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In the expanding urban agriculture phenomenon in Europe, home gardens are a traditional form that have kept agriculture within cities, even becoming crucial in certain historical periods (e.g., war periods). However, horticultural practices in home gardens can also have negative consequences. The goal of this paper is to assess the eco-efficiency of home gardens as a type of urban agriculture. To do so, a case study in Padua (Italy) was evaluated following life cycle assessment and life cycle costing methods. A home garden of 30.6 m² and 21 crop cycles were evaluated. The functional unit of the assessment was 1 kg of harvested fresh vegetable at the consumption point, and the ReCiPe method was employed for impact assessment. Environmental assessment indicated that organic fertilization, use of tap water, mineral fertilization and pesticides were the most contributing elements of the entire life cycle. Furthermore, the relevance of garden design and crop selection was a determinant in the eco-efficiency results. The assessed home garden could satisfy the food requirements of between 1 and 2 members of the household. Crop management and design recommendations are provided to improve eco-efficiency and food security potential of home gardens.
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... In many UA LCAs dealing with a large number of crops, FUs were chosen that were not based on the mass of product, such as annual production or land area (Martinez et al., 2018;Pérez-Neira and Grollmus-Venegas, 2018;Sanyé-Mengual et al., 2018a). This is a useful way to avoid allocations with high uncertainty, consider additional functions of agriculture, and to compare systems within a study. ...
... This is especially evident when products from UA are delivered by walking or by bike, because there are almost no impacts (very small impacts from street/sidewalk infrastructure and bicycle manufacturing, but these have been omitted in UA LCAs). In these cases, the system boundary implicitly includes the nil transport to the consumer (Sanyé-Mengual et al., 2018a, 2013. The final step of transport to/by the consumer, also called the 'last mile', is usually not included in food LCAs, and the system boundary ends at the market/retail stage (the star in Figure 3.3) (Pérez-Neira and Grollmus-Venegas, 2018). ...
Thesis
The global food system causes massive environmental impacts, and faces the challenge of feeding an even larger, more urbanized population in the coming decades. Urban agriculture (UA) is a type of alternative agriculture, which may have environmental and social benefits, and comes in a large diversity of forms. These environmental benefits and impacts can be modeled with life cycle assessment (LCA). Application of LCA to UA is relatively recent, and has not undergone the same methodological reflections and adaptations that LCA of other sectors has. In this thesis project, I investigated 1) what LCA tells us about the environmental performance of UA, and 2) how best to apply LCA to UA. I performed a review and meta-analysis of UA LCAs, and reviewed literature on the development of LCA for agriculture in general. I did LCAs of nine urban farms and gardens in Paris, France and the Bay Area, California, USA, and (with the FEW-meter project) analyzed resource use and food production at 72 UA case studies. I summarized and generated knowledge on the environmental performance of UA, and created a methodological framework to improve consistency and completeness in UA LCAs.
... These discrepancies between studies make it more difficult to compare results. Some authors use approaches similar to cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave but name them differently, like cradle-to-use (Baquero et al., 2011), cradle-to-fork (Sanyé-Mengual et al., 2018), cradle-to-consumer (Sanyé-Mengual et al., 2015), cradle-toretail (Verduna et al., 2020) and cradle-to-market (Zhen et al., 2020). ...
... x ⁎ x ⁎ Holka (2020) x x x x Holka and Bieńkowski (2020) x ⁎ x x ⁎ x Hong et al. (2015) x Jirapornvaree et al. (2021) x x x x Kim et al. (2018) x ⁎ x x Lask et al. (2020) x Liaros et al. (2016) x ⁎ x x x Lokesh et al. (2019) x ⁎ x ⁎ -Nezhad et al. (2022) x x x Moungsree et al. (2022) x* Pattanaik et al. (2020) x ⁎ x x x Saber et al. (2020) x x Sanyé-Mengual et al. (2018) x ⁎ Sanyé- Mengual et al. (2015) x ⁎ ...
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... However, water is the only one irreplaceable element in the FEW plus land-use and pollution Nexus encompassing UA (Alberti et al., 2020). There is a surprising gap due to the scarce studies that apply the FEW Nexus approach on the urban local-scale on water use in UA to date (Caputo et al., 2021;Chang et al., 2020;Graefe et al., 2019;Pollard et al., 2018;Sanyé-Mengual et al., 2018). ...
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... Besides, they conserve water and soil, increase fertility of the soil, nutrient cycling and watershed protection (Pandey 2002). In view of these multiple functions, many researchers have concluded that homegardens are one of the sustainable production systems in the terrestrial environment (Nair 2001;Blanckaert et al. 2004;Kumar and Nair 2004;Sanyé-Mengual et al. 2018). ...
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... Food safety is a key issue in the production of home-grown vegetables in cities [5][6][7][8][9][10]. The question arises as to whether urban soil is a good substrate to produce vegetables for home consumption due to the risk of its contamination with metals [6,[10][11][12]. ...
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