the Sustainable Food Trust, Soil Association Exchange, LEAF and many others are working to tackle these challenges through research and trials.

Having been tested by farm advisors from the Andersons Centre, LEAF and the Soil Association Exchange, the module will contribute towards farm advisors’ continuing professional development (CPD). The course content, which is based on a holistic approach to farm sustainability, is hosted by BASIS – an independent provider of qualifications, professional registers and auditing schemes within land management and food production.

Commenting on the new module, GFM Director, Fabia Bromovsky, says, “Farm advisors are critical to the transition to a more sustainable farming system and can help farmers translate the learnings from a GFM-based assessment into actions on their farm. Together with our partners, we have developed a learning module for farm advisors on sustainability through the framework of the GFM, which is applicable to all types of farming and takes a whole-system approach to farm sustainability.”

The online course can be completed in sections at the learner’s own pace and contains around three hours of materials, including videos, case studies, and interactive exercises.

Speaking about its launch, BASIS CEO, Andrew Lazenby, states, “BASIS is proud to be launching this innovative online learning course. It’s a great example of what our industry can deliver to support the professional development of its members. Through strong collaboration with key industry members, we are delivering a valuable resource for farm advisors, farmers, and industry professionals. The course offers a comprehensive exploration of farming sustainability along with introducing the practical aspects of the GFM framework, as well as a module that addresses current challenges in sustainability assessment. The aim of the course is to support individuals and businesses in the food and farming sector allowing them to have the knowledge to be able to drive positive change for the future.’’

Beth Metson, Head of Agricultural Advice at Soil Association Exchange, adds, “We are proud to support this new module from the Sustainable Food Trust and BASIS, and that Exchange is demonstrating how the GFM can be operationalised on the ground with hundreds of farmers. Having a common measurement language is crucial in the race to transition farming to more sustainable practices, while keeping farms productive and profitable.”

The new module was launched on 14th February 2024. It is available to over 6,000 Professional Register and Environmental Advisers through the BASIS Classroom, with an additional 100 free spaces to non-members, available on a first-come first-served basis.


  1. For BASIS Professional Register and Environmental Adviser members, this new module can be accessed at https://basis-classroom.streamlxp.com/login. For non-members, please sign up herehttps://basis-classroom.co.uk/courses/farm-sustainability-global-farm-metric.
  2. The Sustainable Food Trust is a UK registered charity working to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food and farming systems. It was founded by Patrick Holden in 2011 in response the worsening human and environmental crises associated with many of our current food and farming systems. Website: sustainablefoodtrust.org
  3. Founded in 1978, BASIS is an independent organisation committed to raising professional standards across land management and food production by supporting people and businesses with our industry leading qualifications, professional registers and auditing schemes. Website: basis-reg.co.uk
  1. Designed and tested by farmers and researchers, The Global Farm Metric is a framework to understand, measure and monitor the state of farming systems globally. It is designed to establish a common language that aligns existing metrics in the food and farming industry around a holistic view of farm-level sustainability. Website: globalfarmmetric.org
  2. Together with The Andersons Centre, Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), Soil Association Exchange and BASIS, the SFT is working on one of Defra’s Test and Trials. Tests and Trials provide evidence to help shape the development and delivery the environmental land management schemes and others that are part of the Farming and Countryside Programme. More information on the Defra Test and Trials can be found here.

Press contacts

For further information please contact:

BASIS: Jess Deunert, Marketing and Communications Manager; Email: Jess@basis-reg.co.uk; Tel: 07555 739736

Global Farm Metric: Anna Heinlein, Trials Manager; Email: anna.heinlein@sustainablefoodtrust.org; Tel: 07502406231

Sustainable Food Trust: Victoria Halliday, Communications Manager; Email: victoria.halliday@sustainablefoodtrust.org; Tel: +44 (0) 117 987 1467