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The 2013 annual conference of the Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA) has been held in the attractive scenario of the city of Lecce under the organization of three different Universities of the Apulia Region (Università degli Studi di Bari, Università degli Studi di Foggia and Università del Salento). The scientific theme of the 50th SIDEA Conference has been “Sustainability of the agri-food system: Strategies and Performances” (Sostenibilità del Sistema Agroalimentare: strategie e performance). With such a topic, the SIDEA intended to cope with the challenges coming from a growing demand of food in a world where critical natural resources such as water, energy and land are becoming increasingly scarce and climate change is posing credible threats. The agri-food system and the broader bio-based economy are, in fact, human activities where the classic dimensions of sustainability (ecological, economic and social) are gaining a striking weight often showing evidence of frictions. Despite a significant growth in food production over the past century, today one of the most important challenges facing agro-food system is how to feed a growing population.