Sustainability assessment of peri-urban organic horticulture — A case study in the United Kingdom.

ALI, Mustafa, KOH, Lenny, ACQUAYE, Adolf, LEAKE, Jonathan, NICKLES, Jacob, EVANS, Toby P, ROBERTS, Gareth and KEMP, Douglas (2024). Sustainability assessment of peri-urban organic horticulture — A case study in the United Kingdom. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 29 (3), 456-468.

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Purpose There is a growing concern about the resilience and sustainability of horticultural production in the United Kingdom (UK) as a result of high energy costs and insufficient local labour, causing over-reliance on imports. In this study, we present an integrated environmental and economic assessment of organic peri-urban horticulture using primary data from a farm in Sheffield. Methods This study includes a farm-to-gate hybrid life cycle assessment (LCA) using the ReCIPE (H) approach for the functional unit of 1-kg tomatoes produced in an unheated polytunnel without supplementary lighting, and 1 kg of field-grown courgettes. All analyses were conducted in SimaPro software using environmental data from the ecoinvent database. Results were compared with those from a systematic literature review of similar studies. Results We found that the production of organic tomatoes and courgettes resulted in a global warming potential (GWP) of 0.61 kg CO2-eq and 0.11 kg CO2-eq respectively using a process-based LCA approach. Using a hybrid LCA approach, however, yielded a GWP of 3.53 kg CO2-eq and 1.70 kg CO2-eq for the production of organic tomatoes and courgettes respectively. An additional scenario included farmgate-to-warehouse transportation for both domestic and imported produce from Spain, but found that the GWP of tomatoes in the case study was 1.87 times higher than those from Spain. Economic analysis showed that the marginal increase in the prices of tomatoes and courgettes from the case study farm was 4.6 and 5.15 times less than the market prices. Conclusion We conclude that the studied production system is both economically and environmentally sustainable as compared to the existing scenario. Other potential benefits of peri-urban organic horticulture include employment, mental health, community cohesion, which remain to be explored in a future qualitative study. The present study is novel as it appears to be the first application of hybrid LCA to UK horticulture. The findings are highly topical given the recent horticultural supply constraints in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0907 Environmental Engineering; 0912 Materials Engineering; 1202 Building; Environmental Sciences; 3302 Building; 4011 Environmental engineering; 4016 Materials engineering
Identification Number:
Page Range: 456-468
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 08 May 2024 10:59
Last Modified: 08 May 2024 11:00

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