19 January 2021
Intercropping for sustainability

Two-day Conference with AAB, DIVERSify and ReMIX at Reading University

6 September 2021
Organic World Congress 2021

New date! Postponed from September 2020

30 July 2020
ORC welcomes the National Food Strategy

The first major reviewof our food system in 75 years

24 July 2020
The future of organic farming and the environment

All to play for if full benefits of organic farming for wildlife, the environment and health are to be realised

29 April 2020
Tim Bennett is the new Chair of ORC

Former NFU president takes on chairmanship of Organic Research Centre

Dr. Abel Villa

Job title

Researcher Agricultural Supply Chains

Contact details

Email prefix: abel.v (add suffix @organicresearchcentre.com)
Phone: +44(0)1635 646255 - extn. 6255
Postal address: Trent Lodge,Stroud Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 6JN

Academic qualifications

  • PhD: Villa, A. (2018) Global Value Chains (GVC) and Social Learning. Developing Producer Capabilities in Smallholder Farmers. The case of San Francisco Produce/Peninsula Organics (SFP/PO). The University of Edinburgh
  • Master of Social Science (2011) focused on Global Value Chains and Innovation Systems studies. El Colegio de Sonora. Mexico.

Main roles and responsibilities

Currently involved in the following projects:

  • DiverIMPACTS: Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains Towards Sustainability.
  • CERERE: CEreal REnaissance in Rural Europe

Research interests

I am an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in Agricultural Supply Chains and social sciences. My research interests are twofold:

  1. the development of producer capabilities in smallholder farms and
  2. social learning for co-operation and knowledge co-creation.
I combine Global Value Chains, Technological Capabilities and Communities of Practice approaches.

External activities



  1. Master of Science. Chen Zhang. Minor thesis. Dissertation Project: Innovative network for promoting pulses as novel protein sources. The case of British fava bean products value chain. Master of Science in Organic Agriculture, Wageningen University
  2. Master of Science: Karin Stierle Dissertation project: Organic honey production in Ireland: A study to examine Irish beekeepers’ attitudes to organic practice methods. Master of Science in Organic Farming. SRUC University of Glasgow (Co-supervised with Anja Vieweger)

Selected publications

Bliss K, Bickler C, Villa A, Tippin L, Vieweger A, Meldrum J, Padel S, Pearce B, Lea M (2019) Getting out of the commodity trap: Enabling diversity through alternative food networks. In First European Conference on Crop Diversification. September 18-21, 2019 Budapest. Book of abstracts. 310-311.

Villa Rodríguez AO (2018). Global Value Chains (GVC) and Social Learning. Developing Producer Capabilities in Smallholder Farmers. The case of San Francisco Produce/Peninsula Organics (SFP/PO). PhD Thesis. The University of Edinburgh.

Villa Rodríguez AO Ed (2016). The role of regional innovation systems (RIS) in creating technological capabilities (TC) in the agricultural sector of Northwest Mexico: the cases of Sonora and Baja California Sur. In Niebla Zatarain JM, Villa Rodríguez AO, Fuentes Pineda R, Casasola Zamora S (Eds.), XIV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies “Knowledge into Solutions” (pp. 14–16). Edinburgh, UK.

Villa Rodriguez AO, Bracamonte SA (2013). Learning processes and productive modernization of learning in agriculture from Northwestern Mexico: cases of commercial agriculture of the Coast of Hermosillo, Sonora and organic agriculture of the Southern zone of Baja California Sur. Estudios fronterizos, 14(27), 217–254.

Working papers

  1. Working paper 1: Configuring VC through social purpose
  2. Working paper 2: Competence display modes of participation to SFPPO CoP
  3. Working paper 3: Analysing learning producer capabilities in SFPPO
  4. Working paper 4: An agenda for continuous learning